One of my most anticipated books of June 2018, Sweet Black Waves was a book that I found rather difficult to get my hands on.
My local bookstore wasn’t carrying it and I wasn’t going to order it through said bookstore only to have to wait for an undisclosed amount of weeks, so I instead gambled with having it delivered by Amazon.
Was Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez worth the wait? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
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Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina Pérez
Publisher: Imprint (June 5, 2018)
Print Length: 448 pages
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.
Sweet Black Waves was a gorgeous YA debut from an author who has used her PhD in Medieval Literature from the University of Cambridge in her favour, shaming me for not utilizing my degree to its fullest potential.
Sweet Black Waves is the fantastical retelling of the Tristan & Iseult that follows Branwen, lady-in waiting to her cousin, Princess Essy, as she realizes there is a fine line between love and hate after falling and caring for an injured Kernyvak poet, Tantris.
I did have to study the tale of Tristan & Iseult in all its original medieval English glory during my undergrad so I had a very firm basis of the legend going into Sweet Black Waves. However, I didn’t find myself regretting having this knowledge, and instead probably enjoyed myself more so because of it. Furthermore, even though it was a retelling I felt that Pérez made the story her own. While the beginning of the novel was a little slow, I found myself eventually falling into an enjoyable rhythm with Pérez’s lyrical and descriptive writing style. Furthermore, I really appreciated that though there was a magical element to the story, it was only the groundworks to what is to come in future instalments.
Branwen was a delight to read about. Her sense of duty to her Queen, cousin, and country was the sort of loyalty that should be prevalent in more YA heroines. While she is initially introduced as the ‘good girl’, always following the rules, she has a wild side that is explored through her falling in love with an enemy of her country, her distain for a royal guardsman, and her growing knowledge of healing and magic. The relationships between Branwen and Essy, Branwen and Queen Eseult, and Branwen and Tantris were equally enjoyable to read about. Each were distinct in the nature of the relationship but yet somewhat similar in how Branwen chose to treat each of them. As with everyone else, I did not like Essy on her own, she was selfish, spoiled, and more than a bit whinny. But I suppose that was her purpose within the narrative, to be the opposite of who Branwen was.
The only reason I couldn’t give this book all of the stars is because I, shamelessly, couldn’t get behind that ending. It makes me sad to think that I have to wait until Wild Savage Stars (Sweet Black Waves #2) is published in August 2019 to get resolution for that cliffhanger.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina Pérez. Have any fantastical retelling recommendations? Leave your recommendation below and help my TBR grow.