Friday, June 8, 2018

Book Review: Sweet Black Waves

Title: Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1)
Author: Kristina Perez
Genre: Young Adult | Retelling | Romance
Publisher: Imprint

Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC

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 (goodreads)

Sweet Black Waves was a romance that did not live up to my expectations. 
Plot: I have not read Tristan and Eseult so I may have not been the target audience for this book. I have; however, seen the movie and I remember not really liking it. But I digress.

At the very heart of it, Sweet Black Waves was a romance with the introduction to warring kingdoms in the background. Branwen was the lady-in-waiting to her only cousin, Essy. With her budding skill as a healer, she felt compelled to treat a young man who was separated from his people, and coincidentally, her enemy. Looking back on this book, there wasn't a lot that happened that didn't involve the romance and I was surprised by easily the conflict between the two warring kingdoms was resolved. I will say that the ending took a surprising turn that had me curious about the direction the sequel will go in. 

Characters: Branwen was a fine female lead, she was unsure of herself and desperate to serve her kingdom. What made her interesting was her magical powers and her lack of control over them. I also liked Branwen's relationship with Essy. There was a clear power dynamic and I was curious about how Branwen would respond to some of the situations Essy's put her in. I believe that there was a bit of discussion on mental illness but it was very minor and not specific. 

And then we have Tristan who was one of the dullest male leads I've had the misfortune of reading about. His purpose served to only flirt with Branwen and confess his love to her every other page, mind you, they barely knew each other. I could tell that the insta-love attraction wasn't going to be my cup of tea from Tristan's first introduction, in which he decided to flirt with Branwen, the random woman who found him washed ashore and hid him in a cave. Since the book was mostly about their relationship, I couldn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. 

Worldbuilding: The atmosphere of Sweet Black Waves was enchanting and showed off Perez's talent as an author. There was a bit of magic that was introduced that I wanted to learn more about; I'm assuming that the sequel will highlight more of the mythology and Branwen's ties to it. 

Short N Sweet: Sweet Black Waves was the insta-love story that I wasn't sold on. 


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