Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser
With many, many OTP tears shed, of course I have sailing barges on the River of OTPs. However, some say the ghost of certain OTPs remain to haunt the waters. Not that I believe in such superstitions. But onward to other worlds full of sailing, sea serpents, and privateers (NOT pirates); a world found in Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser.
There is a god at the bottom of the river.
That. Opening. Line. Like…. This book continually changed my mind. I’ll be the first to admit the beginning was slow, BUT— there is a turning point that changed everything. Also, on the debate of sailing jargon use; I LIKE IT! Sarah Tolcser builds a world BASED ON SAILING! If you don’t like sailing- this book isn’t for you. *Insert sassy Pirates of the Caribbean commentary…
Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be so salty with my commentaries (eye roll), but really, the reviews that say “there is too much sailing jargon”… what? Like, I’d rather have an excess of world than no world at all *reason why Blood Rose Rebellion was intriguing, but ultimately not interesting. Song of the Current is based on the river and sailing and ships… so naturally I EXPECT jargon (but I do love pirate or privateer stories), I just cannot even register these reviews. Back on track… but with one quick detour— Privateers are different from Pirates; one has a Letter of Marque, one does not.
I’m probably going to ramble a bit, I forgot to take note. But for the basics: World-building is fabulous! Each detail (sailing jargon), each fluid stroke of texture and color and sound; I was enthralled with the world presented. Character was unique, as in Caro is not Katniss or any other “YA heroine” which I really liked. She knew who she was, she fought for her place in the world, and ultimately, she was thwarted by a sassy god- it was great. And Markos… his development was swoon-worthy (okay, so maybe HE is swoon-worthy and his development is marvelous…). Plot ran a bit slow, but worth every second. It has twists and turns that are fun to take at top speed. I’m not one hundred percent sure I LOVED the plot, but it was worth it for the characters and the world (aka, I want to know where Book 2 leads!) Sarah Tolscer’s craft is EXCELLENT! Not only does she paint a realistic world (Jargon and situations and… it’s perfect- Fight ME on this one reviewers), but she builds each element so it’s fluid, never an info dump or exposition that leaves me dragging. On a craft level, I have to say Song of the Current is one of the few debut YA releases that do world-building right. I can still smell the river water, hear the flap of sail, feel the speed of water passing under the prow… definitely worth a read for craft alone.
All right Em, we get you’re a BIT obsessive with sailing/pirate/privateer books now (oops, was that obvious? * shrugs), so what else do you have to say about Song of the Current? Welp, that it was a really good debut from Sarah Tolcser, and I am for sure buying the next book, that I love the realistic Caro she presented (like someone else who is weak at the sight of blood? Yes, please!). Overall, Song of the Current is filling in gaps that are missing for me in YA fantasy. Sure there is romance, but it’s not the front-runner, and I really, really enjoyed that. Having Caro constantly question her fate, her purpose in life hits home is ways that make me itch but also give me hope, that I am not alone if feeling like fate is laughing at me. The only issue I had with this book was the ending. It feels rushed, like “TADA! And there’s more!”, but I’m oddly okay with it for the most part.
What I really enjoyed about Song of the Current was the ability to switch off believability. Like, Frogmen? Of course that makes sense! And making it completely natural. All the praise goes to Sarah; it’s an amazing job of world-building. So yes, I do recommend this read, it’s great! But, for a few reasons, I rate it 4 stars; mainly because it was a bit slow in the beginning, that ending, and some slow moments on the pacing front; otherwise, Song of the Current as a perfect summer beach read and I am so excited to see where Sarah takes these characters (I’ve heard about capers and “swinging over a chasm” for book 2). But the real question is; how do you feel about ship-based books? And do you have any recs?
As always, it is my pleasure to bring you the latest news from The Literary Empire, and let you know what’s in, and what’s out. Now excuse me while I go pretend to be a privateer on my barge.
Her Imperial Majesty, Em
PS. The hardcover has GLITTER!!!!