What: These Divided Shores (Stream Raiders #2) by Sara Raasch
Who: Balzer + Bray
When: August 27th 2019
How: A copy of this novel was provided by HarperCollins for review via Edelweiss.
The thrilling sequel to These Rebel Waves—full of deadly magic, double crosses, and a revolution—from Sara Raasch, the bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes series.
As a child, she committed unforgivable acts to free Grace Loray from King Elazar of Argrid. Now Elazar’s plan to retake the island has surpassed Lu’s darkest fears: he’s holding her and his son, Ben, captive in an endlessly shifting prison, forcing them to make a weapon that will guarantee Elazar’s success. Escape is impossible—unless Lu becomes the ruthless soldier she hoped never to be again.
Vex failed to save Lu and Ben—and that torments him as much as his Shaking Sickness. With the disease worsening, Vex throws himself into the rebellion against Argrid. The remaining free armies are allied with the stream raider syndicates—and getting them to cooperate will take a strength Vex thought burned on a pyre six years ago.
Imprisoned, betrayed, and heartbroken, Ben is determined to end his father’s rampage. Watching Elazar sway the minds of Grace Loray as he did those of Argrid, Ben knows he has to play his father’s game of devotion to win this war. But how can a heretic prince defeat the Pious God?
As armies clash and magic rises, Lu, Vex, and Ben will confront their pasts . . . or lose their futures forever.
Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of These Rebel Waves, the ending of the book had me keen to dive into the sequel. The stakes were higher, the characters were more interesting, and the relationships were building. So when I requested These Divided Shores I was actually excited to get reading. Alas, the story fell into the same pattern as the first, with the majority of the book plodding along with slow plot execution and far too much back and forth from the characters about the same things. In the end, These Divided Shores didn’t deliver like I thought it would.
I think one of the reasons why I’m not the hugest fan of this series is that, even though it’s a fantasy story with magical elements, so much of the conflict is based in religion. It’s not that I have anything against religion it’s just that I found it a bit overwhelming and also disengaging for me as a reader. Also, all the burning at the stakes and torture and purifying just… didn’t sit well with me.
The thing I was most looking forward to in These Divided Shores was the relationship development between the two romantic couples – Vex and Lu, and Ben and Gunnar. These relationships were the things I was invested in the most out of everything in the first book. And to see them blossom just at the end of These Rebel Waves got my romantic side all excited for These Divided Shores. Alas… the romance that I had been so keen for didn’t really deliver. There certainly were romantic moments, but for the most part Vex and Lu were either not physically near each other or they were fighting. As for Ben and Gunnar, they were friends for the most part and were only romantically involved towards the end. I wanted more romance!! And I’m disappointed that I didn’t get it from either of the couples.
One of the things that stood out to me the most in These Divided Shores was the change in Lu. And I completely get that she went through some horrible shit in this book and during her childhood, but I could hardly reconcile her character in this book and her character in These Rebel Waves. I need some connection between the two to make the character changes seem real. But there was such a jump between Lu of the first book and Lu of the second book that I was narrowing my eyes at the pages because I found it all a bit too unbelievable. Luckily, Lu found herself again but even that seemed to be a bit much after how much she had changed at the start of the story.
The ending of These Divided Shores seemed rushed to me, which makes no sense considering how the plot plodded along with no discernible direction for 90% of the book. I was honestly left wondering if it was going to be one of those books where a huge thing goes down and then you’re just left to guess for yourself what happened after that. There was a bit of that in These Divided Shores, but there was also a hasty epilogue that attempted to tie all the loose ends together. To be honest, I would have preferred a more fleshed out ending after having pushed myself through the two books in this series but it is what it is.
All in all, neither These Rebel Waves nor These Divided Shores were my kind of book. There were elements in both that I enjoyed, but I can already tell that this story will be one that gradually fades from my mind as time goes on.
© 2019, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning Reference to torture (loss of eye, medical experiments), torture (whipping, cutting, mind manipulation), murder of father, war themes (civil unrest/revolution), reference to child abuse, religious-based discrimination, physical assault, kidnapping, inhumane experimentation, colonisation themes, multiple murders, murder of a friend, character with chronic illness, imprisonment, use of ableist language, fire, explosions
Reference to torture (loss of eye, medical experiments), torture (whipping, cutting, mind manipulation), murder of father, war themes (civil unrest/revolution), reference to child abuse, religious-based discrimination, physical assault, kidnapping, inhumane experimentation, colonisation themes, multiple murders, murder of a friend, character with chronic illness, imprisonment, use of ableist language, fire, explosions