These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
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.
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
Stream Raiders Series #1
Expected publication: August 7th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy
Hardcover, 480 pages
My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
First in a planned duology, Sara Raasch's YA fantasy-adventure novel THESE REBEL WAVES is filled with forbidden magic, intrigue, rebellion, and strong religious overtones.
When I picked up THESE REBEL WAVES, I was hoping for an exciting new fantasy series—one full of adventure on the seas, deadly magic based on plants, intrigue, and possibly some swoony romance—all set in a vivid new world with compelling characters to love.
Overall, my reading experience was different from expected and I struggled to finish These Rebel Waves.
I found the idea of the premise fascinating and wanted to love the book, but I just did not connect to the characters and the writing felt lackluster, while the sub-plot of an over-zealous religious group left me feeling overwhelmed.
Told from three POV characters, the story follows three teenagers, Lu, Vex, and Ben, each from very different backgrounds, caught in the middle of a rising revolution. Each faces personal hardships and challenges while questioning the validity of their beliefs.
Although I understood and enjoyed the message of not blindly following an idea or belief, and I admired how each struggled to find their voice and grew in character, I just never became emotionally invested in them like I had hoped.
The use of third-person narration ended up feeling dry and left me without any real feeling of connection.
Especially when it came to the romances which are straightforward with no triangles but lacked emotional build-up and tension I usually like. There just wasn't any real spark for me.
I was really excited to experience the adventure-on-sea part and discovering more about the magic based on herbology.
Readers, we do get both but, unfortunately, it comes around the 60% mark. The majority of the story takes place on land with rebellion and political and religious intrigue in favor over water and pirating adventure.
What magic there was, I found completely fascinating.
It's a sort of green magic, one based on herbology, where tinctures and strange elixirs are made to fight off certain ailments (shaking sickness) and then there are others who carry magic permanently, though this aspect was never really fully explored and left me confused.
In the End
There are definitely some positive aspects to the story, but on the whole, the book just was not suited for me. The use of third-person narration, the overall lack of maritime adventure, and the emphasis on an over-zealous religion just did not work for me.