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What: These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1) by Sara Raasch

Who: Balzer + Bray

When: August 7th 2018

How: A copy of this novel was provided by HarperCollins for review via Edelweiss.

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

Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Agrid, 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 dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he scavenges 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.

When I found out about These Rebel Waves, I was ecstatic. I love pirate stories, I love queer stories, and it had been said that These Rebel Waves was going to be a queer pirate story. Which leads me to the first point on the list of things you need to know about These Rebel Waves:

1) This is not about gay or queer pirates

I know. Weep with me, my friends. There is a queer character in These Rebel Waves, and a pirate-ish character, but these two do not intersect. So I’m still waiting for my queer pirate story, which is incredibly sad because I wanted this one to be it. Alas.

2) There are info-dumps galore

The info-dumping in These Rebel Waves starts from practically the first page, and it doesn’t end until, well, the end. And to be honest, I could have done without most of the information I was given. All I really needed to know was that this island, Grace Loray, was once invaded by a country called Argrid. The people living on Grace Loray consisted or Argridian immigrants, immigrants from other countries, and a handful of raider syndicates. A few years ago they all joined forces to rid the island of Argrid’s control. They succeeded. But now Argrid has some evil plans to get back to being horrible on Grace Loray.

And that’s it. But instead there was so much information that really wasn’t integral to getting the plot of the book across. Sure, add some interesting and character-related information here and there, but don’t write the entire history of the island and Argrid into the book because it’s just going to bore people.

3) There’s no queer discrimination

Because most of the plot hinges on Argirdian’s religious culture discriminating against other cultures and peoples, I was worried that queerness would fall under their “sins” and therefore I’d be reading yet another story where being queer is not okay and accepted. So it came as a nice surprise that queerness was accepted in this book, even by the horrible Argridians. I will say, though, that sex before marriage was a sin and that the main queer couple viewed themselves as sinners/sinning for doing this.

4) The three POV characters are… pretty indistinguishable

Two of the three POV characters are with each other for almost the entire book. And I cannot tell you how many times I had no idea whose POV it was, especially since the chapters were not dedicated to characters and it would swap between the two in the same scene. Not being able to tell the difference between two POV characters is something that really gets to me because instead of concentrating on what’s happening I’m spending half of my time just trying to figure out who is narrating.

The only reason why the third POV character was distinguishable is because his chapters were so different from the other two. He was in a different place, doing different things, and around different people. Otherwise, I fear the three of them would have melded into one indistinguishable character.

5) There’s not much romance

Benat, the prince, has a boyfriend, but to be honest there’s not a lot of romantic page time between them. And besides, I ship Ben with someone else *sunglasses emoji*

As for Lu and Vex, there’s definitely romantic tension from the beginning but it’s never really acted upon by either of them. Which I found refreshing because they are on a mission!! And romance doesn’t have to be the first priority in your life!! I’m still keen to see where their relationship goes because it was made clear that they care about each other a lot, and I’d love to see if/when/how it develops.

6) The book really starts at about 75%

The first 75% or so is just like one massive introduction to the story. That wasn’t necessarily needed in my opinion but whatever. To be honest, if the whole book had the pacing and emotional depth that the last 75% had it would have been a much better book.

7) Despite not loving These Rebel Waves, I’m going to read the sequel

Because like I said in #6, that last 75% was good. And I’m hoping the entire second book might be that good since all the info-dumping has already happened. Also, I want to see if my ships sail.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

Reference to torture (loss of eye, branding, medical experiments), murder of uncle and cousin (burned at the stake), war themes (civil unrest/revolution), reference to domestic violence, child soldiers, religious-based discrimination, physical assault, kidnapping, inhumane experimentation, colonisation themes, reference to multiple murders, death of a friend (due to illness), character with incurable illness, imprisonment

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Posted on: August 7, 2018 • By: Chiara

8 Responses to These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch: Not About Gay Pirates

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