Running Close to the Wind by Alexandra Rowland: Brilliantly Funny

Avra Helvaçi, former field agent of the Araşti Ministry of Intelligence, has accidentally stolen the single most expensive secret in the world—and the only place to flee with a secret that big is the open sea.

To find a buyer with deep enough pockets, Avra must ask for help from his on-again, off-again ex, the pirate Captain Teveri az-Ḥaffār. They are far from happy to see him, but together, they hatch a plan: take the information to the isolated pirate republic of the Isles of Lost Souls, fence it, profit. The only things in their way? A calculating new Araşti ambassador to the Isles of Lost Souls who’s got his eyes on Avra’s every move; Brother Julian, a beautiful, mysterious new member of the crew with secrets of his own and a frankly inconvenient vow of celibacy; the fact that they’re sailing straight into sea serpent breeding season and almost certain doom.

But if they can find a way to survive and sell the secret on the black market, they’ll all be as wealthy as kings—and, more important, they’ll be legends.

Running Close to the Wind by Alexandra Rowland is brilliantly funny, a bitingly witty satire with vividly charismatic characters but layered with insight into human behavior and systemic oppression. It is the funniest novel that I’ve read in a long time but  not surprising considering the author was inspired by the late Terry Pratchett and her writing has honored him.

One of the reasons I love the novel is that the narrator is absolutely hilarious but also fun, keeping you on your toes. Your first impression makes you think the character is shallow but that is far from the case. The characters in this novel, even though they are fun and charismatic, are some of the most layered and complex characters that I’ve read, with depths to everyone, even the minor parts. Even among the crazy hijinks, the story wanders into some profound insights and does so with snappy dialogue that will make you laugh throughout the book.

If you like pirates and Alexandra Rowland’s previous  books, you will adore this. It is witty, it is hilarious, the dilemma of what to do with the secret intriguing and the characters one and all, will charm you. It is a romantic comedy with a touch of satire and it will make you fall in love with Avra, Captain Teveri, and Julian as they steal their way into your heart with wit and jokes. Brilliantly funny, you will want to read this book. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 secrets 

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