Hello everyone, today I will be reviewing These Rebel Waves by Sarah Raasch! This is one of my first pirate books in awhile, and I completely fell in love with it. I hope you do to after reading my review!
Release date: August 7, 2018
Hardcover page count: 480
My rating: 5/5 stars
These Rebel Waves tells the interwoven tale of three people whose lives are dependent on the rulings of two countries, Grace Loray and Agrid. Adeluna fought as a soldier for the magic-filled island of Grace Loray during the war that ended five years ago. She thought she was able to save the the people from Agrid’s oppression, but when a Agridian delegate vanishes during peace talks, everything she worked for may soon be erased. Devereux is one of Grace Loray’s stream raiders, a pirate who deals in the island’s magical plants. But Agrid accuses him and the rest of the stream raiders for kidnapping the delegate, he agrees to help Adeluna find him. Benat is the crown prince of Agrid. But unlike his magic-fearing people, he believes it could be used to heal. So when his father gives him the job of reversing Agrid’s fear, he must decide if changing his people’s lives is worth potentially loosing his. But as new information is revealed and more players join the game, the three of them must decide how much they are willing to pay for peace.
This book has all the elements of a blockbuster novel, and it delivers excellently. Starting with the setting itself, the author clearly put a lot of research into it. From the lush plants that could be found around the island to the extremist church group that controls Agrid, readers are quickly immersed in how well developed everything is. While reading, I always found myself being sucked in to the author’s descriptive prose that makes you feel like what she was describing was actual history. Things like extreme and cultish religion can be hard to portray in books, but the author still found a way to do it excellently. This includes a multitude of magical experimentation which Raasch describes in a way that makes it sound like she was conducting them herself. The author also did an amazing job making sure that Grace Loray’s side of things wasn’t too biased, so their government didn’t seem like they were the absolutely good guys and that they could do no harm. I found that balancing and providing two sides to the coin like that enhanced the book beautifully and made it feel so much more real.
Another part of this book that I absolutely adored were the characters. None of them felt fake and overdone. None of them felt incomplete and undeveloped. A problem that frequently arises with books like this, is that the author often makes the characters tragic and overload them with dark and depressing backstory. And though these characters did have that, none of them used it to overload their personalities. It never felt like the only things that made up the characters were where they came from. Rather, these backstories helped guide the characters to where they might be, giving us insight to what they might do later on.
Adeluna, for example, was a character who was everything a typical badass female lead could be: smart, strong, and beautiful. She also plays the role of the sheltered-princess type despite fighting in a disastrous war. But what made her so different than other characters, is that she not only showed that she is beyond and better than that, but she also showed that even ‘perfect’ girls can be wrong, and have faults. An example of something I found that made her different than other characters, was something that occurred early on in the book. Adeluna is in an intense fighting scene (that I won’t describe even though it happens very early on) during which she does some complex moves. Typically when an ex-soldier-warrior-princess-like character does this, they do it perfectly. But though Adeluna did execute the move with finesse, she did think at one point “oh, I wonder if I still remember how to do this. It’s been awhile after all”. I’m paraphrasing of course, but I found this thought to be interesting because it is so rare to see doubt in fighting ability from a character type like hers. This was just one example of many of how the author truly went beyond the standards of characters in typical fantasy novels to make hers unique.
Of course, no good cast of characters would be complete without an equally excellent plot. And the author delivered this perfectly, taking readers on a thrill ride which combined adventure, political intrigue, a slow building romance, and just a dash of magic to make the perfect novel for fantasy lovers. Readers will fall in love with the subplots of this book and the terrifying flashbacks that will integrate an element of surprise into the book that readers won’t see coming.
I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers, but also to people who enjoy reading books that feel like they were inspired by history. Also, if you love seeing LGBT characters and romance featured in fantasy, you will be happy to know that These Rebel Waves features this (which isn’t typical in pirate fantasy like this). These Rebel Waves is a book that won’t let you down if you are looking for a breathtaking adventure that will leave you begging for more.
I hope that you enjoyed this review! If there are any books that you would like me to recommend, let me know in the comments. Also, what is one of your favorite pirate books?
Until next time,
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”