Book Review: Song of the Current

35477920Rating Four Star

Title: Song of the Current

Author: Sarah Tolcser

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Song of the Current is a beautiful dedication to the miracles of small things, the magic of voyages, and the infinite potential out on the open ocean. The writing conveys beautiful and vivid imageries, and I loved the interplay between swashbuckling privateer action and the subtle influences of magic.

Song of the Current.png

Caro dreams of one day hearing the whispers of the god at the bottom of the river, an event that will seal her fate as the next captain of Cormorant – the Oresteia family’s wherry. The river god speaks in the language of tides and reeds, and his words remain elusive to Caro. Events at the start of the book incapacitates Caro’s father, and forces her to embark on a new adventure and find destiny among the river currents and beyond.

There is so much to love about Song of the Current, but top of my list is our gutsy protagonist, Caro. I adore ambitious protagonists who drive their story forward, and Caro is constantly propelling the plot with her questions and her actions. Her no-nonsense attitude towards mansplaining, whether it be from figures of authority or potential love interests, had me cheering several times. She’s not without faults, often acting rashly and out of preconceived notions – but she’s a character that’s dynamic and constantly growing throughout the book. I also loved Caro’s conflict between her loyalty to her father and the Cormorant, and the temptation of the open ocean and a life beyond the one she has dreamed up.

I also loved the multitude of prominent female characters within the novel. My favourite is Caro’s Ma, she’s calculating and ambitious – and like Caro she refuses to fit into a mould. I also adored Fee, the frogman who helps Caro in navigating the riverlands by using her superior senses. There’s an immediate camaraderie amongst the female characters within this novel, and I loved all the mutual respect we see between the ladies within the novel.

Speaking of characters, I also enjoyed the development of Tarquin’s character throughout the novel. Hate-to-love romantic trope, along with all of its accompanying bantering, will always be a weakness of mine. The chemistry between Caro and Tarquin was palpable from the beginning, whether she’s threatening him with her pistol or sharing a more intimate moment. I also loved how the novel addressed the issue of consent, something that’s often dismissed in other YA romances (I curse the stolen kisses trope!). Caro and Tarquin’s relationship forced then to confront their individual prejudices and we could see them grow individually through their developing bond.

The world building in this novel is a little bit of a mixed-bag. I was most impressed with the details that went into describing the mechanics of ships and sails, and while a lot of it went over my head – I could see that the author truly loved ships and sea adventures. I enjoyed the hint of the wider world beyond, even though most of our adventures strictly took place on water during this novel. There’s plenty of political manoeuvrings within the novel, but the motivations and characterisation of the villains were decidedly one-note. Similarly, while there were plenty of glimpses of magic, we never got to see it in action. The ending of the novel leaves me hope that there will be more of this world for us to discover within the next instalment.

If you’re looking for an entertaining fantasy filled with vibrant characters, this is definitely the book for you. There are few other YA fantasy that manages to incorporate ships and pirates in such a bold and captivating manner.

15 thoughts on “Book Review: Song of the Current

  1. Ahh I’m so glad you love it too! I TOTALLY agree about Caro. She was amazing. ❤️ And I was also super impressed with how the romance was handled and shipped (HAHAH ahem..) them so much, but it was great that Markos got put in his place a lot. :’) Also the smuggling and the ships and the river gods and the magic and the guns were just so fantastic. 😍

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  2. Hi Aentee! I’ve never heard about this book before (shamely) but thanks for putting it on my radar now! I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy and this book seems right up my alley, especially from the sound of the protagonist and the romance. Hate-to-love is one of my favorite type of romance actually (because they induce some witty banters haha!) but I certainly hope that the romance won’t overshadow the plot.

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  3. Hell, yes! I’m glad to see this book get the love it deserved. It was really impressive. I adored Caro. And her mom! She was so unexpected, but I really loved her. I’m weak for hate-to-love romances too, so I was all over this one. I’m really excited to read the next book AND it’s a duology!
    Glad you loved this one, Aentee!

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  4. I need more fantasies like this one! Yes to hate-to-love romances, as well as characters discussing content *shouts triumphantly into the void* Caro’s attitude and personality was also a bright star in the book. I loved seeing the family dynamics between her dad and mom! I thought they were so sweet omg.

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  5. That is such a beautiful cover. Seriously might be one of my fave covers of the year so far. And I like the idea of the river god and the pirates, and them confronting their preconceived ideas. Sounds like great character development. Even with the somewhat one- note villains, this one definitely sounds like a keeper. I’ll have to add this one!

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  6. WHAT. This has pirates? I had no idea! Sadly I haven’t had much luck with fantasy novels about pirates/swashbuckling action – they hardly ever live up to their potential, imo – but this sounds all kinds of promising. I love a gutsy heroine too, and Caro seems like a sure winner in that regard. One-note villains give me pause but everything else sounds great!

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  7. Excellent! I follow this author on twitter and she seems great, and I love the premise of this book. I’m madly in love with sea books (particularly right now as I am v. obsessed with sea show Black Sails) and super can’t wait to read this.

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  8. That is a beautiful cover, seriously. I’ve never heard of this author, so I’m looking forward to finding out more. I love that there’s a real family in here. So often in YA that’s not the case and it makes me a little sad.

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  9. Yay for the gutsy female characters, I feel like that fits the pirate theme well! Wow, it seems like there’s a lot of errr, navel lingo in this one. Sounds like a unique book though, I’m looking forward to picking it up!

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