Book Review

Book Review: On These Black Sands (Aisling Sea #1) by Vanessa Rasanen

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: NA Fantasy
Length: 436 pages
Author: Vanessa Rasanen
Publisher: Crab Apple Books
Release Date: August 10th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


An awkward stowaway. A troubled pirate captain.
Is she the key to his quest or will she be his ruin?

Aoife wants nothing more than to fulfill her duty and serve on the Council. But a spilled secret reveals a deadly truth she never suspected. Plagued by guilt and wanting no part in the Council’s methods, she panics and runs, stowing away on a pirate ship.

Declan doesn’t have time to deal with an irritating stowaway, and this job is already dangerous enough without having her underfoot. With less than a month to bring the enchanted dagger to the rebels, he needs to find a way past the bloodthirsty creatures guarding it.

In a world of secrets and legends, a lost dagger may be the key to saving a nation. But it will take far more than wit and a cutlass to retrieve it. Can an heir and a pirate work together–or will their secrets drown all hope?


This was a great debut. Even if I struggled with some of it, I truly enjoyed it overall and look forward to checking out book two.

Aoiefe was alright. I felt like she was extremely naïve about everrrrrything. And some repetitiveness to her storyline and thoughts dragged that on longer than necessary. Luckily, I found a pretty swoony character in Declan. I liked him most of the two points-of-view. He was the kind of dashing pirate, searching for treasure that makes you want to jump on the boat and join him.

The world building was a bit shallow. I was confused about why we were after a certain artifact and still wondering how that artifact works and can change the game, so to speak. There’s also fae involved? I don’t know, I need more answers here. I muuuust have good world building in a fantasy book to be wrapped up in here and that’s what lacked the most.

A predictable ending, with a good set-up for book two. I did like a lot of the side characters and there seems to be plenty of opportunity to expand the world and get some deeper character dives.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: some mild
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, kidnapping,

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: On These Black Sands (Aisling Sea #1) by Vanessa Rasanen”

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