I was immediately hooked by the theme of this anthology. Who wouldn't love a book of m/m pirate short stories? And for the most part, I wasn't let down.
As with any anthology, there were stories I loved and stories I didn't care for as much. But this is the first one I've spent money on in which there were stories I didn't even bother finishing. Which makes me sad. Overall, however, I thought the pirate theme was delightfully thoroughly explored. I was expecting the classic 1700's-1800's stories, and for the most part loved those. I was delighted by the stories that took the theme and added a twist: the present-day Robin Hood pirates, the futuristic space pirates, and the unexpected restaurant owners. Great good fun.
Captain Merric--possibly my favorite of the whole anthology. I'll definitely be looking for more from this author.
Touched by the West Wind--A spectacularly beautiful friends-to-lovers story!
Irish Red and Black John--lovely stories about overcoming obstacles and the way love triumphs over all.
On the Wings of Lir--this was perhaps the most unexpected of the anthology, and I adored that. A steampunk pirate m/m short story! Of course I loved it! This, more than any other, is a story I'd like to see made into a longer work or have more stories set in this world.
The ones I didn't finish:
The Winds of Change--it's sad that this is the last story in the anthology. It left me wanting to give the entire set a lower rating. I got far enough into the story to read about two friends who have been fuck-buddies. The narrator, at least, is bisexual, and his "friend" is obviously in love with him. Yet the narrator goes off and spends some of their last money to have sex with a (female!) prostitute--only after making sure that the friend who's in love with him knows exactly what he's about to do. Ugh. So much wrong there!
From a Simmer to a Burn--too much whiny. Not enough interesting.
Because this had stories I couldn't bring myself to finish, I don't feel like I can rate it as highly as I've rated other anthologies. But because it had some spectacularly beautiful stories, I have to settle on 3.5 stars.