Tuesday, August 14, 2018

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
Release Date - August 7, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  480 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the 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 had been craving a well written book that revolved around pirates when I heard about These Rebel Waves. It promised to mix magic, pirates, court politics, and a revolution. Thankfully it more than delivered on these promises and also offered a compulsively readable story with some very memorable characters.

The setting is almost a character itself. Grace Loray is a swampy area whose humidity could be almost felt through the pages. The setting is vividly captured within these pages with the descriptions that make use of not just telling us about the setting but showing us details about it through the characters. The world building is such a vital part of the story for many reasons and that is brought to fruition because of the picture that is painted.

The intertwining of magic and religion is done interestingly within the story arc that is set out. The idea of magic being 'evil' is not a new one, but the way it is presented here is compelling. The impact it has on all of the characters is far reaching and far more interesting than I anticipated. The foundational elements of the world being built are directly tied to the magic within the novel. The magic is grounded in botany. The use of herbs and plants make it feel more plausible even as some of the plants used offer a more mystical flair to the story.

The characters are a large part of why I loved this novel so much. Sara Raasch's ability to write flawed, broken, and charismatic characters ensures that you immediately fall in love with them. They are so richly developed and have fleshed out backstories that both are vital to the plot and allow the reader to know the characters better. I ended up feeling rather protective of all of the main cast as each of them has experienced so much trauma in their short lifetimes. The fact that they are shown to be functioning at all is impressive. More than a few of them are obviously struggling with post traumatic stress and I think each of them showcases the horror of their circumstances in different ways. Each of them have things they loath themselves for. I appreciated how much these character could relate to each other because of that and how different from each other they all were despite having these shared experiences. They're all broken in their own way.

All of the darker aspects of the character's journeys are offset by some fun banter filled moments and the lightest possibility of a romance. There is also some friendship dynamics that are intriguing and also offer some bright spots. There was one romance in particular that I enjoyed seeing develop. The little moments of happiness are peppered throughout which allows the reader a respite that compliments the rest of the story being told.

Those who hate cliffhangers should be aware that this one offers a gut punch. I highly recommend making a friend read it at the same time just so you have someone to talk to about it after. The last few chapters of this book take the story into a direction that was unexpected and incredibly welcome. A few of the reveals offer tantalizing possibilities for the future of this series as well as set up some great character arcs moving forward. This is very much a first book whose job it is to set up a much larger story and I cannot wait to see that unfold. The heartbreaking elements of the implications of the ending are going to ensure that readers pick up the next installment as it will be almost impossible not to.

Those seeking adventure, romance, amazing characters, and lots of intricately woven plot points and incredible world building will want to pick up this impressive start to a new series. It predict it'll be your newest obsession as it offers a little bit of everything in a well written package.

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