Review: Compass and Blade by Rachel Greenlaw

Compass and Blade by Rachel Greenlaw

Compass and Blade
Rachel Greenlaw
Inkyard Press
Published March 5, 2024

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Compass and Blade

This world of sea and storm runs deep with bargains and blood.

On the remote isle of Rosevear, Mira, like her mother before her, is a wrecker, one of the seven on the rope who swim out to shipwrecks to plunder them. Mira’s job is to rescue survivors, if there are any. After all, she never feels the cold of the frigid ocean waters and the waves seem to sing to her soul. But the people of Rosevear never admit the truth: that they set the beacons themselves to lure ships into the rocks.

When the Council watch lays a trap to put an end to the wrecking, they arrest Mira’s father. Desperate to save him from the noose, Mira strikes a deal with an enigmatic wreck survivor guarding layers of secrets behind his captivating eyes, and sets off to find something her mother has left her, a family secret buried deep in the sea.

With just nine days to find what she needs to rescue her father, all Mira knows for certain is this: The sea gives. The sea takes. And it’s up to her to do what she must to save the ones she loves.

Compass and Blade on Goodreads

My Review

This reminded me of another at-sea, oceanically gifted protagonist story that I enjoyed. It’s not the same story as the other. The characters and motives are really different than the other book. But it definitely delivered on the adventure-on-the-high-seas kind of vibe I hoped for.

It feels like a series opener. I’m not sure what will happen with it now, though, since Inkyard Press has closed down. I’ve heard that the authors have been transitioned to HarperCollins, so maybe the series will continue under a new publisher? I don’t know how all of that works. At any rate, I hope the story continues– I’d love to know what Mira does next.

Dangerous Romance

Only two things tripped me up a little bit, and one is absolutely a personal preference thing that I’m only now realizing is the case for me. You know those stories where there’s instant sexual attraction between two characters for no reason or even against good reason? I’m discovering that makes for a difficult protagonist for me to connect with. I find it really hard to buy in, especially when she’s in real danger from him, a stranger. Not saying that someone couldn’t have those feelings. But because I don’t react to danger that way, I find it pulls me out of the story or makes me question the narrator’s reliability.

Totally a personal preference. I enjoyed the book despite that element. It really only comes up a small number of times.

The other thing that challenged me was the magic system. I think the story moved so quickly that sometimes I wasn’t quite sure I understood how things fit together in the larger world. For instance, the blood of magical creatures can be harvested by witches and given to an apothecary to make a powerful potion that can, for example, heal a bad wound. Beyond that mention, we never learn anything about witches. Are they people who have a natural magical ability? Is Mira a water witch? Do they perform magic or are they magic hunters? This doesn’t really come into play in the story, so it doesn’t require a deep explanation, but I found myself wishing that some of the peripheral magical elements were better explained.


I truly enjoyed the chapters on the water, whether Mira was swimming out to a ship or joining a crew and sailing off somewhere. Despite our differences in how we approach romance, Mira’s loyalty to and love for her people made her an easy character to root for, and I’m invested enough to watch for the release of a sequel. I think readers who like stories at sea or characters with a strong connection to the ocean or readers who swoon at star-crossed love will enjoy COMPASS AND BLADE.

Compass and Blade on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

The larger cast of characters includes characters of different skin tones and identities.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used pretty infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. In one scene, two characters have sex, but it isn’t graphically described.

Spiritual Content
Some characters have a special (magical?) ability in the water. They can swim better, hold their breaths longer, etc. Magical creatures, such as wyverns, exist in the story world. Blood from magical creatures can be harvested by witches and used to make powerful potions. (I’m a little fuzzy on the magic system, but I think that’s how it works.) One character can do some kind of shadow magic. A promise between two characters can have a magic binding to it, depending on who’s involved.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Some descriptions of battles between two opposing sides with serious injuries, including gunshot wounds.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of COMPASS AND BLADE in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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