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Dance of a Burning Sea

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Within the world of Aadilor, there is a hidden place called the Thief Kingdom, where both magic and pleasure abound. There, the Mousai, a trio of deadly sorceresses bound by oath and blood, use their powers to protect the kingdom’s treasures. Niya Bassette brings the potent gift of dance to the Mousai, but behind her tempting twirls, she carries a heavy secret—that the infa Within the world of Aadilor, there is a hidden place called the Thief Kingdom, where both magic and pleasure abound. There, the Mousai, a trio of deadly sorceresses bound by oath and blood, use their powers to protect the kingdom’s treasures. Niya Bassette brings the potent gift of dance to the Mousai, but behind her tempting twirls, she carries a heavy secret—that the infamous pirate lord, Alōs Ezra, has been threatening to exploit for years. Now banished from the Thief Kingdom for smuggling, Alōs resurfaces in Niya’s life with a plot to hold her hostage, leveraging what he knows to extort a pardon from the Thief King. But Niya makes her own deal with Alōs to guard her secret and guarantee her freedom—yet in doing so binds herself aboard his pirate ship, where she must navigate deadly waters, a bloodthirsty crew, and her own traitorous heart. Soon, a simmering attraction between her and Alōs threatens their delicate truce and makes for a tumultuous ride on the open seas. Far from her kingdom, Niya is entangled in a dangerous dance indeed. Welcome to the world of Aadilor, where dark deeds can mask noble hearts and the most alluring of sways often ends with a burn. Care for a spin? From award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes the thrilling second installment in the Mousai series, featuring a powerful sorceress who finds her loyalties tested by a ruthless pirate lord.


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Within the world of Aadilor, there is a hidden place called the Thief Kingdom, where both magic and pleasure abound. There, the Mousai, a trio of deadly sorceresses bound by oath and blood, use their powers to protect the kingdom’s treasures. Niya Bassette brings the potent gift of dance to the Mousai, but behind her tempting twirls, she carries a heavy secret—that the infa Within the world of Aadilor, there is a hidden place called the Thief Kingdom, where both magic and pleasure abound. There, the Mousai, a trio of deadly sorceresses bound by oath and blood, use their powers to protect the kingdom’s treasures. Niya Bassette brings the potent gift of dance to the Mousai, but behind her tempting twirls, she carries a heavy secret—that the infamous pirate lord, Alōs Ezra, has been threatening to exploit for years. Now banished from the Thief Kingdom for smuggling, Alōs resurfaces in Niya’s life with a plot to hold her hostage, leveraging what he knows to extort a pardon from the Thief King. But Niya makes her own deal with Alōs to guard her secret and guarantee her freedom—yet in doing so binds herself aboard his pirate ship, where she must navigate deadly waters, a bloodthirsty crew, and her own traitorous heart. Soon, a simmering attraction between her and Alōs threatens their delicate truce and makes for a tumultuous ride on the open seas. Far from her kingdom, Niya is entangled in a dangerous dance indeed. Welcome to the world of Aadilor, where dark deeds can mask noble hearts and the most alluring of sways often ends with a burn. Care for a spin? From award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes the thrilling second installment in the Mousai series, featuring a powerful sorceress who finds her loyalties tested by a ruthless pirate lord.

30 review for Dance of a Burning Sea

  1. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    i compared the first book in this series to a leisurely sunday stroll, as it was a very slow and relaxed fantasy. well, this sequel steps it up a notch. its a daring adventure on rough seas. and as journeys tend to be laborious, so too is this book. similar to ‘song of the forever rains,’ the pacing in this is also very drawn out, which leads me to believe thats just EJMs writing style. fortunately, the stakes in this particular installment are higher and the characters go on more escapades. i am i compared the first book in this series to a leisurely sunday stroll, as it was a very slow and relaxed fantasy. well, this sequel steps it up a notch. its a daring adventure on rough seas. and as journeys tend to be laborious, so too is this book. similar to ‘song of the forever rains,’ the pacing in this is also very drawn out, which leads me to believe thats just EJMs writing style. fortunately, the stakes in this particular installment are higher and the characters go on more escapades. i am personally drawn to pirate stories, so this definitely suited my preferences. i think the mission, the travelling to various lands, and the sly characters all work well together to create a fun plot. so while i enjoyed the first book, i found this sequel to be much more interesting overall. so if you dont mind a long journey and like roguish pirates and magical kingdoms, then i would highly recommend this book. thank you, montlake, for the ARC! ↠ 4 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    E.J. Mellow

    SHE’S HERE!! Two and a half years in the making. I wrote DANCE OF A BURNING SEA before the pandemic, during and while VERY pregnant. This story has gone on an incredible journey, keeping me comfort through many hard nights and morning sickness days. She was the truest labor of love and one of the hardest writing challenges of my life. But she’s here and I couldn’t have made it to this day without a lot of humans. Mainly my loving husband, Chris, my middle sister, Phoenix, who was my muse for Niy SHE’S HERE!! Two and a half years in the making. I wrote DANCE OF A BURNING SEA before the pandemic, during and while VERY pregnant. This story has gone on an incredible journey, keeping me comfort through many hard nights and morning sickness days. She was the truest labor of love and one of the hardest writing challenges of my life. But she’s here and I couldn’t have made it to this day without a lot of humans. Mainly my loving husband, Chris, my middle sister, Phoenix, who was my muse for Niya, my unstoppable agent, Aimee Ashcraft, my amazing editor, Lauren Plude, the creative force who designed this gorgeous cover, Micaela Alcaino and the entire team at Montlake Romance. Thank you for continuing to believe in me and thank you readers for continuing to share your love for these sisters! Happy Alōs + Niya day 🔥❤️. • Important things to know about DOABS: • It's a standalone • It's an enemies to lovers • It has pirates • It an odyssey heist adventure • It's a thick with tension, slow burn romance • It has magic, lots of magic!

  3. 4 out of 5

    ✩ Yaz ✩

    5 - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “A moment of ecstasy for a lifetime of regret. A young girl's fantasy: that she was the one exception to a monster's loveless heart.” Dance of a Burning Sea was an utterly delightful read that takes us on a thrilling voyage aboard the crying queen with its cold ruthless pirate lord and his colorful crew consisting of thieves and scoundrels. This book serves enemies-to-lovers excellence of actual enemies fighting with tooth and nail and then engulfed by an all-consuming wicked desire 5 - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “A moment of ecstasy for a lifetime of regret. A young girl's fantasy: that she was the one exception to a monster's loveless heart.” Dance of a Burning Sea was an utterly delightful read that takes us on a thrilling voyage aboard the crying queen with its cold ruthless pirate lord and his colorful crew consisting of thieves and scoundrels. This book serves enemies-to-lovers excellence of actual enemies fighting with tooth and nail and then engulfed by an all-consuming wicked desire for each other and in the long road, surrender to those stubborn feelings they have tried to bury long ago. The slow-burn is so deliciously good like *chef's kiss* it makes the spice so much rewarding. Disclaimer: this book is New Adult (NA), it's not YA. Now, you may ask how did we go from dwelling in the Thief Kingdom and it's bordering towns to a ship voyaging different kingdoms and islands. Well... ask Niya Bassette The Mousai's fiery dancer is a fearsome creature to behold but has a weak spot for pies and sugar buns. The Mousai are a trio of deadly sorcresses whom are also the protectors of the Thief Kingdom's treasures and loyal subjects of its King. The Thief Kingdom is a hidden sanctuary in Aadilor—a sanctuary for pleasure, folly, and sin. We met the singer—Larkrya—in Song of the Forever Rains along with her two older sisters: Arabessa the violinist and Niya the dancer. This story follows Niya, the middle child, and the most chaotic for wherever she goes, chaos ensues. But no one loves her family as fiercely as her. I will say she is one of the most relatable characters. Niya carries a heavy secret which reappears to haunt her four years later in the form of the infamous pirate lord Alos Ezra. Niya is taken hostage aboard Alos's beloved ship—the crying queen—where she meets his crew made up of delightful outlaws with very loose morals. On her time aboard the ship, Niya discovers that Alos has another secret that shaped him to be a man with a such ruthless reputation and an insatiable hunger for power. Not only Niya will have to clash with the maddening pirate lord and be forced to do his bidding but also fight the feelings she had buried long ago and the undeniable spark between her and Alos. For how can she trust a heartless man with her own heart? But like Niya, we can't resist Alos's dark allure. I loved how the author kept drawing out the tension between them and it made me truly believe that they loathed each other, they thrived on the desire to see eqch other fall, it was like seeing two vicious hungry tigers circling each other in a very small cage. Which made the tender and vulnerable moments between them even sweeter. Niya and Alos are what their magic represents: Fire and ice. They are polar opposites but oh what a pair they are. One would say they are a match made in hell. Their chemistry was mad. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I wanted to jump in the book and throttle both of them and smash that stubborn head of theirs. It was so good. They are so perfect together. I was so thoroughly entertained while reading this book because we got: a fun adventure, a cast of vibrant characters, lush and atmospheric world-building, and unique sentient magic. I'm so excited for Arabessa to steal the spotlight in her book! I wonder which road will the eldest and wisest of the Mousai take.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Madeline Reddick

    ARC Review: Thank you so much for this opportunity. “Scars, struggles, and flaws made one interesting.” . I loved this story. It was glorious. Full of adventure, magic, wickedness, and tons of tension. This is an adult, enemies to lovers, fantasy romance book. It had just enough spiciness too. Focusing on another one of our favorite sisters, Niya, and a handsome, ruthless pirate, Alós Ezra. Two people with a past that still haunts them have to come together to resolve a new adventure. Both constan ARC Review: Thank you so much for this opportunity. “Scars, struggles, and flaws made one interesting.” . I loved this story. It was glorious. Full of adventure, magic, wickedness, and tons of tension. This is an adult, enemies to lovers, fantasy romance book. It had just enough spiciness too. Focusing on another one of our favorite sisters, Niya, and a handsome, ruthless pirate, Alós Ezra. Two people with a past that still haunts them have to come together to resolve a new adventure. Both constantly are wanting to kill each other any chance they get. Will they survive this new chapter together or will they both leave broken hearted? . Niya is a strong willed, sarcastic, loving woman. She absolutely adores her family and will do just about anything to keep them safe. However, a mistake she made in the past now haunts her, and puts her family at risk. In order to keep it in the past, she is now throw into close quarters with a ruthless, delicious pirate. Niya is now having to deal with the trauma of the past while also discovering a new part of her she didn’t even know existed. Along the way her heart and feelings start to grow and change. Will she survive the end result? . Alos Ezra has always been know as a ruthless, power hungry pirate. He is captain of the Crying Queen full of thieves and scoundrels. All just as ruthless as their captain. However, this pirate has a secret past that has lead to who he is today, but that past has also come to haunt him now. He will now do anything to fix this new problem. Even by bringing abroad an old friend that could end up thawing his cold heart. . After reading this I cannot wait for the next sister’s book. I enjoyed this story so much. This cover is also gorgeous and perfect for this story. It is definitely a slow burn, but E J Mellow does an amazing job at adding so much more adventure, and action to the story that the slow burn fades to the background. You’re engaged the entire time with all that is going on. If you haven’t already preordered this book you must do it as it releases real soon!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    3.5 stars. I did not enjoy this sequel as much the first Mousai book- maybe it was Niya- who I found quite spoiled and abrasive much of the time- or the sea setting at sea which took us away from the Thief Kingdom- but somehow the magic was less for me. I will still read the next in series though as I think this was a particular combination that didn’t quite tick the boxes for me!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon Chillingworth

    This was a wonderful installment in what has been one of my favourite series of this year. If you like slow burn, enemies to lovers, fantasy romance than I haven't read much better than this! The world building is rich, the character deeply characterised, the chemistry sizzling, the rommace genuine and we'll developed and the enemies to lovers is done just perfectly. I think I liked Niya and Alos' story even more than the first book. They have excellent reasons to be enemies, and with the way Alos This was a wonderful installment in what has been one of my favourite series of this year. If you like slow burn, enemies to lovers, fantasy romance than I haven't read much better than this! The world building is rich, the character deeply characterised, the chemistry sizzling, the rommace genuine and we'll developed and the enemies to lovers is done just perfectly. I think I liked Niya and Alos' story even more than the first book. They have excellent reasons to be enemies, and with the way Alos treated her in the past, and with his actions at the start of the book, I was intrigued at how he would be redeemed in Niya's and the reader's eyes. But it really is masterfully done. I highly recommend this series!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brend

    I thought I loved pirates but turns out I don't care for sea settings that much so maybe I just love criminals. Anyways Niya would have loved Doja cat 4.5 I thought I loved pirates but turns out I don't care for sea settings that much so maybe I just love criminals. Anyways Niya would have loved Doja cat 4.5

  8. 5 out of 5

    Betül

    **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I have to admit that I read more than a quarter of the first book in the Mousai series, however I couldn't completely get into it (I will eventually go back and finish it) and decided to read Dance of a Burning Sea because the blurb just sounded really good. Because I read part of the first book I had some background information about the characters. However, this book in my opinion can be read as a standalone. This is a enemies-to-lo **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I have to admit that I read more than a quarter of the first book in the Mousai series, however I couldn't completely get into it (I will eventually go back and finish it) and decided to read Dance of a Burning Sea because the blurb just sounded really good. Because I read part of the first book I had some background information about the characters. However, this book in my opinion can be read as a standalone. This is a enemies-to-lovers fantasy romance. The banter between pirate lord Alos Ezra and the fire dancer Niya was amazing. I just couldn't get enough and they were a really great match. “...her burning fire had worked its way into his heart, keeping it from ever truly being able to freeze over again.” I especially loved the setting and the different places we traveled in this book. The side characters were awesome and added an extra layer to the story. This was a long book (around 500 pages) but it definitely wasn't dull. I was connected to the characters and was invested in the story. I looked forward to seeing what would happen next and how the characters would grow. The love/hate relationship they had was hot and you could really feel the tension between them. Dance of a Burning Sea is a great fantasy romance, and I love E.J. Mellow's writing style. It was very easy to read and had a great flow. I can't wait for the next book to release, which will be about the oldest sister Arabessa.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Oh oh oh!!! I am so so so happy that I was able to read this book because I was dying to read more about the world of Aadilor and see how the story would develop. The story is so very well written, with characters that leap off the page and feel like they are there telling you the story themselves. On a bad note, you will be sad and have a massive book hangover after you finish this story. Try to read it on a weekend so you can recover before being forced to function at work. Thank you, NetGalley Oh oh oh!!! I am so so so happy that I was able to read this book because I was dying to read more about the world of Aadilor and see how the story would develop. The story is so very well written, with characters that leap off the page and feel like they are there telling you the story themselves. On a bad note, you will be sad and have a massive book hangover after you finish this story. Try to read it on a weekend so you can recover before being forced to function at work. Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Perna

    *Provided this ARC by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* “‘Where you are born only defines your blood,’ said Achak as he sipped his wine. ‘And even that is too easily spilled. Your home is where you’re happiest, and that my children, can be anytime, anywhere, and with anyone.’” I must say E.J. Mellows deserves an award for the best slow burn romance writer, on top of that she adds themes of enemies to lovers and in her last book friends to lovers. I cannot wait to see what does with Arabe *Provided this ARC by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* “‘Where you are born only defines your blood,’ said Achak as he sipped his wine. ‘And even that is too easily spilled. Your home is where you’re happiest, and that my children, can be anytime, anywhere, and with anyone.’” I must say E.J. Mellows deserves an award for the best slow burn romance writer, on top of that she adds themes of enemies to lovers and in her last book friends to lovers. I cannot wait to see what does with Arabessa’s book. I read the first 3 chapters of this book and then set it down because I had a crazy work week. I picked this back up last night and was thoroughly entrenched in this story. E.J.’s stories and writing feels like home, there is no other way to describe, it is a feeling I only get with authors like SJM or Leigh Bardugo or Carissa Broadbent. This second installment of the Mousai series follows the fiery Niya Bassette through her journey to self discovery. Niya is the middle child, sandwiched in-between perfect and poised Arabessa and golden heart Larkyra. With such sisters one feels sometimes inadiquate, Niya knows she is not but often feels that all she is good for is her looks and she does not have the poise or brains of her two sisters. Her sisters and her verbal sparring and her heart break has done a number on her, this story focuses on Niya healing herself, finding freedom, and a home. This second book is a wild ride. I had expectations that it was going to be crazy as it focuses on Niya, and where she is involved you know it will be an adventure. Niya out of all the sisters deserved this freedom and independence most, she is so duty bound even more than Lark that many times her need for chaos is a release from her duties. She does not know where to separate Niya and the fire dancer of the Mousai. As a person she struggles with stagnancy but on the flip side of that coin she struggles with difficult change. At the very beginning when things were beginning to change and her and her sisters could wreak havoc as they once did she was very much struggled to grasp that change, and by the end she thrived on change. I loved seeing her go from a spoiled little girl to a bad ass pirate. This along with her and Alos’s dynamic was everything; from the very start their verbal sparring had my jaw on the floor. I feel that for Niya being a member of the Crying Queen gave her the ability to be a part of something as Niya and no longer hide who she was and to be herself. She learned that her loyalty to the Thief King was important but Achak's quote above told her that she did not need to be in her birth city to be happy and be home. I would love to delve deeper into her story along with the Thief King’s. Niya is by far the most irrational and reckless sister, she is very true to her powers and the metaphors they are compared to. But she comes out of this journey just as wonderful as she was before yet with more confidence in who she is as a person and that who she is is just as important as her beauty. I could not see Niya anywhere else then where she ended the story at. I loved this book and journey more than the last, they keep getting better and I am so excited to read Arabessa’s installment as she is the sister I most see myself in. I love every bit of these books, the characters, the writing, the places and the magic. I cannot wait to reread and officially own the Dance of a Burning Sea. GOD IT WAS MAGNIFICENT. I have not binged a book this fast in such a long time. 100000/5 stars for me!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ruthie

    I almost loved it as much as book 1 but, not quite. I think it's because I felt more of a kinship with the other sister from book 1, Larkyra. I like Niya as a character and it is fun to read from her perspective but, I couldn't relate to her as much. But, the pirate in this book is more swoon-worthy than Darius (from book 1) so... I guess it evens out! There is also more spice in this book than in book 1. I liked that there were more settings included and it was like a moving adventure as they s I almost loved it as much as book 1 but, not quite. I think it's because I felt more of a kinship with the other sister from book 1, Larkyra. I like Niya as a character and it is fun to read from her perspective but, I couldn't relate to her as much. But, the pirate in this book is more swoon-worthy than Darius (from book 1) so... I guess it evens out! There is also more spice in this book than in book 1. I liked that there were more settings included and it was like a moving adventure as they sail the seas.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Clark

    **ARC provided for an honest review** Niya is the headstrong and fiery dancer of the Mousai trio and often finds herself getting into trouble either through her gambling or her insistence on handling problems on her own. The journey that we follow shows Niya tackle these challenges head on (sometimes rather clumsily) and evolve from the brash middle sister to a strong, confident, mature woman who understands that a world exists outside of her own. EJ Mellow’s Dance of a Burning Sea is a triumph. **ARC provided for an honest review** Niya is the headstrong and fiery dancer of the Mousai trio and often finds herself getting into trouble either through her gambling or her insistence on handling problems on her own. The journey that we follow shows Niya tackle these challenges head on (sometimes rather clumsily) and evolve from the brash middle sister to a strong, confident, mature woman who understands that a world exists outside of her own. EJ Mellow’s Dance of a Burning Sea is a triumph. You will laugh, you will cry, you’ll have second-hand embarrassment, and you’ll fall along with Niya but you will also soar when she soars. This universe feels like home and Niya is one of the most relatable book characters you will ever travel with. There is action, a slow-burn romance, and emotion all bundled up into this book. Mellow’s writing is immersive, engaging, and stunning. In Dance of a Burning Sea, we follow Niya, the middle sister of the Mousai, through her own journey. This book is a continuation in the Mousai universe, but is also strong as a standalone. If you can, read this book. You will be smiling from ear to ear through the last page. This is easily one of my top reads of the year.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kayle MacDowell

    Wow this book…. And I thought I loved the first book in the series… this book was everything I wanted and more. Enemies to lovers, pirates, intricate magic systems, thievery, a little spice and angst… literally what more could you want? I’ve never felt so connected to a character… Niya was so much fun to read about & so well written that I felt all of her emotions with her. Niya and Alōs’ story is unforgettable and I’d do anything to read 12 more books about them.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katelyn Anderson

    I enjoyed the first installment in this series, but this book absolutely blew it out of the water! I loved this story! It was soooo good. Watching Niya's character growth, learning more about the infamous pirate lord, and watching my favourite trope of enemies to lovers unfold... *swoons* The plot was fantastic too, so much so that I'd been staying up far too late reading to my heart's content. This book was worth losing sleep over. I'm looking forward to the final installment! I enjoyed the first installment in this series, but this book absolutely blew it out of the water! I loved this story! It was soooo good. Watching Niya's character growth, learning more about the infamous pirate lord, and watching my favourite trope of enemies to lovers unfold... *swoons* The plot was fantastic too, so much so that I'd been staying up far too late reading to my heart's content. This book was worth losing sleep over. I'm looking forward to the final installment!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Taiyeaba

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved the first book. But I knew after reading the blurb of this one that it'll be hard for me to enjoy this one. Cause I have to read alos's pov. And I'm not a fan of egoistic man who break the h throughout the book and claim they always loved her at the end.(honorable mention - Adrianne young) and damn alos, he is cruel. You capture a bird, cage her thn you realize that you don't actually like her caged and thn you free her and she's grateful to you and fell in love with you. What the bird s I loved the first book. But I knew after reading the blurb of this one that it'll be hard for me to enjoy this one. Cause I have to read alos's pov. And I'm not a fan of egoistic man who break the h throughout the book and claim they always loved her at the end.(honorable mention - Adrianne young) and damn alos, he is cruel. You capture a bird, cage her thn you realize that you don't actually like her caged and thn you free her and she's grateful to you and fell in love with you. What the bird should notice that she was already free and thn she got captured turned into a plaything and when the captor get bored he freed her. She should not consider him hero cause he was the one who dainted her freedom in first place. I really hate this trope. I only read this book cause I don't want to miss anything of mousai. I really loved loved loved the first book and if this wasn't in this trope I would have enjoyed it easily. I didn't like how everyone wanted Niya to be grateful just because alos was not killing her. How great and heroic he is to them. I would not want to fall in love with someone just hearing or witnessing how great he is to others when he always humiliate me and keep making excuses of his previous actions which broke me. He hardly regrets his actions. Alos used Niya for a leverage which he didn't need at that time so don't tell me it was desperation. His aim was to do something drastic to get him banished from the kingdom. but why he keep doing that after his banishment? And I did not actually think that he consider his crew as family. It was one sided. They consider him family cause for them he was their savior. But for alos he just endebted his crew so they can be faithful and give them enough to not question his actions. He was not truthful with them leading them blind. After all this I'm giving this a 4star cause it's a good book with good writing, characters and all. it's just my personal resentment to this trope which made it difficult to enjoy. And I love the mousais, The Bassettes. I'll be eagerly looking for Ara's book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    The Bookish Ballad

    By the sea and stars...what a magical and exciting story I sailed through reading Dance of a Burning Sea by EJ Mellow!! It deserves all the sparkling stars and mounds of treasure that will make the charming pirates on The Crying Queen drool lavishly over because it is such a prize to read!! Through mesmerizing storytelling, Dance of a Burning Sea will ignite the fire kindling within your heart. Conflicting emotions reign mighty in this enemies-to-lovers, excruciatingly painful slow burn romance E By the sea and stars...what a magical and exciting story I sailed through reading Dance of a Burning Sea by EJ Mellow!! It deserves all the sparkling stars and mounds of treasure that will make the charming pirates on The Crying Queen drool lavishly over because it is such a prize to read!! Through mesmerizing storytelling, Dance of a Burning Sea will ignite the fire kindling within your heart. Conflicting emotions reign mighty in this enemies-to-lovers, excruciatingly painful slow burn romance E.J. Mellow has poured her heart, soul, and a dash of lava into crafting a thrilling tale of high sea adventure with not one, but TWO, epic heists, to right the wrongs of a past that has haunted our two beloved main characters. After reading Larkyra Bassette's story in Song of the Forever Rains and then opening the pages of Niya's story in Dance of a Burning Sea is like going from taking a peaceful walk in a steady bout of rain and then out of nowhere it's a torrential downpour of hail, lightening and heaps of fire burning the world to ash. Readers cannot help but get wrapped up in Niya's chaos and love her fiercely for it. After being kidnapped by Alōs Ezra, the handsome, powerful and deadly pirate lord, and stowed away on his infamous ship named the Crying Queen on the Obasi Sea, Niya enters into a bargain with the dreadful pirate (who is actually quite murderous, broody, delicious, and snarky, to our beloved MC's chagrin) in order to keep her sisters' identities a secret and their livelihoods within the Thief Kingdom and Jabari in tact. You will LOVE the charm, wit, slow-burn romance between two lovers turned enemies, high sea adventure, and a fierce as hell, hot-headed female MC who wields fire magic as she comes to find her true purpose away from her responsibilities as one of the deadly and fearsome members of the Mousai. Fans of The Princess Bride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Six of Crows, will Devour Dance of a Burning Sea. Trust me, darling readers, this is a storm you do not want to miss! I am incredibly thankful to be a part of EJ Mellow's ARC team, that I've been sent an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I knew it was iffy to pick this one up since the first in the series so vexed me. However, my issues might have been limited to that specific plot, so I gave the sequel a shot. Unfortunately, issues from the previous book did carry over for me-- namely, the focus on morality and torture, which both came up within the first couple chapters as non-mutually exclusive arenas. Dark fantasy/romance perplexes me sometimes when there doesn't seem to be any concern for real-world analogs. Suggesting that I knew it was iffy to pick this one up since the first in the series so vexed me. However, my issues might have been limited to that specific plot, so I gave the sequel a shot. Unfortunately, issues from the previous book did carry over for me-- namely, the focus on morality and torture, which both came up within the first couple chapters as non-mutually exclusive arenas. Dark fantasy/romance perplexes me sometimes when there doesn't seem to be any concern for real-world analogs. Suggesting that ruling with violence is justified on behalf of law and order and respecting authority have appalling consequences when acted on in real life. There is some light questioning of the tyrannical monarchy in the book, but the use of violence to impose control continues even on the supposedly democratic, familial pirate ship where much of the story takes place. The specifics of this romance also perturbed me. We have the impulsive, gambling Niya on one hand-- traits I admit to finding personally stressful. Then there's the manipulative, controlling, ambitious at all costs Alōs on the other. His personality moves beyond the personally concerning to the generally problematic. In their shared past you can find humiliation, stealing of secrets, and blackmail that could ruin Niya's family. I think consent is iffy at best here because while Niya agreed to have sex with him, she didn't know his ulterior motives to gain leverage over her. In the present, Alōs uses this leverage to force a bargain whereby he has authority over her as a captain for a year. During that time, he has her whipped for disobeying orders because he needs to set an example for the crew... but it's ok because he feels bad? The whole thing was extremely toxic, and a tragic backstory here, an honorable intention there are meant to smooth away the violent, jagged edges of both characters, especially Alōs. And I just wasn't buying it. A fantasy world shouldn't erase a need for respectful, consenting relationships with fair power dynamics and a romance free of glaring red flags.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    Thank you to the author and publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoy E.J. Mellow’s writing. I love that these books go together but can be enjoyed separately as different stories. I really enjoyed reading Niya’s story. Niya is very hotheaded which makes sense because she actually has burning fire magic. Her sisters often describe her as a volcano ready to erupt and burn down everything. I found myself connecting to her character very easily. She lov Thank you to the author and publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoy E.J. Mellow’s writing. I love that these books go together but can be enjoyed separately as different stories. I really enjoyed reading Niya’s story. Niya is very hotheaded which makes sense because she actually has burning fire magic. Her sisters often describe her as a volcano ready to erupt and burn down everything. I found myself connecting to her character very easily. She loves her family and is fiercely protective. She does get into trouble often but I really enjoyed watching her character growth throughout the story. Alōs’s character is wonderfully complex. He’s was really intriguing to read about. He isn’t just an aloof pirate lord. I loved that he has a great backstory too. Often times I feel like an author will favor one MC more but I really thought the story was written well and had good balance between the characters. The overall story was exciting and filled with adventure. I actually enjoyed the 3rd person POV. I often struggle with feeling disconnected but I didn’t find this to be the case. I love the magic system the author created and love seeing the sisters together. Im also a sucker for pirate ships and close forced proximity. I thought the romance was again done really well and I can’t wait to learn about Arabessa next !!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charity Solomon

    The first book was amazing but this? This was phenomenal! I can not even begin to think how the next sisters book will top this. Having a soft spot for Captain Hook and Jack Sparrow really paved the road for Alōs to be a favorite. I knew from his little appearance in the first he was a story I wanted and then seeing the synopsis for this I knew! Santa came early. *chef kiss* Let's not let the "bad guy" overshadowed there is an equally bad ass girl in this. Our fire dancer, Niya. And E.J Mellow's The first book was amazing but this? This was phenomenal! I can not even begin to think how the next sisters book will top this. Having a soft spot for Captain Hook and Jack Sparrow really paved the road for Alōs to be a favorite. I knew from his little appearance in the first he was a story I wanted and then seeing the synopsis for this I knew! Santa came early. *chef kiss* Let's not let the "bad guy" overshadowed there is an equally bad ass girl in this. Our fire dancer, Niya. And E.J Mellow's writing had be just as entranced as Niya's dancing. I could paint every scene in my head perfectly as if I was there.... And I need more!!! I beg of thee!! I know the next is for the eldest sister but PLEASEEEE I need more of fire and ice.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    3.5 stars. The love interests in this are what kept me going, despite the cheesy dialogue at times. The illusion gets shattered by contemporary dialogue in a high fantasy setting and writing that tries too hard to be eloquent--quite the juxtaposition. I found myself getting bored and skimming. Kind of disappointed cause I was very intrigued by the love interests in this sequel. It was still a decent read but a bit of a letdown.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Evelina Kalo

    [ARC e-reader] Thank you to the author and her team for providing me with an e-book copy of this incredible, magical book in exchange for an honest review. This can be read as a standalone. I loved Song of The Forever Rains--Larkryra's story and Darius'--but even then, I knew Niya and Alōs would have my heart if not already. And I was right. The worldbuilding was out of this world as in the previous one, but what I loved most were the seas and Esrom and how this journey included...GIANTS. Can you b [ARC e-reader] Thank you to the author and her team for providing me with an e-book copy of this incredible, magical book in exchange for an honest review. This can be read as a standalone. I loved Song of The Forever Rains--Larkryra's story and Darius'--but even then, I knew Niya and Alōs would have my heart if not already. And I was right. The worldbuilding was out of this world as in the previous one, but what I loved most were the seas and Esrom and how this journey included...GIANTS. Can you believe that? I didn't know I loved reading about them as much as watching them in movies but here we are. The writing style? Immaculate. I adored how Mellow described every detail with so much care, every word spoken not in vain, with purpose and beauty. The plot was done well and interestingly. There was never a dull moment, and although it took a while to fully dive into the first parts of the story, I did faster than I thought, and good lord. As for the characters, stop there. A female character--aka Niya--who is indeed a fire dancer as Alōs calls her, who is so hot-headed, stubborn, and STRONG, she doesn't take no for an answer and doesn't stop until she's gotten what she wanted. Niya reminded me so much of myself and I related to her so much it brought tears to my eyes when I read the thoughts going through her head. A middle daughter who loves her family and sisters SO much, she hides her worries and pain behind her fire. I love you Niya. I loved seeing her grow as a person and so did Alōs. He, the villain, perfectly portrayed so. Cruel, ruthless, the man who broke Niya in the past and the same one who brought her back together. Loved how Alōs was described as indeed a villainous pirate that cared about nothing but himself, and then we got proved wrong. His past overwhelmed me and I felt for him. Mellow knows how to make the reader despise, then after a second, love a villain who is actually misunderstood. And the sisters bond?? Everything I seek in a book, this one has it all!! Niya's and Alōs' relationship was😍. Enemies to lovers, slow burn, more like past lovers-to enemies, to lovers. I LIVE for this trope when it's done well, and it was. Totally recommend and PLEASE read this masterpiece of work! Totally my favorite in the Mousai Series, but again, I have to tell after Arabessa's book is out as well. Until then, read this. Thank me later.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paula lily

    It is something so intimate, something that is written just for me. Like when the Mousai is performing it is all for you, just for you and there is no one else. Just you and them. I love how each book could be a standalone but it is so much better to read them as a series. While still being a part of a family, each sister goes on an adventure in which they grow up, shape themselves to be their true selves. I highly appreciate the fact that while each of the sisters are different in personality y It is something so intimate, something that is written just for me. Like when the Mousai is performing it is all for you, just for you and there is no one else. Just you and them. I love how each book could be a standalone but it is so much better to read them as a series. While still being a part of a family, each sister goes on an adventure in which they grow up, shape themselves to be their true selves. I highly appreciate the fact that while each of the sisters are different in personality you can relate or find yourself in them. You end up wanting to be a part of their family, where they love and support each other immensely. I loved Lark's story and I loved Niya's story as well. Now the wait begins for the last book of Ara's POV. Yeah I totally forgot about the romance lol. So it was the best enemies to lovers I have read like almost ever (there are some exemptions). It was such a slow burn (as the first one, maybe even slower) that at some point I was like ma'am I know there will be some smut and romance just give it to me. Oh boy and once it came i was not disappointed, so good. Becaise of some personal stuff it took me longer then normally to finish the book but the story is written so well that it didn't bore me even a bit. Thanks Netgalley for the eArc of this book and I'm leaving the review voluntarily.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Min

    Very excited for this one! Adored the first one!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tien

    Pirates!! One of the most romanticised swashbuckling hero characterisation and yet, I also can't help myself but swoon over a broody handsome pirate. I love a good piratical romance especially one imbued with a good dose of magic just like this novel is. Dance of a Burning Sea is a novel of secrets, betrayals, love, and forgiveness. I enjoyed the first book of this trilogy, Song of the Forever Rains, which was Larkyra's (youngest of the sisters) story and am curious about the rest of sisters. I a Pirates!! One of the most romanticised swashbuckling hero characterisation and yet, I also can't help myself but swoon over a broody handsome pirate. I love a good piratical romance especially one imbued with a good dose of magic just like this novel is. Dance of a Burning Sea is a novel of secrets, betrayals, love, and forgiveness. I enjoyed the first book of this trilogy, Song of the Forever Rains, which was Larkyra's (youngest of the sisters) story and am curious about the rest of sisters. I am more curious about Arabessa but that'll be the third & last book. While I am intrigued by Alōs Ezra, the pirate lord, I wasn't particularly keen on Niya. Perhaps it's because she will be one of those people I try to avoid IRL. She says it as she sees it plus she's also a very angry character. I struggle quite a bit with angry protagonists so the first 30% of the book was a drag to me; a lot happen in this first third of the story so at least, Niya started to develop as a character and I started to really enjoy the story. At the end of the book, she has matured so much to be unrecognisable... almost. Dance of a Burning Sea is a hefty sequel (511 pages!!) and while I enjoyed this fantastical world, I found the romance to drag a bit (or maybe I'm just impatient) and I rather expect a big twist in the end which didn't happen (like whatever twists throughout the book weren't enough! lol) so I was a little disappointed. The romance ended up quite sweetly, however, so I am happy. Now, I absolutely cannot wait to get to Arabessa's story! My thanks to Montlake for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lina

    ☠️Alōs >>> 🔥Niya >>> This book let me live out my pirate enemies to lovers dreams. The tropes? The passion? The fantasy? The plot? WOW. The first book was amazing but this book was a total dream. Niya reminded me so much of myself so her journey was especially moving. I understood her passions and urges. Her insecurities and rage. And her growth was so natural and perfect. And then Alōs is just .... literal heart eyes. I can’t recommend this enough.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I’m really enjoying this series. I love the witty banter between characters and watching the characters grow throughout the book. The sisters are easy to fall in love with and the romance in each novel is fun to watch. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    4.5 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    this fantasy world is so interesting, love the characters, and especially all the sibling relationships and found family dynamics.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Blye Donovan

    This book blew me away! Action, adventure, magic, a kickass heroine and a sexy pirate, what's not to love?! This book blew me away! Action, adventure, magic, a kickass heroine and a sexy pirate, what's not to love?!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gabi Leoncini

    3.5 stars. Lots of angst, just as Enemies-to-Lovers should have.

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