Title: Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1)
Author: Kristina Pérez (Debut novel)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 5, 2018 from Imprint
Format: Kindle ARC
Goodreads Synosis: 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.
*I got this from NetGalley for free through a “be one of the first 200 people to read now” promotion. But I treat these like regular ARC reviews, so all thoughts are my own*
DNF @ 35%
When I saw that this was a Tristan and Eseult retelling, it sounded interesting. But this is another new release that didn’t click with me at all. After reading approximately 160 pages, I had to put it down.
The first reason this book didn’t work for me was the writing. It was too simple and I also felt like it told instead of showing which is a pet peeve of mine. While it’s written in third person, it felt like first person POV which isn’t my thing. We were told every single thing Branwen was thinking as we follow her and I always think that’s boring. Why not leave some things up to the imagination? When you’re told everything the main character goes through gives them no room to be interesting or surprise you. This book is also very dialogue heavy and not much action happening. The “romantic” dialogue never grabbed me or seemed like it was actually romantic or swoony.
The next reason I didn’t connect with the book was the bland characters. Branwen has a tragic past and has a good life at the castle, but she’s not very interesting. She doesn’t believe in the Old Ways, which is the superstition of the magic. But then when a few things make her question, she immediately goes against years of not believing and starts becoming superstitious herself which didn’t make sense to me. The love interest Tristan also didn’t have much of a personality. He felt a bit unrealistic with how romantic he was towards Branwen. I never cared for their romance and the dialogue made everything seem super dramatic.
The final thing that made me DNF this book was the pacing. After reading approximately 160 pages, not much had happened. A lot of walking around, talking and sappy romantic dialogue between the lover characters. There’s mention of a couple magical elements that would take more presence later, but they felt swept under the rug and the world felt kinda bland as well. With over 100 pages of talking, angst and a couple scenes with beheading, I never felt motivated to continue. I would possibly read this in the future, but right now, it couldn’t keep my attention. I gave it no rating, but I would give it 2 stars on NetGalley.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? Are you excited for it?