Review: Cabin Boy by Drake LaMarque

Posted November 19, 2019 by Lola in Fantasy, Historical, Review, Romance / 4 Comments

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Cabin BoyCabin Boy (His Piratical Harem #1)
by Drake LaMarque

My Rating: 3 stars

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Age Category: New adult/ Adult
Type of romance: MM/ Polyamory

I’ve never been what I was supposed to be. Wealthy sons of Port Governors aren’t supposed to be ejected from the British Navy after less than a year, they’re not supposed to like pulp romances or daydream about the handsome heroes of the stories instead of the heroines.

When my Father issued me an order to marry a woman, I knew I had no choice but to make my own way in the world, and I found a berth on the first ship out of Jamaica.

I didn’t mean to join a pirate ship, and I certainly didn’t intend to find myself the cabin boy to an incredibly charming Pirate Captain. Or that I’d also be attracted to the mysterious First Mate, or that both of them would show me all sorts of unspeakable and salacious pleasures while on board. How can I choose just one of them when I want both?

In addition to confusion on board the ship, there’s also enchanting genderqueer merfolk, a cat which seems to understand a lot more than it should, an unseasonable storm and a sea witch with a serious grudge… and with all these complications, I am definitely in over my head.

My Review

I’ve been wanting to try a gay harem book for a while now, so when I came across this one I knew I had to read it. I actually read 2 of the author’s book under another pen name first and by the time this one released I had quite high expectations, I bought my copy and it didn’t take long before I opened my copy and started reading.

Cabin Boys is quite the unique read. It has a bit of a historical setting and it’s set in this world, but there also is some magic, merfolk and more. Gideon doesn’t want to marry a women and get kids, so he escapes to the sea. He accidentally joins a pirate ship and starts this adventure across the seas and his personal sexual adventure as well.

Let’s start with what I did enjoy. For the most part I did enjoy the book. I liked the combination of historical setting and the paranormal aspect. The sex scenes were pretty hot for the most part, even though I couldn’t really feel their feelings for each other. I also liked how open minded everyone on this ship seems, which seemed a bit weird for the time period, but it was nice to see. The pacing was well done, if a bit on the fast side.

The main thing that diminished my enjoyment of this book was the lack of connection and build-up in the romance, it reads more like erotic romance actually. The main focus of this book is on the romance, but mostly the physical side of things. There is a lot of lust, a lot of sex (5 sex scenes in a short book), but there is very little actual getting to know each other and becoming close mentally (there was enough of the getting close physically). Besides having sex, there aren’t many scenes of Gideon and the others in the relationship doing anything else. The focus is very much on the romance, but there was very little actual build-up and the focus was more on the sex and seeing the bonds between the character develop.

The relationships all develop quite quickly. Often when Gideon meets someone he thinks about kissing them or how handsome they are. And they think the same. It just seemed a bit over the top/ ridiculous at times. Even more so as from what I understood Gideon actually never had sex before he joins the ship and ofcourse he is good at it almost immediately. There was just very little build-up to the sex. No burn, no tension, they cut to the chase quite quickly. The relationship with Ezra actually took the longest to develop I think as Gideon had some interactions with him before they had sex.

The way the relationships developed also didn’t fully work for me. In no time at all Gideon’s having sex with one guy, then gets a bit of a shock he doesn’t know how to deal with and before you know it, he lands in bed (or actually against the wall) with the next guy. Then after the relationship with the 3 of them is established Gideon goes out and has sex with another person, without consulting any of them first. And everyone was totally fine with that even though they never discussed whether this was okay. I did find the lack of drama refreshing, but at the same time everything almost went a bit too easy now. I did like how at the end Gideon talks with everyone to make sure they are on the same page as it was nice to see a bit of communication about their relationship. And by the end they do seem to develop some feelings.

Gideon is a nice enough character, but I felt like I didn’t get to know him as much as I would’ve liked. And after the first time they sails away he hardly ever thinks of what he left behind. The love interest are all interesting enough and I like how they have a clear personality so it was easy to remember who was who.

I had some trouble understanding why everyone liked Gideon so much. Mostly because they just go to the sex and the build-up is skipped so I didn’t quite feel the connections between. And then there’s everyone’s emotions toward the other members of the relationship, everyone just seemed okay with adding more people and having sex with everyone else and there was very little communication or struggles. I guess they really were very open and low on the drama, but it just felt off somehow. I also wanted to clarify that I think Cabin Boy is a more a polyamory book than a harem in my opinion, all the men (and folk) that are part of this relationship all interact with one another instead of only with Gideon. There are some one on one scenes, but also group scenes.

Then there is the issue that Gideon struggles with after his first sexual encounter with Tate, which never really gets addressed again and sort of turn into a non-issue. Which was just strange as I wanted to know what changes and why Gideon decided it was okay after first really struggling with this. I am just not sure what changed. He got quite the shock and changed his opinion and then later on that changed again without very little to address why.

While there are some side characters, most of those are either essential for the plot or become part of the relationship. There seemed to be very few side characters to fill other tasks or make the world come alive. It just felt a bit empty at times. I did like Zeb the cat, he was a nice addition. Not sure what to think of the twist at the end though. There was another twist that I think would’ve worked better if we knew more of that character. I also would’ve liked to get a better feel for the ship and the people on it to make it come alive more.

While the world is quite interesting, there isn’t as much world building. With the main focus being on the romance, I think that will develop over the course of the series. But I had still hoped for a bit more. The pirates didn’t really do much pirate stuff in this book, but that’s mostly because they just sail around. There was a mention of a witch somewhere later in the book and only by then I realized there were even things like witches and by Gideon’s lack of surprise I guess most people knew. But it was hard to figure out how common magic and witches were in this world and how much normal people knew of it. Then later there are some merfolk there, which was done better as there were multiple mentions about that beforehand and it quickly becomes clear most people don’t know a lot about them. I am curious what more exists in this world.

To summarize: Cabin Boy is a very steamy gay polyamory book set in a historical time period, but then with magic. It was quit the unique read. The pace was well done and I enjoyed reading the book. There were plenty of hot scenes, but very little focus on the sweet part or the build-up. The relationships all develop very quickly and become physical very quickly, there is no or very little build-up. I would’ve liked to see a bit more build-up and see them do anything other than sex. There were some other issues I had with the book, like how some things seemed a bit too easy, very little world building, an issue that Gideon has that sort of disappears without a good resolution, very few side characters and how the ship and the people on it didn’t fully came alive. If you’re looking for a steamy gay polyamory read, I would recommend this one.

3 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads, Bookbub and Amazon.

Let me know about a recent read that wasn’t as good as you hoped?

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4 responses to “Review: Cabin Boy by Drake LaMarque

    • It was such a fun set up with the pirate ship and crew, so I am sad I didn’t enjoy it more. I just would’ve liked to see the characters, romance and plot get develop a bit more.

    • Same here, I don’t mind a lot of sex scenes, as long as it fits the story and there’s some romance and feeling like they care for each other too.

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