Friday, August 10, 2018

#Review - These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Stream Raiders # 1
Format:E-Galley, 480 pages
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

The thrilling new fantasy series—full of deadly magic, double crosses, and a dangerous quest in a new world—from Sara Raasch, bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes serie.

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.

Author Sara Raasch's These Rebel Waves is an action-packed start to a new duology full of pirates, dangerous magic, double crosses, betrayal, spies, and secrets. This new series is perfect for fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Heidi Heilig’s The Girl from Everywhere, and Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger. It is a story that alternates, via third POV, between three characters: Benat Gallego, Adeluna Andreu, and Devereux Bell. It is a story where secondary characters are just as important as the primary ones.

Adeluna “Lu” Andreu is the daughter of a famous revolutionary turned politician. She's whip-smart, capable, and fearsome heroine. A former spy in her country’s revolution, a master of the botanical magic, and a budding politician in her own right, she is an inspirational character with strength, agency, and passion. When an important cog in the peace treaty suddenly ends up missing, Lu and Bell team up with a group of Stream Pirates to rescue him before a new type of war hits the island of Grace Loray.  

Devereux “Vex” Bell is the most dangerous stream raider in the world but he has dark secrets and a mysterious past. He has refused to align himself with any of the Stream Raiders, and has his sights on retiring soon. Full of snarky wit, Vex is a talented rogue, the person who knows the rivers, geography, and hidden secrets of their world better than anyone else. Bell, who wears a patch over his eye, and his crew, which includes Nayeli, resident diver, and explosives expert & Edda, muscle and engine expert, have been running magical plants to various factions. Him being caught, rescued, and blackmailed by Lu is the last thing he thought would happen to him.

Benat Gallego is the son of the Elazar, King of Argrid, Eminence of the Eternal Church and the only outright gay character in this book. His father had his uncle and cousin condemned and burned as heretics and traitors. Traitors for giving money to the Grace Loray rebels like Adeluna who fought and won their freedom. He harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic which his religious order wants to rid the world of. 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.

This is a curious world that Raasch has created. On one side you have the appearance that magic is really bad and believes in the religion of the pious one which encourages burning of heretics. While the other side, which pretty much includes all three of the main characters, believes that magic and magic via plants can cure the so called Sleeping Sickness which has taken so many lives. It's also curious that all of the magic that appears in this story is from an assorted plants, and Lu is perhaps the most read when it comes to the various ingredients. 

For those who thought you were going to get gay pirates, sorry. While there's one male character, and another female secondary character who are openly gay, this is really a story about politics, magic, and religion. Of all the things that could have happened, both good and bad, it had to happen in the final 1/3 of the story including the cliffhanger ending. Wow, the author went all Veronica Roth on readers. The positive is that this is a duology, and therefore readers will only have to wait until the next installment is released to see how the author handles her way through the muddle that she created.

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