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Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.
Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.
From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Sarah Tolcser’s debut novel wasn’t on my radar until Amber-Elise mentioned loving it, and I’m so glad that she talked about the book, because this book is one of the best historical YA fantasy books that I’ve read in a long time. It’s been a while since I’ve been THIS invested in a new series, and a new cast, so I’m thankful beyond words to this author and Song of the Current for that.
Any time a book mentions pirates, sailing, and the ocean, I’m 100% in. I got out of this exactly what that blurb promises. Song of the Current was fun from beginning to end, and it’s a story that’s hard to put down because of how compelling it is. There’s a lot of great things going on here, so I’ll talk a bit about all the elements that worked for me. First off the world building. It was stunning. Tolcser managed to craft a fantasy world that bears familiar elements, but is still unique in many aspects. I think one of my concerns going into any YA fantasy is that the world is difficult to picture because of info-dumping, but that wasn’t the case here. The author builds the world foundation by foundation, and slowly introduces us to the history, culture, and magical beings inhabiting her world. I particularly enjoyed the different cultures and the different people in the world, and I’m looking forward to learning more about them in the next book. I also liked how adventurous the book was. Like I said, it was a fun book, and Sarah Tolcser weaved together a pretty addicting story in Song of the Current.
The story wouldn’t have been great had it not been for its terrific biracial (WOO) heroine. Caro was sassy, brave, strong and mouthy – just the kind of heroine this book needed. She was quite the blast, and I enjoyed what a firecracker she was. She wouldn’t bow down to others, and she did not let anyone boss her around. She’s not perfect though, and along the way, she stumbles and makes mistakes. But Caro also undergoes a lot of growth as she goes on this journey to deliver the special cargo, across the ocean. I love that she was a character who was willing to learn from her mistakes. I think that’s what made her infinitely more attractive as a heroine. Tarquin, who at first I wasn’t sure I could trust, also managed to sweep me off my feet by the end. He’s a bit more uptight and proper compared to Caro, and they butt heads a lot in the beginning, but they also grow to become very fond of each other.
The romance here between the two was an enemies-to-lover romance, and it was exactly the way I like my hate-to-love romance, not too acerbic. The build-up to the kissing scenes especially was fantastic, and you bet, I was giddy with the swoons when it came to the chemistry between Caro and Tarquin. I loved how they made each other better through their relationship. I also have to give major props to Sarah Tolcser for the detailed conversation about consent, and what has to be the most consenty (not a word, I know), love scene I have ever come across in YA book. These conversations are so important, and I wish we’d see more of them in YA.
OK. I think I’ve rambled enough about my love for Song of the Current. I know that there are many books out this month, but do yourself a favor, and add it to your TBR. It’s a whole lot of fun, has an A+ cast, and the romance is swoony as heck. What more can you ask of from a fantasy book? 🙂