- Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-299-4 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-300-7 $12.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-12
At the start of this sequel to Song of the Current (BCCB 5/17), seventeen-year-old Caroline Oresteia—privateer captain of the Vix and favorite of the sea god—finds herself torn between her desire for adventure and her love for Markos Andela, whose claim to the throne of Akhaia has placed him at the forefront of a revolution. Dodging assassination attempts while trying to drum up support for the younger son of a deposed Emparch has turned out to be surprisingly boring, though, and Caro and Markos are soon faced with a difficult choice when an Akhaian noble offers Markos an army in exchange for Markos’ marrying his daughter. This star-crossed-lovers setup veers swiftly off its expected course when the sea god punishes Caro for her loyalty to Markos by marooning her on a remote island, where she has to forge a shaky alliance with an old enemy to get back home. Mixed-race Caro heads up a diverse cast of pirates, revolutionaries, assassins, and traitors, and her world grows in depth and complexity as this volume takes her beyond the slow-moving [End Page 449] rivers where she grew up. As in Song of the Current, Tolcser deftly weaves together romance, family, and politics, with a swashbuckling adventure full of twists and turns, narrated in Caro’s distinctive and forceful voice. Fate plays a strong thematic role, as Caro fights to take control of hers and realizes along the way how her assumptions had blinded her to Markos’ desire for freedom from his own stifling obligations. A secondary theme explores possibilities for—and limits to—redemption and forgiveness. All the major plotlines are resolved in the nail-biting final act, but Tolcser drops a few enticing breadcrumbs to be picked up in likely sequels.