Happy Tuesday, book people! Today I have a review for Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez and it’s sequel, Wild Savage Stars. Spoiler alert: I loved both of these books and am currently dying for the third book to be released!
Sweet Black Waves
Author: Kristina Pérez
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Synopsis: 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.
Rating: Sweet Black Waves is a deeply atmospheric retelling of the myth of Tristian and Iseult that will have you swooning one moment, then screaming in rage or despair the next. Top notch angst!
Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez is one of those books that sat unread on my bookshelf for many, many months even though I knew I’d most likely enjoy it. It seems like those books always exceed my expectation and Sweet Black Waves was no exception to this.
I have to admit that I know little of the Tristan and Iseult myth except that there are approximately 9000 different spellings of their names. Sweet Black Waves is an imagining of their story, told through the experiences of Iseult’s handmaiden Branwen (who also has quite a few different name spellings). Branwen is fiercely loyal to her country and her family, especially Essy (aka Eseult who is based on Iseult…you get the picture). Raised together, Branwen and Essy are basically sisters and their relationship is strong and believable. But as Essy becomes increasingly distressed with her role as a future queen, the relationship strains and fractures.
Branwen is a strong main character, full of her own convictions and morals. Like most, she questions herself and her role in the world around her, which makes her incredibly relatable even when things start getting mystic for her. Essy on the other hand is selfish and whiney and I loathe her. But she is supposed to be that way. So even when I wanted to throw the book against a wall every time Essy complained about not having a choice in love (GIRL, THE FATE OF YOUR PEOPLE RESTS ON YOUR MARRIAGE! GET OVER IT!), I still thought she was well written and had depth.
While some could say this novel has insta-love, which is a trope I deeply despise, I would say that it actually works in this scenario. This is definitely an angsty romance filled story and it just worked for me, so beware if that is not your thing. The world building was pretty good, but it wasn’t heavy. The writing style was simple, but still brought forth some great atmosphere. I’m glad I read this during the summer because it took me out of the hot summer world I’m currently in.
The ending is really where stuff gets real and I am immensely grateful that I had an ARC for the second book, Wild Savage Stars to jump straight into. I would highly recommend this to anyone who like an epic romance story, laced with angst and magic.
Wild Savage Stars
Author: Kristina Pérez
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Synopsis: Branwen has a secret powerful enough to destroy two kingdoms.
Her ancient magic led to a terrible betrayal by both her best friend, the princess Essy, and her first love, Tristan. Now this same magic is changing Branwen. Adrift in a rival court, Branwen must hide the truth from the enemy king by protecting the lovers who broke her heart―and finds herself considering a darker path.
Not everyone wants the alliance with Branwen’s kingdom to succeed―peace is balanced on a knife’s edge, and her only chance may be to embrace the darkness within…
I was sent a copy of the Wild Savage Stars at my request by BookSparks and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions expressed in my review of the book are completely my own and not influenced in anyway.
Wild Savage Stars is a lush and dramatic novel, full of court intrigue, betrayal, and magic. As the sequel to Sweet Black Waves, Wild Savage Stars amps up the angst in this Tristian and Iseult retelling. Fans of romantic fantasy stories with court politics will love this series!
Wild Savage Starts begins shortly after the events of Sweet Black Waves and from there, the angst snowballs into glorious drama throughout the novel. We are introduced to many new characters and a whole new setting that brings lots of intriguing conflict. Branwen must navigate this new world of hers, while trying to come to terms with her magic and the betrayal of Tristan and Eseult.
Pérez brings to life the gloomy shores of Kernyvak and maintains an atmosphere of tension and drama. The world building is fantastic, and I loved being drawn into this world. Each character is well written and consistent. This story made me swoon, rage, and laugh. And after that ending, I CANNOT wait for book 3!
If you loved Sweet Black Waves, you’ll love Wild Savage Stars. And if you haven’t read Sweet Black Waves, go grab a copy now so you’ll be ready for Wild Savage Stars when it releases on August 27th!