Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans #1)

34947175“I’m many things, Deun, but I ain’t a liar,” Drake lied.”

Author: Rob J. Hayes
Category: Fantasy, Adventure, Flintlock Fantasy
Pages: 371
Series: Best Laid Plans #1
Podcast Review: Episode 83


Where Loyalties Lie, winner of the 2017 SPBFO award, blends together an adventure on the high seas with fantasy magic and monsters. There are gods, leviathans, armies, and even necromancers bringing dead pirates back back to life.

(Trigger warning also for rape. There are two such scenes in the book, one of which is pretty graphic.)

While there is a great cast of characters, all unique in their own way, it feels as if to much time was spent building them all up instead of letting some important ones shine. For example, two of our main characters, Keelin Stillwater and Drake Morass, are both captains with a mysterious past. While we do get bits and pieces of what brought them to where they are today and what motivates them to do what they do, there are so many things left unanswered that there isn’t much insight into who they are.

Obviously not all the questions need to be answered in book one of a series but there was so little and given out so sporadically that the characterizations were just not anything special.

On the talk of character development, the female characters do feel particularly underdeveloped the most. None of them are bad characters in anyway, but they all feel very one note. Elaine Tanner is a badass who loves Keelin and has daddy issues. Arbiter Beck is also a badass that can use magic, but she is usually used as Drake’s sexual obsession. Both strong characters but are then dragged down because they are defined by a male character.

Where this book excels is its excellent world, action, and the basic plot. Pirates having to work together to fight off a war that they might not be equipped for not to mention, they have to work with other pirates. For those who dont know, pirates are not the most trustworthy. The tales of the goddess Rin, whon rules the sea, make her seem scary and exciting to meet.

Hopefully in the future of this series we get to see more of the kingdoms, gods, and monsters to keep this pirate adventure exciting!

Greg’s Thoughts

I loved this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. The character development was rough and I felt like the book was to short. Maybe that would be remedied by fleshing out the character development more, but overall still fully enjoyed the book. I am looking very forward to what will be next!


9-loved it!

Dani’s 2¢

For the past several months I have been hooked on the Xbox game Sea of Thieves which has put me in the mood for a fun pirate, ocean adventure. Despite its few problems, this book has absolutely satisfied that craving. I can’t wait to explore this world more in book 2!


8-really liked it

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