Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel


Avra Helvaçi has a problem. Maybe. Possibly. He has stolen a secret, a secret so important that nations would kill to keep it and it could change the balance of power between ship captains and the government. Avra is also exceptionally lucky, divinely so. And despite having stolen a dangerous secret, Avra’s luck has brought him to The Running Sun, the ship of his sometimes lover, Captain Teveri az-H?aff?r.

Teveri hates Avra. They also probably like him. Maybe even love him. Avra is a ridiculous, needy creature who seems to exhaust Tev’s patience just by existing. But Avra’s luck has saved The Running Sun before and they need saving now. A lean season has left Tev struggling to pay the crew and their reputation among the other captains is foundering. Thankfully, The Running Sun’s new crew member, a celibate but devastatingly attractive cleric called Julian, might be the key to unlocking Avra’s secret and saving them all. If they can survive sea serpents, government lackeys, glowing blue dogs, and a cutthroat annual cake competition, The Running Sun might have a chance at glory. And if Julian can keep Tev from throttling Avra along the way, the trio might be able to achieve a bit of personal glory all their own.

Running Close to the Wind is bonkers. I mean properly bonkers. It’s laugh out loud funny, occasionally exhausting, and surprisingly endearing. There were times I set it down and wondered what on earth I was reading, but ultimately I decided it didn’t matter because I enjoyed it so much. There were times the pacing lagged a bit, but these moments were few and far between and, on the whole, I was utterly charmed by this high seas adventure.

Avra is obnoxious. We all know someone like him, the friend that is so clingy and whiny and wearying you start to wonder if they’re the worth the effort. But they also tend to be incredibly loyal and offer kindness and support when we need it most. He’s an exasperating character, but so completely charming it’s impossible to dislike him. He and Tev have a complicated, tangled history that is full of sharp edges and fierce devotion, but ultimately they only work with the presence of a third. Julian, he of the six and fifty-two (I can’t say more, but if you read the book you will understand), balances Tev and Avra perfectly, soothing their frayed and ragged nerves as he teaches them how to communicate and to navigate the complex nature of their relationship. Tev is someone with the weight of the world on their shoulders; they cast off their family and an oppressive religion and did the impossible by claiming The Running Sun for themselves. But they’ve closed themselves off from nearly everyone and are in danger of breaking under the sheer strain of trying to hold their world together. But with Julian and Avra by their side, Tev is truly made whole. There is no significant on page sex in the story; just discussions of it, so even if you’re not normally into throuples or polyamory, you may still enjoy this one.

Tev, Avra, and Julian are irrepressible and a bit insane, but utterly charming and I adored this novel because of how their wildly chaotic personalities bent and shaped the world around them. This book is not for everyone; it takes some patience and you have to enjoy the Mad Hatter-esque nature of its plot, but I loved it. I have no idea if Running Close to the Wind will be a standalone or if there might be a sequel someday, but I am desperately hoping the author has more adventures planned for this trio. Because I want more sea monsters, more cake competitions, and I need to know if Julian is actually capable of six and fifty-two!