Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Book Review | COMPASS AND BLADE by Rachel Greenlaw

by Rachel Greenlaw
Publication: February 29, 2024
Publisher: Inkyard Press / HarperCollinsCa
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: ★★★½

This world of sea and storm runs deep with bargains and blood.

On the remote isle of Rosevear, Mira, like her mother before her, is a wrecker, one of the seven on the rope who swim out to shipwrecks to plunder them. Mira’s job is to rescue survivors, if there are any. After all, she never feels the cold of the frigid ocean waters and the waves seem to sing to her soul. But the people of Rosevear never admit the truth: that they set the beacons themselves to lure ships into the rocks.

When the Council watch lays a trap to put an end to the wrecking, they arrest Mira’s father. Desperate to save him from the noose, Mira strikes a deal with an enigmatic wreck survivor guarding layers of secrets behind his captivating eyes, and sets off to find something her mother has left her, a family secret buried deep in the sea.

With just nine days to find what she needs to rescue her father, all Mira knows for certain is this: The sea gives. The sea takes. And it’s up to her to do what she must to save the ones she loves.


I enjoyed reading Compass and Blade, a YA fantasy adventure, and the first book in an expected trilogy. The book follows Mira, a young wrecker who lives on a remote island where the villagers lure ships to their doom and scavenge their cargo. Mira has always felt a connection to the sea, but she also longs for something more than her harsh and dangerous life. When her father is captured by the watch, the ruthless enforcers of the mainland, Mira decides to risk everything to save him. She teams up with Seth, a mysterious survivor of one of her wrecks, and embarks on a perilous journey across the ocean. Along the way, she discovers secrets about her past, her family, and the true nature of the sirens that haunt the waters.

Rachel Greenlaw has a knack for creating a vivid sense of place and time, making me feel like I was sailing along with Mira on her quest. The Fortunate Isles are full of wonders and dangers, and Greenlaw describes them with rich details and poetic language. I could almost smell the salt in the air, feel the wind in my hair, and hear the waves crashing on the rocks. The world building is impressive and immersive, revealing new aspects of the history, culture, and magic of this fantasy world as the story progresses. The plot is fast-paced and full of surprises, keeping me hooked until the end.

However, I also had some issues with the book, mainly with the characters and the romance. Mira is supposed to be a brave and adventurous heroine, but she comes across as na├»ve and passive most of the time. Then again, it may be the author’s intention for this first installment. Which reminds me of Meghan Chase from The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, and how much I want to smack her in the head in Book 1, then completely fell for her by Book 3. The romance between Mira and Seth is also underdeveloped and unconvincing. They fall in love too quickly and easily in my opinion. I would have liked to see more tension, conflict, and development between them, making them more complex and realistic. I didn't feel invested in their relationship.

COMPASS AND BLADE is a captivating read for fans of fantasy and adventure, with a stunning setting and a thrilling plot. I look forward to the next book.


About the Author:

Rachel Greenlaw lives on an island in the middle of the Atlantic, with all the allure of tropical palm trees in the summer and spine-tingling storms in the winter. Her debut women’s fiction novel, One Christmas Morning, was published in 2023. The Compass and Blade trilogy is her first YA fiction series.

@rachelgreenlaw_ |

*Thanks to HarperCollins CA / Inkyard Press for the printed ARC in exchange for this unbiased review.


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