Caledonia is back in this sequel to Seafire. I originally wrote a review for Seafire back when Ears on the Odyssey did a narrator spotlight on Rebecca Soler. The series is an action packed, swashbuckling adventure that centers on Caledonia and her all female crew as she seeks revenge on the leader of the most ruthless and powerful pirate gang who killed her friends and family. From here on out there may be spoilers for the first book, so read at your own risk…
SPOILER 🚨 SPOILER🚨 SPOILER 🚨
OK, so when we last left Caledonia it was a HUGE cliffhanger: we were not sure if Caledonia was dead or alive! She had snuck away from her crew and her ship to confront Fiveson Lir, one of Aric Athair’s henchmen, and she almost defeated him but was left for dead as she fell into the sea. She survives (!) and wakes up in a strange place and knows right away that she has lost her crew as they had to have left her behind.
Caledonia has survived thanks to a band of people that call themselves Blades, or former Bullets who have left Aric’s gang and now oppose him. As Caledonia regains her strength, she learns that her crew has been captured and sent to Slipmark, one of the Bullet’s training locations but also where they torture and kill those they capture. Caledonia has to come up with a plan quick to rescue her crew and to do so she has to earn the trust of the Blades who saved her.
Once again, Rebecca Soler fully embraces the large cast of characters of this seafaring adventure. I will say it again–her performance reminds me so much of the great Katherine Kellgren’s Bloody Jack series narrations! As we begin the novel, Soler uses a hoarse voicing for Caledonia as she is healing from near death. As the story progresses Caledonia regains her strong, pirate swagger that Soler clearly has fun with. Soler also embraces the pirate enthusiasm with other characters in the story. For example, when Harwell (a minor Blade) shouts “happy to, Captain” in response to Caledonia’s command. Think of him saying it with an “argh” in his voice. It’s so much fun to listen to!
Just like with the first book Seafire, I think Soler shines narrating the high action scenes. When Caledonia yells “Strap in! Brace for impact” you can feel the fright and intensity of the impending impact her ship is in for as it is targeted by a crusher ship. I was fully immersed in the story and could feel my body tense for the impact! The Seafire series is a wonderful listen and I recommend picking it up if you love to get lost in a good action adventure story. Pick it up for the female led swashbuckling tale and stay for Rebecca Soler’s fantastic performance!
Steel Tide, by Natalie C. Parker, narrated by Rebecca Soler. 11 hours, 5 minutes. Listening Library, 2019.
Listen to Steel Tide at your local library
Listen to Steel Tide at Listening Library
Colleen Seisser is the Collection Services Manager at the Aurora Public Library in Aurora, IL. She is a current Board Member at Large on the YALSA Board of Directors and she also reviews audiobooks for Booklist Magazine. Colleen attributes ramping up her obsession with audiobooks from serving in various roles on YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Committee from 2012-15. She has been listening non-stop since then! When not listening, Colleen is either crafting, gardening, or jammin’ on her planner! @colleenTS81