Title: Song of the Current
Author: Sarah Tolcser
Series: Book #1 in a series
Genre: Young Adult, high-fantasy
Format: e-ARC from Bloomsbury Publishing via Netgalley
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Synopsis: Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.
Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.
From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.
To put it simply, I LOVED THIS BOOK. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a review if I just left it at that. So, let me attempt to put all my squealing emotions and uncontrollable feels into words.
Song of the Current follows Caro Oresteia on her journey through the Riverlands, as she attempts to deliver a very peculiar package in exchange for the freedom of her father, who’s recently been accused of smuggling. Sounds straightforward enough, but the plot quickly thickens once Caro discovers what the package actually is. Spoiler Alert (not really though, this is in the synopsis) – it’s a rather snobby courier named Tarquin.
In terms of the plot, I couldn’t put this book down. Literally, I carried my Nook everywhere I went and continued to read as much as humanly possible. The plot twists people, THE PLOT TWISTS. That being said, this book did take a while to get going, which is why I gave it 4.5 stars instead of a full 5. The fantasy world of the Riverlands has a lot of lingo and unusual characteristics, so I wasn’t immediately engaged by the story. It took me about 75 pages in until I got to the point where I was continuously flipping pages. If you’re someone that’s easily daunted by an abundance of names and terminology being thrown about, I encourage you to power through, because things really do clear up as you read.
Once I was immersed into Caro’s world, I never wanted to leave. The Riverlands really are as magical and treacherous and utterly breathtaking as Caro describes it, I mean after all, I’m writing about it as if I’ve actually been there! The world is steeped in folklore and tales of the gods, which I couldn’t get enough of. The river landscape itself felt tangible and realistic, like I could feel the sway of Cormorant as it sailed through the reedy marsh. I also loved how a big focus of the book was on sailing and its actual mechanics, which is typically glossed over in YA fantasy.
“When you see her, with her sails standing high against the sky, it’s like being punched in the chest. For a moment you can’t breathe. Her beauty strikes you that hard. You understand the life in her, and it calls out to you. That’s when you know you love a ship.”
In addition to swashbuckling adventure and heart-pounding political intrigue, this book has … *drum roll*… LADY PIRATES!! And some seriously bad-ass ones at that. Caro herself is a biracial privateer who takes charge of her very own ship, and it was so heartening to see a MC that was not only fierce and capable, but intelligent, caring, and occasionally doubtful. Caro also has an atypical family arrangement – she and her father live together on their wherry and travel the Riverlands, while her mother remains on land and works in the family business – which was a refreshing twist compared to most YA fantasies, where the MC usually has a) dead parents, b) one dead parent, or c) no recollection of their past whatsoever. There was also another grown-up female wherryman that Caro looked up to throughout the book, and I positively adored their relationship!
“So this was how it felt to be Thisbe Brixton, walking the decks of her wherry. Like a woman who knew who she was. Like a captain.”
And last but certainly not least, the romance. Tarquin is entitled and spoiled-rotten, but has a true heart of gold and a quirky personality that sets him apart from the dashing, heart-throb love interest we’re so accustomed to seeing in YA lit. The romance between him and Caro also has a really interesting storyline that’s completely unpredictable. The build-up is slow and sweet, and culminates in one of the most satisfying love scenes I’ve ever read. Also, I LIVE for their banter!
The ending was perfect, all the loose plot threads were tied together, but I’m still DYING for the sequel! I definitely recommend this book for all YA fantasy lovers, especially if you like anything to do with boats, sailing, rivers, and/or the ocean.
Have you read Song of the Current? What did you think? What are some of your favorite books involving pirates or daring adventurers? I know a certain privateer from the Grishaverse immediately comes to my mind….
Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.