Book Review: The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

dark tideThe Dark Tide

Author: Alicia Jasinska
Series: The Dark Tide, book 1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (August 4, 2020)
Hardcover, 336 pages
YA Fantasy, Fairy tale retellings, LGBTQIA

Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.

Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.

Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.

When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.

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The Dark Tide took me a little bit to get into the story, but once it pulled me in it REALLY pulled me in hard. The storytelling is gorgeous, and I adore the world-building. I love a well-written fantasy with a strong romantic subplot, the The Dark Tide really delivers. It’s got a definite Beauty & the Beast vibe, and clearly borrows heavily from the story of Tam Lin. I’m also forever here for any romance that involved the villain of the story as a main character, especially if they’re a romantic lead.

The unfolding of the relationship between Eva and Lina is really great – it’s so awkward and they’re both kind of like “What the heck is going on here?” about it. I do wish we’d gotten a little more time and detail devoted to the development of their relationship, but that’s the romance reader in me. The world in which they move through and manipulate is so darkly beautiful, and I love the vibrant visuals Alicia Jasinska paints of this drowning city being slowly swallowed by the dark tide.

I was surprised to see that The Dark Tide is Alicia Jasinska’s debut novel. I’ll definitely be looking forward to more from this author!

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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