Title: Sweet Black Waves
Author: Kristina Pérez
Series: Sweet Black Waves #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retelling
Publication date: June 5th, 2018
Not you without me, not me without you.
Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.
As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.
Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.
“At the center of her fragmented dreams was love, Always love. A pair of lovers intertwined until they shared the same heart: their faces blackened, ashen. The tide pulled them out into the Ivernic Sea.”
Well… get ready for a pretty unpopular opinion, because I didn’t like this book. I think the premise sounded amazing, and being the fact that it was a retelling of Tristan and Eseult made me want to pick it up even sooner (because hell, I’ve never read a retelling of that tale!), but it ended up being a complete disappointment to me.
I don’t know if it was because I went with pretty high expectations or what, but I was so let down by the story and those characters. The story started being quite interesting and okay, and it peeked my interesting as soon as I started reading, but it went completely downhills as I kept reading it. The world building was super confusing and I feel nothing about the magic system or the world in general was actually explain, and that made the whole reading experience a bit tougher for me.
I think what I read about the magic system was interesting enough, but it would have been much better had I know more about everything that was going on, which I didn’t. It was so focused on the romance and the traveling aspect of the novel that I hardly got any information I was looking for, which was so sad and disappointing.
“It was her duty to prevent this—to protect Iveriu at all costs. Otherwise, all that would remain of her beloved homeland was ash floating on a starless tide.”
One of the things I didn’t like about the book was the cast of characters. I completely disliked the main character. She was so bland and plain and sometimes did the oddest and most annoying things that it was so hard for me to connect with her. Her relationships with the other characters were hardly there, and her development was just not what I wanted to see. There were some things that she was doing that made me want to throw the book to a wall.
Another character that I COMPLETELY disliked was Branwen’s cousin, Eseult. She was such an annoying and manipulative brat that claimed she loved her but then later treated her like a servant. And I totally could understand that she was upset because everything that was going on in the story, but that didn’t explained her behavior towards her cousin or everything she did in the story.
The romance, which was one of the most important parts of the novel, was so bland and insta lovey. And I totally get that in the original legend they were supposed to be star crossed lovers yada, yada, yada, but this was so unrealistic that I was shaking my head the entire time. Basically they changed from enemies to lovers in page 25, and the rest of the book was relationship drama. Nope, thank you.
Overall, it was a very anticlimactic story, and I had such high expectations that were just crushed in the ground. I don’t think I’ll be continuing with the rest of the series, because I wasn’t impressed in this first installment.
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