I'm of two minds about this book. There were parts I really loved, but there were also parts that I really disliked. Most of it was an enjoyable read if you're able to get your head around characters that really aren't one bit heroic - even the likable ones are rather horrible at times.
Where Loyalties Lie is a very apt title for this first book in the series. We meet a bunch of pirates, mostly captains, some more wicked than others. Most of the book, in fact, sets up whole over-arcing plot, I assume, since the pirates we meet don't do much of substance other than cross into each others' orbits and on some occasions work together and others... not so much. I know this is in the same universe as some of Rob's earlier books, but I don't think one needs to read them first.
So I'm reading a book about pirates, there's going to be lots of violence and blood and gore - I'm aware of this. Maybe it's the atmosphere of the week with all the Weinstein stuff, but I find I have little patience or tolerance for the violence against women in this book. There's not a lot on the page, but there is some, including one awful scene were the Big Bad Pirate Captain feels he must teach his daughter a lesson. I think I understand why the author chose to include this, but I question the need of it really.
Another problem I had was a couple of times, the author made a point of showing (as opposed to not telling) something - how awful a character is for instance - and then a little later on in the book having a need to tell (as opposed to show) us again. In case we missed it probably. *eyeroll*
In the end, as I said, there were parts I loved, parts I hated and many readable parts in between. :) Will I continue in the series? Most probably. I like Hayes' way of writing.