A Different, Slow Paced Retelling // ARC Review: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez

Title: Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1)
Author: Kristina Perez
Publication Date: June 5th 2018
Publisher: Imprint (Macmillan)
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1/3 of the Sweet Black  Waves Trilogy)
I Got A Copy Through: Macmillan INTL (Thank You!)
Buy Links: Amazon || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Not you without me, not me without you.
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. 
Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.
- - If there’s one thing I absolutely HATE in a book, its whiny princesses that believe they are owed the world, and backstab other females to get what they want. Especially if that other female is your closest friend and cousin.

- - Princess Esuelt was the absolute WORST FEMALE CHARACTER I’ve come across in a while. She complained about everything, lashed out at the two people closest to her, put the option of peace between two warring islands in jeopardy because she thought she loved someone and had so much hate and spite in her that it was hard to like her. Also, what she did at the end was absolutely unforgivable and, well, she is the reason I’m giving this book a three star rating, and not anything above. 

- - When I requested this book, I didn’t know it was a retelling. I honestly don’t even know the original story of Tristan and Iseult, and so it just read like an originally plotted book to me. (Whoops?)

- - It took me a while to get used to Branwen, but now, at the end, I TRULY admire her strength, will, loyalty, pride in country and belief in duty. She was one of the most STEADFAST YA heroines I’ve seen in a while, and I truly came to respect her and admire her power.

- - I quite liked all the medicine, and the talk of peace above all else. It made Sweet Black Waves stand apart from other YA Fantasy books, because for once, the country was more important than the characters and it was something I truly respected.

- - I feel like I didn’t learn enough about Tristan to like him, and from what I DID KNOW, he was a little too sweet-tounged (is that a phrase?) for me to truly trust him. Not to mention that despite not knowing the story, this book is a retelling of ‘Tristan and Iseult’ not ‘Tristan and Branwen’ that ruined the romance of it all for me.

- - I absolutely loved the Magic with Consequences and the concept of religion/ otherworldly beings in this book. It was so real and grounded, even with things like Magic and Gods and I loved how well explained it all was.

And… that’s about it. There was a lot I liked about this slow paced, different YA fantasy novel, and one particular character I simply could not stand. 3 stars. 
Kristina Pérez

Kristina Pérez is the author of THE MYTH OF MORGAN LA FEY (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). She holds a PhD in Medieval Literature from the University of Cambridge. 

Her debut YA Fantasy, SWEET BLACK WAVES––a Tristan and Iseult retelling––will be published by Imprint/Macmillan on June 5th, 2018.

Have you heard of the legend of Tristan and Iseult?
Have you read Sweet Black Waves? What did you think of it?!
I'd absolutely love to hear from you!

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