Thursday, August 23, 2018

ARC Review: These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Title: These Rebel Waves
Series: Stream Riders #1
Written by: Sara Raasch
Published: August 7, 2018 by Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work. 

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war. 

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre. 

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.

I really like Sara Raasch's debut series, even though I never finished it. It was a good YA fantasy with an interesting world and magical system. So when I heard she had a new series coming out that was inspired by historical pirates I was very excited to read it. And this book was another good YA fantasy with a cool world and magical system.

One thing that Sara does so well is world building. She really knows how to create a unique world that engages the reader and that is exactly what happens in this book. Probably my favorite thing about These Rebel Waves was the world. It's a world full of magic, political intrigue, and lush settings. There was a lot involved in the world which I seriously enjoy in my fantasy. For one thing there is a nation who is trying to maintain it's independence after a revolution and that made for some interesting relationships. For another there is a lot of oppression by a world power who uses religion and scare tactics to maintain control. Those two combined always make for a really compelling setting for me and Sara did a great job in establishing all of that.

Then you have the magical system. It was an interesting magical system in that it didn't really feel like magic. The basis for the powers here were in these plants that gave those who ingested or breathed them specific abilities. Some more benign like the ability to stay alert (basically we're talking caffeine) and some more detailed like knocking you out or allowing you to hear from long-distances. I found it really interesting especially because it walked a fine line between real magic and historical witches who were basically just apothecaries.

My biggest problem however in These Rebel Waves was with the plot development. I went into this book expecting a story about pirates and privateers so I was ready for a story of adventure on the high seas. Sadly that was not what this book was about. It was much more focused on the political plotting and story of a country who survived a revolution and is trying to prevent another one. That is definitely an interesting story but when you are expecting one thing and get another you can't help but feel disappointed. I don't know why myself, and frankly a lot f other people, were fixated on that point about the story but we were. I want to make this really clear because if you want to read this book I feel like you need to know it is not about pirates. It's about politics and religion while one of the characters is a pirate.

One thing that also made the plot development a little problematic for me was the characters. This is a book with multiple perspectives which can be really great or really unnecessary in my opinion. This book leaned more towards the latter. Having two of the perspectives was definitely good. They spent most of the book in different places, doing different things which offered a lot of interest and contrast to the story. The other one however I didn't feel added much of anything except to needlessly complicate. And it's not that I didn't like the characters, because I did. Lu was a good heroine. She's tough, resourceful, cares a lot for those she loves including her home. She also had the perfect combination of reckless and cunning. Vex was easy to root for as the resident lovable rogue with a backstory that you just know is going to be full of vulnerabilities to make him more complex. And Ben is super complex. He's probably the character who has the most to overcome as he decides who he wants to be and what he can do with his position. They were likable and complex for sure. I just thing we could have done without Vex;s perspective and had a little more from Ben.

On the whole, this book was okay. It didn't blow me away, but was a YA fantasy that had a cool world, a mildly interesting plot, and likable characters. I think it just didn't quite deliver when it comes to the plot development and made things too confusing with multiple character perspectives.

I give These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch 7.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you like YA fantasy and enjoyed Sara's first series then I would say pick this up the next time you are at the library.

Have you read These Rebel Waves? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sad that for most bloggers it doesn't seem like the best book because I'm really looking forward to it and I'll be getting it soon. At least I know not to have too high expectations. Great review!