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Alright , where do I even start about this one ? It’s so amazing I’m not sure I’d be able to capture all the emotions this book put me through in mere words . It was so good in a lot of ways and I just can’t stop thinking I’m messing with my opinions here .
I have a real thing for water and ships and pirates . My love for pirates began a while ago when I fell in love with a book-viking ( OMG but they’re awesome ) and I’ve been sold to any book that boasts pirates (because ...How could any girl resist ?) and this book didn’t pass by me especially with that pretty cover ! And gods , this one had all things I wanted . That love/hate , dark powers , and did I tell you ? A kickass girl !
What was the best part ?
I assume you mean , ‘best parts , since you have a long list coming at you !
Caro ! While there were so many things that’s great about this book , it was the girl Cora was that makes me want to push this book at you . I mean , she was such a strong girl . She’s stubborn, brave , loyal and what not ? She’s one of the best protagonists ever! She is a privateer ! She’s a real fighter and loves her ship and would kill you if you insult her ( sounds strong yet ? ❤ )
The Diversity : I love diversity in my books because the default is boring me so much and I sorta went into this book looking out for a default protagonist but Caro is biracial ! And that was fresh !
The world building : I loved loved the world Song of the current was built on ! Those ships , that ocean , that wilderness ! I felt every bit of the river that we floated on and the jungles were so beautiful in my imagi-world . That’s wrong , they were terribly gorgeous that I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been to capture that beauty in words ! Hats off to Sarah !
My next book boyfriend : Tarquin . I know I’ve got a lot of book boyfriends already but can I just have one more ? I love Tarquin ! He’s one of those guys who have got that personality that draws you to them . I can understand why I’m loving him and would probably allow myself to marry him if he were real ! If only !
What’s not so great ?
Yeah , as lovely as any book is , it’s got its faults . The worst thing with this book is how hard it is to follow through . I read a lot of books with ships but girl , this one was a little too over the top with all those terms . I usually love learning a little more through books but having to look up the library every once in a while is not so cool ( which I didn’t do because I usually understand terms if I read what’s written over and over )
And the book was a bit boring at the start . For me , the book picked up when the port was attacked and we started nearing the crate part . The writing was also a bit dramatic at times but come on , there’s a lot of potential in Sarah and I can’t wait to see more refined books from her .
Before I begin, can we PLEASE have some SERIOUS COVER APPRECIATION FOR THIS BOOK? I know we aren’t supposed to judge books by their covers, but honestly, if a book has a good cover, it makes me was to OWN AND READ it THAT MUCH MORE!
Saying this book looks beautiful is an understatement because the Cover Gods in the Shiny Book Tower have TRULY outdone themselves this time. Combine a beautiful book with a FEMALE PIRATE AND MAGIC and this was a book ALL OF MY BOOKDRAGON TINGLY SENSES WERE TELLING ME I HAD TO READ IT.
Let’s break this book down:
Female Pirates, Destiny, Magic, Gods and Empires in the balance? It was a no-brainer that I needed to read Song of the Current because EVERYTHING about it sounded so good. Moreover, I heard BRILLIANT things about this book before I began and it had me even more excited.
I’ll be honest, it took a while to get used to the world this was set in. As Anisha and I spoke about while we read the book:
a) The world-building could have been better. We were thrown names of countries and cities, titles and sailing terms with little to no explanation which resulted in a LOT of flipping to the front where the map what and trying to figure out WHAT WAS GOING ON.
b) A glossary for this book would HONESTLY have been much appreciated. It would have really helped in understanding everything.
Since the world building was a little rough, it took me a while to get used to the story. I hoped that Tarquin wouldn’t be the love interest and I hoped that the Black Dogs would be some serious opponents but I was slightly let down on both counts.
At the same time, there were also a lot of things I LOVED, including how Caro was the PERFECT BADA*S HEROINE. As she says, she isn’t someone waiting to be rescued like a princess in a tower and moved towards something better. (YES! A FIRST! GO SARAH TOLSCER!) She made decisions on her own and her parents respected them instead of trying to mould her to fit their expectations. (ONCE AGAIN, THANK YOU SARAH.)
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVED that ending. If I was unsure about the book for the first two thirds, the BRILLIANT ending made up for it. (No spoilers)
I’m mostly going to tie this to the world building that could’ve been better and hence by default, the writing could have been too. I loved how the concepts of the Gods and Destiny and Fate were written about, but I just wish the world building had been better.
Be true to yourself, could you TRULY pass up a book with FEMALE PIRATES, MAGIC AND A SPECTACULAR COVER? Song of the Current is definitely worth your time, and your heart! 4 stars.
(I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of the book for For The Love of Fictional Worlds)
It has been quite a while since I had gotten into the fantasy world; a factoid I didn’t realize until I got an ARC of this book – a fact that made me disappointed in myself!
It again took me time to get into this book – mostly because like all fantasy, it takes time to build up its plot, the world it inhabits and the characters that will play a pivot role in the journey!
Caroline Oresteia is a girl from a family of wherrymen, just waiting for the River God to speak to her; but fate forces her hand when her father gets held hostage and she is tasked by the ruler of Kyntessa (wonder how we pronounce it?) to deliver an important crate to another nation. But this task embroils her in a political conspiracy that she really doesn’t want to be a part of!
The first person POV of Caro makes it a fun read as well – it is easy for the reader to enjoy Caro’s company; not only is she bold and plucky, her sassiness is through the roof! And even while that makes her intimidating on paper; it’s her insecurities, her inner war with her supposed heritage that makes her entirely human and entirely relatable to the readers.
There a hint of romance as well for our Caro – and it’s the guarded skeptical start of the relationship that had them at odds with each other that makes it all the more entertaining to read about. But it’s how they handle that relationship, their communication with each other, that makes it a mature relationship, making it easy to forget that they are just after all teenagers.
It isn’t to say that it was predicatble – Caro earned my respect when she decided that their feelings and relationship would never come in the way of her independence and her future; and it was heartening to see her partner respect that decision; making me quite eager to know ea\xactly how they handle the relationship going forward!
I have rarely read a fantasy that inhabits the world of water – and the way the author especially weaves the folklore into the world building makes it a very action packed, brilliantly written read! A marine adventure with some fierce and irrepressible characters, a world that has its foundation in Folklore makes the Song of The Current an gorgeous read; and even though the book ends with some closure, I can very say that I am still looking forward to the adventures Caro and her shipmates will have in the future!
I'm hard to please and the YA book world is saturated with so-so badly written templates. This is a fabulous read. It's different, beautifully and elegant written in sensible prose, with realistic characters who are both flawed and complex. No incessant stream of pithy jibes whilst fighting pirates, and magical accumulation of skills overnight. Real character development and a unique system of magic pulls you into this story.
Caro is a headstrong girl who finds herself transporting unusual cargo when her father is imprisoned. This is a modern swashbuckling adventure that keeps you turning the page. She wants the God of the River, who speaks to the river people in the Language of Small Things, to acknowledge her. But it is not the river that drives her fate. More please.
Plot: Caro had her future all outlined, she would inherit the family boat and live her days on the river like a true wherryman. Her plans went to hell when she was forced to deliver a package to a neighboring kingdom and deal with a boy who clearly had never set foot on a boat. Unexpectedly, Caro found herself with unlikely allies and a key player in a political scheme.
I don't know how to start this review. I have written words and deleted words multiple times and looked up synonyms for "great." No matter what I say, it won't truly describe how much I loved this book. From the start, you could tell that Song of the Current was going to be a non-stop adventure. The plot is your basic political betrayal, but it pulled from a lot of other happenings in the Song of the Current world which I'm eagerly awaiting to learn more about in the sequel.
Characters: Be still my heart; Caro was everything and I wanted and more. Raised by her father, Caroline wasn't afraid to get down and dirty and would do anything to protect her home. She was headstrong, fearless, and unsure of her place in life. I loved her because she thought that she was destined for a quiet river life and saw herself as a "sidekick" in someone else's story.
Caro was also biracial and I found it really interesting how Tolcser handled race relations in this fantasy world. I recommend checking out this blog post the author wrote before reading Song of the Current, because it's great insight into Tolcser's intentions and hopes for Caro's portrayal.
Okay enough of that, can we talk about the kissing? Because the kissing, it killed me guys! The romance was my all-time favorite trope of "enemies-to-lovers" and those two were at each other's throats 90% of the time. The banter was witty and had me laughing out loud at times, and I absolutely adored how the author wrote their journey to each other and her subtle thoughts on love and attraction.
Worldbuilding: Sarah Tolcser wrote one of the most authentic fantasy worlds I've seen in a while. Tolcser clearly had a deep love for life on water and her passion for it spilled onto the pages. She incorporated regional dialects, traditions, and local mythologies. Song of the Current took place mostly on water but it never felt limiting. I grew to love wherryman life and easily fell into Caro's day to day motions on the river.
Short N Sweet: Song of the Current took my breath away with Caro's sass and the beauty of the river lands. This is a series I'll be talking about for a long time.
Sometimes I hate leaving bad reviews even though I am being completely honest in how I feel about a book. I truly feel bad giving this story such a pitiful amount of stars because I really wanted to like this book--but try as I might, I just couldn't get into it.
At first I was totally invested in the story. It starts off engaging and there's enough going on to activate your suspension of disbelief and slide seamlessly into the world that Sarah unveils. The excitement only continues to climb at the rapid turn of events the protagonist has to face and then we get to the part where she opens the forbidden box! Ooh I was so excited for this blossoming opportunity for a hate-to-love romance between Caro and this young mystery man. It was all going along so smoothly until it just fizzled out and died.
As it turns out, the young man in the box turns out to be an utter buffoon who is wet behind the ears and is as clueless as a newborn babe. For someone who has such a big role to play in the story (I don't want to give out any spoilers) and considering his background, you would think he would be a bit more world-wise and intelligent and just have an air of manliness about him--but no, that is so entirely not the case. He constantly has one foot in his mouth, and the other tripping over the ropes. So not attractive in a male hero :( Granted, his circumstances are dire enough that we can excuse some of his ghastly behavior, but it doesn't take away from the overall effect of his bumbling character.
The other thing that left me feeling jarred was the pacing of some of the scenes in the story. Take, for example, said male buffoon-boy trying to kiss Caro literally out of nowhere with no preamble leading up to this scene whatsoever. It was all hate and angst and annoyance (which were actually working in favor of their hate-to-love relationship opportunity) when all of a sudden he just tries to plant one on the heroine and she pulls a knife on him whilst wrapped in a towel. It left me feeling with whiplash because it was so incongruent and unexpected. The author didn't even let them work toward this scene, so there was absolutely no excitement whatsoever, just confusion. You kind of start to hate the boy even though you are technically supposed to feel sorry for him.
Anyway, even after this awkward attempted kissing scene (which happens really early on in the story) I still decided to push through and give it a chance. But around the 35% mark I had to admit defeat as I felt like I was slogging through the story and I dislike when reading starts to feel like a chore. Sorry Sarah :( It was a good premise, but I guess I am just not into awkward man-babies.
What I like the most is that our heroine Caro isn’t perfect. She is flawed, unsure at times and will do what she needs to for her family. She doesn’t beat around the bush about her loyalty to her dad or her feelings to those who try to stop her from helping her father. She is strong and yet vulnerable. Stubborn and yet willing to listen when needed. She has fears and yet she doesn’t show them to others out of a fear they will not see her as who she is. And she so wants the gods of the river water to welcome her. Only to me from the beginning this wasn’t her destiny. I felt she was meant for bigger waters and it was those waters that would call to her. She was meant to forge new adventures and help be a force to change things and be a force to reckon with in her own way. She was loyal and kind as well.
Caro didn’t want to be thrust into the head of a mission so fast. But she had to for her father and this changes her life in so many ways. She is forced to face her fears and welcome them. Not only welcome them but overcome them as well. Face danger and politics she never wanted to be thrust into and decide what is right and wrong and make decisions accordingly. She finds love and friendship as well. I loved watching her adventure down the river for she learns about herself and the world around her. She learns trust herself and her instincts and she finds friendship and support in the least likely place.
When I first met Markos on the page I growled. He acted like a boob. A wee bit arrogant at times but as he got to know Caro, he morphed. He became less sharp and more edgy. What I did love from the start was his love for his family and how he would sacrifice to keep them safe. He grew on me and I fell in love with him. The plot and danger surrounding him was delicious and wonderful. Seeing his world change and how he adapts and trusts Caro is great. Watching them learn to trust and support one another was wonderful. Seeing them fall in love amazing.
The plot was twisty and danger filled. Fun and entertaining with the banter and antics between Markos and Caro. Serious and edgy with the Caro and her saving her dad deal, Markos and his family and political situation, Caro and where she fits into all that and the navigating of not only the waters but their doubts and fears was great. The story keeps you smiling and also on the edge of your seat as you watch these two grow and wade through dangerous situations together and find their way to one working together and to one another as they find successes and learn from mistakes. A great story and can’t wait for more.
What do you do when your destiny is bigger than you were told?
Caro has always been told that the river god will call for her when she is ready. She has been straining to hear the call for as long as she can remember. Caro decides to take her destiny into her own hands and takes on her father’s job to transport cargo in exchange for her father’s freedom. Caro was given strict rules to dealing with the cargo she was in charge of, and like any normal human with a sense of curiosity she opens the crate and Hello story.
Caro is such a great character, she is strong and independent, she seems to have a good head on her shoulders and she doesn't take crap from anyone. She is determined to get this cargo delivered to its destination, despite pirates trying to hunt her down for what is on her ship. She is quick thinking and sharp witted when it comes to dodging them.
There is magic in this book, but it’s not overly saturated, it is it used just in a way that helps tell the story but not so much that it takes away from Caro.
Family is of key importance in this book; Caro is willing to take on this dangerous shipment to save her father. Her mother is not so much a part of this book until later on. She is very focused on her job, but is still there to help Caro when she needs it.
My only issue was with all the ship terms that were used in the book, I think it would have been a bit helpful if there was a glossary in the back to help those of us don't have our sea legs.
I cannot wait to see what adventures Caro has ahead of her in the next book.
I'm torn. There were some parts that were so amazing I couldn't stop reading, and parts so intense with sailing terminology or dialogue that they were hard to pass through. I felt like some of the sailing terminology was used over and over and over, or explained multiple times, to where I felt like slogging through a sailing dictionary.
HOWEVER, for a YA fantasy, this was a good read, and there's a lot I appreciated. 1. No love triangle. One solid love interest, it wasn't love at first site, and she didn't live to impress him. She also didn't make bad decisions for him, something YA fantasy girls tend to do as soon as their hormones kick in. 2. Caro is so confident in who she is, despite of her family, and who they want her to be. Of course she has insecurities, but overall she knows she belongs to the water. 3. I didn't feel like this was so much a story of a chosen one who saves the world. She has a team, she relies on the strength of others, she nurtures and appreciates the strengths of others, and her final *gift* is something she's aware could happen. 4. The romance was limited and it wasn't all butterflies and drawn on. The attraction was limited and didn't control her thoughts. And when they did get together near the end, it wasn't something the lead girl was ashamed of. Her parents also didn't shame her, or warn her, or anything else. It's one of the first I've read where the love scene is treated with responsibility and not underlying currents of shame. 5. There's magic, but it's not the focal point. It's just there, it's just a way of life, you have it or you don't, you use it or you don't, life moves on.
YA Fantasy is my guilty pleasure, something I read to break up non-fiction and thick literary novels, and I love that they tend to feature strong female leads. Lately, I've felt a little burnt out, like I was reading the same book over and over and over again. YA has felt like someone put out an outline for what makes a strong YA book, and authors simply plugged their characters, plots, and actions in to a formula.
I felt like Songs of the Current slightly broke this, not as formulaic, and while it was still a little predictable to where no tropes where turned on their head, the full read didn't feel too sloggy. But I wonder if all of the terminology was removed, where would the fluff and fill come from? How could the author have created a stronger story by cutting an easy 10k in explanations? That's what I'd be interested in, maybe giving some more depth.