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These Rebel Waves

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Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work. Devereux Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work. Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war. Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre. As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.


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Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work. Devereux Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work. Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war. Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre. As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.

30 review for These Rebel Waves

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    I think perhaps Sara Raasch is just not for me. Though her books always sound compelling, I once again find myself distanced from the story by the writing, unattached to the characters, and generally apathetic towards whatever was going on. Sorry to disappoint, but the rumours of gay pirates in These Rebel Waves are false. I guess this will continue to be where I get my gay pirate fix (CW: homophobia, mention of rape). It's not the author's fault; Raasch only ever promised gay romances - of which I think perhaps Sara Raasch is just not for me. Though her books always sound compelling, I once again find myself distanced from the story by the writing, unattached to the characters, and generally apathetic towards whatever was going on. Sorry to disappoint, but the rumours of gay pirates in These Rebel Waves are false. I guess this will continue to be where I get my gay pirate fix (CW: homophobia, mention of rape). It's not the author's fault; Raasch only ever promised gay romances - of which there are two, both m/m and f/f. The aforementioned pirate is straight. The problem is I just found These Rebel Waves rather dry. There are three third-person perspectives and every single one left me cold; perhaps a first-person perspective would have generated some more emotion(?) Adeluna "Lu" is a soldier on the island of Grace Loray; Benat "Ben" is the crown prince of Argrid, and queer; Devereux "Vex" is a pirate who deals in magic and finds himself assisting Lu in finding a missing diplomat (Also, why is he called "Vex"? Isn't it pronounced "dev-uh-roh"?). It was really difficult for me to get on board and care about the story and politics. Despite what appearances might suggest, this is not a high seas pirating adventure, but a fairly standard dysto-fantasy novel. Many concepts are brought in and left vague, such as the religion and the Shaking Sickness. This society is heavily-defined by its religion and yet I felt like I never really understood what they believed outside of mutterings about the Pious God. Similarly, it took me a long time to understand the magic system going on here. It is not explained very well, but it turns out to be a world where magic is botanical, existing only in magical plants and herbs. But, really, I think it all comes down to the writing style not working for me. It was some combination of the distant third-person narration, the vagueness of the world and magic, and odd sentence choices like this: The noxious tavern birthed Lu into the midnight streets of New Deza. None of this made me care enough to want to go on the journey to find Miles, the missing Argridian delegate. I never felt strongly about the story's mission and would probably have put it aside if I wasn't reading an arc. I was also a little disappointed by how the gay relationships were left bland and boring compared to the tension and flirtations between Lu and Vex. The gay couples got mentions but the only really shippable relationship was the main het romance. Though I did find it interesting that the author chose to have a deeply-religious society in which being queer was no issue at all. Men are betrothed to men, women are married to women, and no one bats an eyelid. I liked the idea of a world where religion and sexual orientation were in no way at odds with one another. These Rebel Waves is not a terrible book, but there was nothing here that made me interested in reading on. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kiki

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *In the interest of not fanning the flames of rumours, I've removed my previous pre-review. I'm still excited to read this! But the source from which I heard that there were gay pirates in this book was clearly full of shite! The moral of the story? Don't believe everything that you read on the internet!*

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Friends, this just was not the book for me. And you know I hate writing “negative” reviews, so I’m going to try to keep this on the shorter side. But this book and the writing was just equal parts boring and daunting for me. Plus, the magic system was not explained, the characters were hard to like or believe, and I never cared enough to root for any of them. But I think what ultimately made me not love this book was be ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Friends, this just was not the book for me. And you know I hate writing “negative” reviews, so I’m going to try to keep this on the shorter side. But this book and the writing was just equal parts boring and daunting for me. Plus, the magic system was not explained, the characters were hard to like or believe, and I never cared enough to root for any of them. But I think what ultimately made me not love this book was because I went in thinking that we were going to see a crew of queer pirates, on the open sea, fighting battles, slaying monsters, and doing pirate things. This is not the type of book These Rebel Waves is. But on a positive note, this is a book filled with colonization, oppression, magical medical experimentation, religious hierarchies, political intrigue, betrayals, and what people are willing to do in the name of their God(s). And, it sort of has pirates. And I don’t think that this was a bad book. I mean, obviously many of those topics are super important, but I went into this book just expecting something completely different. And I will totally take responsibility for that. But this book was also super boring, and it felt like a chore to pick up each and every time. I had to constantly reward myself with treats while reading. If this wasn’t an ARC, and if I wasn’t buddy reading this with two of my friends, I would have 100% DNFed this story. And that has nothing to do with the expectations of gay pirates. And, full disclosure, one of the first books I ever DNFed was Sara Raasch’s Ice Life Fire, so maybe this author’s writing just isn’t for me. So, if you pick this one up, I hope you enjoy it more than I did. But I should probably give you some bare bones about the actual story and the three characters we follow! ➽ Adeluna / Lu - Soldier. Loyal to her family. Experiencing so much loss, and so much trauma, from childhood to present day. ➽ Devereux / Vex - Pirate. Master of disguise. Hinted that he’s queer, maybe even pan, but never stated. ➽ Benat / Ben - Heretic. Crown Prince. Obsessed with the magic that is forbidden. Queer, in a hidden m/m relationship. Also, I don’t know how I feel about the way Ben’s relationship developed, but I kind of don’t want to think about it or this book any longer. And these characters are all on the same island and their three stories intertwine to maybe change the fate of the world as they know it. And each of these characters have to make choices that will truly decide what type of person they want to be. In this world, magic is plant based and outlawed. But the thing is, the magic system is never explained. You just have to suspend your disbelief that it works some magical way for some people with the right reagents. I mean, I guess I’d say it’s like magic herbology. I guess? I don’t even know, because it’s so not explained. But anyone who uses this magic will be punished in the name of the Pious God. Trigger and content warnings for death, murder, loss of a loved one, torture, colonization, physical abuse, child abuse, captivity, medical experimentation, and violence. And there is also a disease that is killing people rapidly, that needs to be addressed. It’s called the Shaking Sickness, and Lu has felt the heartbreak from it many times. There is no treatment for it, it has no known cause, and it doesn’t spread from person to person. Some people die from it instantly, and other suffer with it for a long while. So, we have magical plants, and a disease that is killing a lot of people. We have a pirate who is a smooth talker. We have a soldier who has been a soldier all her life, even when forced as a child. And we have a prince, who is dealing with the ghosts from his past. All these things come into play and send Lu and Vex on an adventure, and leaves Ben discovering the hypocrisy of the religion on the island. My favorite thing about this book was a plot twist. Obviously, I’m not going to give any spoilers, but a certain plot twist in this book was so well done. The author expertly wove it into the entire story, and it is the reason I’m giving this book two stars instead of one. Seriously, it was amazingly done. And the next favorite thing was a beautiful f/f relationship involving two main side characters. I know that the copy I read was an ARC version, but this book ends so abruptly. I felt like after the amazing plot twist, and finally seeing all the action form and start to take place, we are just cut off. Curtains drawn, lights out. I just sat with my iPad in my lap, blinking a few times, because I thought maybe I got an unfinished ARC. So, here is your warning that the ending is a little brutal. Overall, this just wasn’t for me. I went in expecting so much and was given so little. And even with so little, it was so different than what I was expecting. I do predict that the next book in this series will be better. I just don’t think I’ll be picking it up. And if you go into this expecting gay pirates, sailing the seas and fighting for injustice, like I did, you’re going to be disappointed. Again, I hate feeling so negative, so I hope that if you give this one a try that you will enjoy it much more than me! Happy reading, loves. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch Buddy read with Hamad & Jules! ❤

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Beautiful Sprayed Edges! LINK TO THE GOODIES I'm on the fence so I'm leaving it at 3 stars for now 😕

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    Actual rating: 1.5 stars You can find this review and other non-spoilery reviews @The Book Prescription 🌟 Expectations is the keyword here, if you see the top reviews on GR, you will see that they are all readers excited for a “Gay Pirates” story, after seeing all those reviews I was pretty sure that was what we are getting. Obviously, apart from a minor focus on an LGBTQ character, this has nothing to do with the whole “Gay pirates” thing. 🌟 So, this has nothing to do with pirates, this has no shi Actual rating: 1.5 stars You can find this review and other non-spoilery reviews @The Book Prescription 🌟 Expectations is the keyword here, if you see the top reviews on GR, you will see that they are all readers excited for a “Gay Pirates” story, after seeing all those reviews I was pretty sure that was what we are getting. Obviously, apart from a minor focus on an LGBTQ character, this has nothing to do with the whole “Gay pirates” thing. 🌟 So, this has nothing to do with pirates, this has no ships with a captain, no wooden leg, no parrot and no sea adventures! This mostly takes place on land so keep that in mind. And if an author wants to write a book about gay pirates then the opportunity is still there and I think it will be successful with all this hype! 🌟 So what is this about? If I want to describe this vaguely and what it deals with, then: Botanical magic and religion!!! you see there is a huge difference between expectations and the reality. 🌟 I was always fascinated by “green magic” that has to do with plants and potions… etc so a story with this as the fantasy element must be interesting, unfortunately, I think the execution was not the best, there could have been many amazing ideas for this kind of magic! But in reality, it was so basic and bland! 🌟 But the thing that mostly irked me is the writing style, I can’t stand repetitions and this book was full of repeated words; for example: – 9 is the number of times the word “Heresy” was used. – 22 is the number of times the word “Eminence” was used. – 115 is the number of times the word “Pious” was used. – 164 is the number of times the word “God” was used. I can’t ignore these things and every time the word Pious was used, a small part of my soul was dying! -I know it was used for emphasis but a line was crossed in the number of times it was used- I even couldn’t find anything to quote because it just put me in a bad mood 😦 😦 🌟 The story was boring too and I wish I knew how to skim well because I just wanted to be done with it, There was a good and unexpected twists toward the end but other than that I was not intrigued by this! Same goes for the characters! 🌟 In short: I recommend going into this without the whole LGBT expectations, this is more of a story with a religious story line, the story can be good only if you go into it with different mindset! I truly wanted to enjoy this but I simply couldn’t. Buddy reading this with GR sweetest soul ever! ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sara Raasch

    ***The final pre-release contest for THESE REBEL WAVES is happening NOW through July 31!!***

  7. 5 out of 5

    ☙ percy ❧

    i hated Snow Like Ashes but i hear this book is about GAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUCKING!!!!!!!!! PIRATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so i'm willing to give the author another chance. ;)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Monroe

    “'As much as I don’t know you, raider, you don’t know me. You have no idea what I am capable of.' Vex considered. ‘You’re right—I don’t know you. But I know who you want to be, princesa, and that might be more dangerous to you.’” Snow Like Ashes left me high and dry, but I had high hopes for this one because one, gay pirates and two, gay pirates. Honestly a more wonderful combination of words could not have been invented other than free pizza. Sadly, as most of you have figured out by now, the g “'As much as I don’t know you, raider, you don’t know me. You have no idea what I am capable of.' Vex considered. ‘You’re right—I don’t know you. But I know who you want to be, princesa, and that might be more dangerous to you.’” Snow Like Ashes left me high and dry, but I had high hopes for this one because one, gay pirates and two, gay pirates. Honestly a more wonderful combination of words could not have been invented other than free pizza. Sadly, as most of you have figured out by now, the gay pirates thing is a rumor. I don't remember where I read it, whether it was on the unofficial blurb when it was first announced, but I hope whoever decided to lift the collective reading community's hopes like that steps on a Lego on a foggy evening. There is a gay romance inside, but it's far from ship-worthy. Unlike Jesper and Wylan from Six of Crows (which is now the bar I hold to all romances, hetreo or otherwise), it lacks that gradual development that makes readers invest and root for couples. Their identities aren't a huge spoiler since it's revealed in the first several chapters, but I'll hide it just in case: (view spoiler)[It's Prince Ben and his guard Jake. (hide spoiler)] Their relationship has already been established from the get-go, and there's no will-they, won't they tension to keep the stakes going. There are stakes, related to the main plot, but it doesn't change the fact that there were no sparks between them. They are cold soggy lunch bags cuddling together for warmth. Plus, it's incredibly obvious that they're just second-tier to the main romance between Lu and Vex: “He shrugged. ‘I’m not one to confess my secrets to crazed women who use manipulation and favors to ensnare me in their own plots.’” I foresee many bottles of champagne smashed against the hull of their ship. Lu is a kickass politician's daughter who wants to help her country, Grace Loray. Vex is a wisecracking raider on the opposite side of the law. Put them together like potassium and sodium and you've got yourself a sexual power keg. They're also two out of the three POV characters, the last one being the Crown Prince Ben of Argrid. His country fears and despises Grace Loray's magic and wants to eradicate it. His are the chapters I longed to skip, so there's not much I can add about him. Back to Lu and Vex, their relationship interested me more than the other one, but I wouldn't say I'm obsessed with it. From a scale of one to Swiftie, I'd say I'm a two—I'd hold open an elevator door for you, but not if I'm in a hurry. Their romance has been done a thousand times in YA and there wasn't enough to set it apart. That's really how I'd describe my reading experience of These Rebel Waves on whole: it's good, but largely unremarkable. The plot is reminiscent of dystopian novels—fighting against a corrupt system only to discover there's more beneath the surface—except it's in a fantasy setting. I did enjoy the world-building. Magic comes from botanical plants and their usage is adequately explained. Also, the narrative focuses on particular countries, Grace Loray and Argrid, enabling readers to slowly absorb information rather than overwhelming us in a desperate attempt to demonstrate that their world is detailed and creative. Other countries are mentioned with clear room for expansion. “Dirt and sand, all across the land; the currents are ours, you see. No god, no soldier, no emperor, no king, can take my current from me. Flow on, my friends, flow on with me; together we flow as one. No god, no soldier, no emperor, no king, can erode what we have done.” The final reveal of the villain was lackluster. Though I didn’t see it coming, it didn’t knock the breath out of me with surprise. I just went “Oh” and took a sip of apple juice. Part of the reason is the character isn't very complex. He has somewhat good intentions that manifested into terrible actions. Typical villain fare with a world of unexplored depth. I don't think I'm invested enough to read the sequel, but we'll see. ARC provided by Edelweiss

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sh3llraiser

    DNF 28%. No rating. I started this on May 4, 2018. It is now July 13, 2018. It's been over two months and I can't get past 28%. I'm throwing in the towel. Who started this gay pirates thing? There are no gay pirates here. I'm not even going to try and review what I did read. Just going to move on. I do thank you so very much Edelweiss and publisher for providing an eARC. I'm sorry it wasn't for me. I'm sure others will like it. The writing is fine; it's just me. Original post: 28% pre-review... St DNF 28%. No rating. I started this on May 4, 2018. It is now July 13, 2018. It's been over two months and I can't get past 28%. I'm throwing in the towel. Who started this gay pirates thing? There are no gay pirates here. I'm not even going to try and review what I did read. Just going to move on. I do thank you so very much Edelweiss and publisher for providing an eARC. I'm sorry it wasn't for me. I'm sure others will like it. The writing is fine; it's just me. Original post: 28% pre-review... Still waiting for this to really get going... the religious, political vibes are overpowering and little adventure so far. Needs more pirates!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    3/19/18 Ugh, I swear this was a July 3rd release and now it's been pushed back until August 7th --- OMG look at this cover!!! It is absolutely stunning! I am so freaking excited for this! Because honestly, I just need more pirate stories in my life. Glad to see that the synopsis is finally up and happy to say I'm still super excited to see where this goes.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina The Trash Queen

    Okay, so apparently this doesn’t have a actually gay romance just a character that is gay/bi? Damn, that makes me way less excited to read it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GAY PIRATES ! I don’t need to know anything else. I’m so excited to start reading this book.!.!.!!.!..!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah (thegirltheycalljones)

    Okay but how am I supposed to take the oppressor seriously when everytime I see his name I read "Hagrid" instead of "Argrid"?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books)

    Review can also be found at Dana and the Books. I should have loved These Rebel Waves. It has pirates, magic, politics, jail breaks; it ticks all the Dana boxes. Sadly, this one was possibly the most disappointing book of 2018 for me. The Good: ○ It's in Third Person POV. First person POV seems to be the standard for many YA novels so it's always refreshing when that's not the case ○Every time Argrid was mentioned, my brain decided to pronounce it like Madame Maxime saying 'Agrid' in a French accen Review can also be found at Dana and the Books. I should have loved These Rebel Waves. It has pirates, magic, politics, jail breaks; it ticks all the Dana boxes. Sadly, this one was possibly the most disappointing book of 2018 for me. The Good: ○ It's in Third Person POV. First person POV seems to be the standard for many YA novels so it's always refreshing when that's not the case ○Every time Argrid was mentioned, my brain decided to pronounce it like Madame Maxime saying 'Agrid' in a French accent from Goblet of Fire. Made it slightly more entertaining The Not so Good: ○ The first 200 pages were hard to connect with. I almost stopped reading multiple times ○ The last 250 pages were just as hard to get through.  I ended up speed reading the last 150 pages just so I could get it over with ○ I thought Grace Loray was a person not a place for a while there ○ Everybody went by two or more names. All of which were used often and did nothing except confuse the hell outta me ○ I couldn't care about the characters and their struggles. They were just there.. existing on the page but never jumping off it ○ There was a lot of talk pre-release about gay pirates (yay!). However, that's really not true. So don't go into this book expecting gay pirates ○ Too much forced banter. It was almost as though the author thought that since there's a ragtag group of characters it is law that they must bicker and have clever banter at every possible moment. Save some of that banter for Nando's ○ The worst part is that it wasn't badly written, it wasn't a bad plot, it was just.. dull. Dry. Boring. I definitely won't be continuing the series. But if this sounds like your type of book, give it a shot. You may end up loving it! Thanks Harper360 for sending over a copy of These Rebel Waves! Sorry it didn't work for me. Book Links: Book Depository | Amazon US | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK

  14. 4 out of 5

    mar ☽

    LGBT ROMANCE + PIRATES= A very excited Mar. I mean, pirates, guys. Come on.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    At first I didn't flow with These Rebel Waves. The first 10 chapters was kinda weird. It took a while before I understood the political situation; It was a mess but later the novel got interesting and fun. When I started the novel I was so sure of my self that I was never ever ever going to read book 2 but things are different now. Book 1 started making sense half way. Four stars to These Rebel Waves

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Brigid

    To my dismay, I thought that this book fell very flat. I had such high hopes for it, and loved so many of the individual elements within in. Unfortunately, all these bits and pieces mesh together in odd ways, and aren't descriptive or unique enough to stand out. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, and the romances felt forced. I also would've liked to have seen more privateering. Considering the title of this novel, I was expecting more swashbuckling and plundering, but it wasn't very To my dismay, I thought that this book fell very flat. I had such high hopes for it, and loved so many of the individual elements within in. Unfortunately, all these bits and pieces mesh together in odd ways, and aren't descriptive or unique enough to stand out. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, and the romances felt forced. I also would've liked to have seen more privateering. Considering the title of this novel, I was expecting more swashbuckling and plundering, but it wasn't very evident at all. I did think that the plot twist towards the end of the book was fantastic. I hadn't predicted it at all, and thought it created an intriguing premise for the sequel. A huge thanks to the publisher and Fantastic Flying Bookclub for providing me with an ARC!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    3.5* *I received this ARC in exchange for honest review* The story follows our 3 MCs as their lives intertwine in a Spanish Inquisition inspired post-War setting. >Adeluna: Former rebel spy, magic expert,badass lady >Devereux: Pirate/ Stream Raider, mischievous bugger, secretly a cinnamon roll >Benat: Gay Prince of Argrid, science nerd, heretic I really loved all of the MCs. That being said, I had a very difficult time connecting with them. This isn’t your typical action packed pirate book, 3.5* *I received this ARC in exchange for honest review* The story follows our 3 MCs as their lives intertwine in a Spanish Inquisition inspired post-War setting. >Adeluna: Former rebel spy, magic expert,badass lady >Devereux: Pirate/ Stream Raider, mischievous bugger, secretly a cinnamon roll >Benat: Gay Prince of Argrid, science nerd, heretic I really loved all of the MCs. That being said, I had a very difficult time connecting with them. This isn’t your typical action packed pirate book, it focuses more on character development and politics. It is also quite religion heavy (not my fave.) The intense world building made the first half of the book a bit slow but the second half of the book was action packed and full of twist and turns. Overall I enjoyed it and I’m interested to see where the sequel will take this story Full review video: https://youtu.be/jSKfVJAWIEc

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Palmer

    Holy crap. That was so good. Vex is a babe and officially on my book boyfriend list. The world was complex but well explained and thought out. I enjoyed both the political side and the magic system. There was just enough balance to make it interesting.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always

    I've been hearing wonderful things about this one, especially these two words: gay pirates . Sara Raasch, BRING IT ON.

  20. 4 out of 5

    enqi ☁️✨ [joon's]

    i really want to get the fairyloot version of this book with the pretty green sprayed edges but THE REVIEWS FOR THIS BOOK ARE SO LOW, WHY

  21. 4 out of 5

    J.A. Ironside

    ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review This isn’t a bad book. As in, it’s not badly written or lazy or offensive. It doesn’t deserve to be relegated to a low rating with books that are all of those things. It just really didn’t do it for me. Part of the problem is that I allowed myself to be swayed by hype. I should have compared the hype to the blurb because I was not in the target audience for this book at all. This book is not about gay pirates.   Imma repeat that:   This book ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review This isn’t a bad book. As in, it’s not badly written or lazy or offensive. It doesn’t deserve to be relegated to a low rating with books that are all of those things. It just really didn’t do it for me. Part of the problem is that I allowed myself to be swayed by hype. I should have compared the hype to the blurb because I was not in the target audience for this book at all. This book is not about gay pirates.   Imma repeat that:   This book is NOT about gay pirates.   This book is about a theocratic state attempting to impose its laws and values on another country. Not that the other country is all that free or egalitarian as you find out through the story. Yes there are queer characters. Most of them are fringe characters. Only one gay relationship is on screen and there is a strongly toxic component to it. One main character is gay however he is 1) not a pirate and 2) the MC of the sub plot and so gets far less screen time. You may well enjoy this book anyway but don’t go in thinking that this is a great read for Pride month or that it’s an adventure fantasy romp with pirates and queer characters. It is emphatically not and you will be disappointed.     The book itself isn’t bad, as I said. I’m not sure how much me disliking it is to do with having my expectations mishandled and how much is just genuinely not being interested in the story. The narrative is dry and rather uninspiring. If you like plain unadorned prose for an entire book then this might not bother you. For me it was highlighted just how dry it was by flashes of extremely visual language used in three scenes when my attention perked up. The rest of the time I was quite bored. These Rebel Waves is a political intrigue without a whole lot of intrigue and unleavened by much action. Fans of quieter, less explosive fantasy that explores themes such as immigration, cultural erasure, smuggling/ black market, personal and religious freedom and cultural identity – all without really delving into any of these issues too deeply or challengingly – will probably enjoy this. For me it compared unwittingly and unfavourably with a previous ARC – the brilliant ‘Mirage’ by Somaiya Doud – which covered all the same themes but did so with empathy, wisdom and emotional attachment.   Paradoxically, I really like the three MCs who were pretty well developed, I just wish I’d met them in another story. It felt to me that either they were the wrong characters for the story or that the author forced them to follow the story she thought she should be telling rather than letting them shift and change the narrative organically. The result was a bit wooden. I found the secondary and tertiary characters less well developed.   Three points that did annoy me: the ebook version of this ARC ends at 95% on the most abrupt and hyped cliff hanger imaginable. I dislike cliff hangers unless the book has earned them – which this didn’t – and I feel you should still be able to read a book as a complete story even if it’s part of a series, which is not the case here. The story does not get going until about 65% of the way through. And then it’s very stop-start action. By that point it was too late to save the story. The one really interesting thread – that of Lu having been a child soildier – is never fully explored. That could have been a fascinating engaging story in its own right but instead, as with the other themes, the book pulls its punches.     Ultimately there wasn’t anything wrong with this book but for me there wasn’t anything to get excited about either. I can’t even say I was disappointed because that would imply that my initial expectations were correct about the sort of book it was instead of being a radically different story, and that the author had not met them. Bottom line – I would not have picked up this book to read if I’d known it was a story about a monotheistic church oppressing magic users – by which we can infer herbalists since all magic comes from plants – mixed with political wrangling without a great sense of jeopardy. Not an enjoyable reading experience for me but I am clearly not the target audience so bear that in mind when I don’t recommend this book. Buddy read with the inimitable Melanie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elle♣

    3 stars meh RTC

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mary Nguyen (fox & wit)

    Some thoughts in response to what other people are saying, particularly as a critique. 1) Bland gay characters. Honestly? I hadn’t heard much about this book and didn’t realize it was pitched as an LGBT book. Was it? I don’t know. I can see why people who expected this would be disappointed but for someone who definitely enjoys good LGBT representation, this was not a factor that bothered me. Because that isn’t an expectation I had. Because this was not the POINT of the book. So honestly. If you’ Some thoughts in response to what other people are saying, particularly as a critique. 1) Bland gay characters. Honestly? I hadn’t heard much about this book and didn’t realize it was pitched as an LGBT book. Was it? I don’t know. I can see why people who expected this would be disappointed but for someone who definitely enjoys good LGBT representation, this was not a factor that bothered me. Because that isn’t an expectation I had. Because this was not the POINT of the book. So honestly. If you’re expecting something that the book doesn’t promise, I’m not too sure why the upset. (My assumption that it isn’t promised because it’s not even tagged on Goodreads) I’m not sure why people were expecting gay pirates 🤷🏻‍♀️ Ben is our main gay character and I thought he was such an interesting and well rounded character. Of all 3 main characters he grew the most. 2) Unexplained magical system. I don’t quite understand this problem either. It felt very well explained to me: different herbs have different magical properties. You can mix different concoctions like you would any other magical potion. How much of an explanation do you need about herbs? How is this not obvious and make immediate sense? What further explanation am I missing here? In fact, there is something really fascinating about the magic essentially being herbs. Essentially people are at war for several reasons. The first major waring factor is that Agridians are fanatically religious and pray to a Pious God. They are on a crusade against people who perform magic because to them it’s “evil.” It’s interesting that the magical system that they are trying to cleanse is not occult, “devil’s” magic but something that literally grows on earth. It’s natural. This is not supernatural Harry Potter magic. This is not “dark” versus “light” magic. This is a religion that’s against HERBS that produce magical properties. That to me is an incredibly important detail. I loved the political and social prejudice commentaries prevalent throughout this book. They were definitely “this is important to think about in real life” without hitting you over the head with it. It was integrated in such a way that felt authentic to the plot line but also wildly relatable to the real world. It didn’t feel like an unnatural soapbox moral tale. Personally, I loved the characters. Adeluna aka Lu is wonderful. I loved her wit and her resourcefulness. I love that she can step outside of her own beliefs and ignorance to re-evaluate her stance in the light of new evidence. She knows when to hold her ground but she isn’t so stubborn as to let it blind her actions. There are moments when she realizes just how truly ignorant she has been and apologizes on behalf of an entire Council. She battles between being a lady who no longer takes away life and the person she once was: an assassin and spy. Overall I really loved the author’s writing style. It was full of charm. I thought the plot twists were well done.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    DNF at a 12% 😭 I was so excited about this, y’all don’t even know. But god, the beginning is so slow and so info-dumpy. Normally at this point I should already be intrigued by something but I'm not. And thanks to other people's reviews, I know that there’s not a lot of piracy going on, nor are the gay pirates, so I can’t be bothered to give this a bigger chance \_(ツ)_/ DNF at a 12% 😭 I was so excited about this, y’all don’t even know. But god, the beginning is so slow and so info-dumpy. Normally at this point I should already be intrigued by something but I'm not. And thanks to other people's reviews, I know that there’s not a lot of piracy going on, nor are the gay pirates, so I can’t be bothered to give this a bigger chance ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  25. 5 out of 5

    ⚔ Silvia ⚓

    I'm really late to this party but gay pirates come on!!! 😍

  26. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    DNF

  27. 5 out of 5

    rin (lorenzo)

    this cover looks sexy 👀👀👀 ~~~~ >>> lgbt romance >>> pirates Sign Me The Fuck Up aaaaaaaaaaa so many books im excited for

  28. 5 out of 5

    Di

    **I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes were taken from the advanced readers copy and as such may not be accurate or present in the final version** I buddy read this book with the super awesome Amy from A Magical World of Words. We had the best chats and I always enjoy a buddy read with a #squad member. I really adored this book. Having not read anything by Raasch before I wasn't sure what to expect but These Rebel Waves exc **I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes were taken from the advanced readers copy and as such may not be accurate or present in the final version** I buddy read this book with the super awesome Amy from A Magical World of Words. We had the best chats and I always enjoy a buddy read with a #squad member. I really adored this book. Having not read anything by Raasch before I wasn't sure what to expect but These Rebel Waves exceeded anything I dared hope for. I really enjoy complex and well thought out fantasy worlds, and this is a seriously intricate world with a rich history and as a bonus it's chock full of diversity - we have various cultures and religions as well as sexual orientations. I loved the magic system which is as unique as it is intriguing - there are certain plants with magical properties that can be used in different ways to produce various effects: medicinal, explosive etc. It was great seeing the blend of science with fantasy here as well as seeing the effect that such commodities had on the world - religiously, economically and long term effects on people from the use of the botanical magic. “If you control something first, it isn’t as scary.” “I don’t want to control it. I want to understand it.” “Same idea, better approach.” There are three main point of views to follow; Adeluna (Lu), the rebel; Devereux (Vex), the pirate; and Benat (Ben), the Holy Eminence Prince. There's also a lot of supporting characters but each of the characters is so individual and specific that I had no problem keeping track of everyone in my mind. It wasn't clear how Ben's story would weave into the stories of the other two main characters, but he was still easy to root for and when the fusion occurred it was seamless and fantastic. I loved that Benat, as the Prince, was in a relationship with another man, a Defensor of the church and the only real problem with their relationship was that of the sin of sex before marriage. It was interesting and refreshing that Raasch chose to have sexual orientation a complete non-issue in this heavily religious world. Whatever you fear so much about yourself, it’s part of you. You can either keep fighting or change your expectations There's plenty of detail and to be honest, a bit of info dumping in the first few chapters. But there really is so much to learn about the world and the characters. It's complex and can be difficult to unravel the politics and sometimes the plot seemed to be weighed down from all the political info which gave a bit of a flow and pacing issue but there's enough action to keep readers interested and the stakes are high enough to remain invested. There's a slow burn romance which develops so sweetly with a lot of chemistry and tension. It was just so shippable and full of flirtatious banter but I also appreciated that the relationship didn't really come to the forefront of the plot. These Rebel Waves is a compelling book with a detailed, politically heavy plot with plenty of action, adventure and betrayal as well as breathtaking twists and a cliffhanger that will have you crying out for the sequel.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Why did I not know about this sooner? GAY PIRATES, YES PLEASE.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    3 stars Alright, I admit it. Most of my Goodreads updates have been me complaining about how much I wasn't into this book. And I still keep that feeling, but I've also been thinking about the story and the intricate plotting, and I've had a slight change in heart that pushed this book up a half star. I can start of with this was definitely not what I've expected. I've never read any of Raasch's previous works, but I've heard some good things. And I kind of expected These Rebel Waves to be a swashbu 3 stars Alright, I admit it. Most of my Goodreads updates have been me complaining about how much I wasn't into this book. And I still keep that feeling, but I've also been thinking about the story and the intricate plotting, and I've had a slight change in heart that pushed this book up a half star. I can start of with this was definitely not what I've expected. I've never read any of Raasch's previous works, but I've heard some good things. And I kind of expected These Rebel Waves to be a swashbuckling adventure across the high seas, kind of like Daughter of the Pirate King but more mature and dangerous. This was not that. This was a very politics-driven high fantasy about Spanish? Italian? influenced kingdoms that are at the brink of war. It was not very swashbuckling. It didn't really get to the ocean either (more like some river banks). And this was the redeeming part of this novel that contributed to the whole 3 stars of this book. I think Sara Raasch is wonderful at plotting books. This book is so intricate and has so many little details that make it up, you can't help but be a tiny bit awed at how much she put into crafting this novel. But it's also hella confusing. The last 100 pages were top notch with all the political machinations because I actually understood who was who and what was going on. But the first almost 400 pages? Forget about it. It's just that there is so so much for you to learn about and be introduced to. You have to figure out the different countries (Grace Loray & Argrid) but also all the different race/ethnicities (not clear on the distinction, but Tunician, Argridian, etc.) and also the three different points of view. It is a lot to take in. I was overwhelmed by all the proper nouns--and there are a bunch of them--and it took me a really long time to figure it out. And during this time, I just kind of stumbled through the story guessing at who's who. If the political intricacy is this book's greatest achievement, the confusing nature of all the details is this book's downfall. I get the want to avoid being called an infodumper, but it's a lot for a reader accustomed to YA fantasy to take in all of these proper nouns with barely any background. You're just kind of thrust in. This type of proper noun overflow is much more common in adult fantasy. I thought the twists ranged from okay to WOW, and I did really enjoy how all three timelines ended up intersecting. But I didn't connect to the characters, mostly for three reasons: 1. I feel like I was promised more gays. I know this is kind of my fault for believing rumors, but people keep saying "gay pirates!!! gay pirates!!!" and then you get your hopes up that there are gay pirates! But there aren't. I mean, there are gay pirates in the world, but none off the main character pirates in this book are gay. *sniffles* There is a gay prince though! And he was cool. Just...no pirates. But it's not just that which was disappointing; it was also because I wanted more examination of the characters and how people in the kingdom reacted to their crown prince being gay, and I feel like we didn't really get that. 2. The assassin child thing was a tad unbelievable. I mean, this almost always happens for me with YA because what teens are good assassins? Not gonna lie, but a lot of us are awkward and gangly and probably don't have good coordination. But this is even more extreme, because Lu was an assassin when she was in her tweens. She was, like, 10 years old when she started killing people & was tortured and I just ??? That storyline was a bit out-there, and it was hard for me to connect with it because of my incredulity. 3. The character background was introduced far too late. It was past the halfway point in my opinion when Raasch really dove into character backgrounds and their different stories etc. I thought their development ideas were good (except #2), but I just felt like it was too late for us to connect because we were already stumbling blind from the confusion of the beginning. Overall, I think this book had a lot of promise, but the beginning just really messed things up and harmed the reading experience. If it was a little more understandable and eased the reader in better, I feel like my opinion would have been completely different. (This book might have been a lot easier to comprehend with a map (which I think it'll have) and a glossary (not available to my knowledge).) Thank you so much to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review! Blog | Instagram | Twitter

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