Review: These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch (Stream Raiders #1)


These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch // VBC ReviewThese Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1)
Sara Raasch
Published: Aug. 7, 2018 (Balzer+Bray)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Six years ago, Lu was a solider in the revolution to free Grace Loray from the religious dictatorship of Argrid. Now, Grace Loray is trying to stabilize the country, but when peace talks end with an Argridian delegate going missing, Lu knows something sinister is brewing beneath the surface to upset the hard-won peace. She enlists the aid of notorious stream raider Devereux “Vex” Bell to help find the delegate before civil war breaks out between the Grace Lorayans and the criminal syndicates.

Meanwhile, Benat, the crown prince of Argrid, has been hiding his true self ever since he witnessed the burning of his uncle and cousin six years ago for heresy. He knows if he ever reveals his fascination with Grace Lorayan magics he’ll be painted as a heretic and set to burn in the name of the Pious God. When his father seemingly gives Ben the ok to research magics to help cure the spread of disease in Argrid, Ben is immediately put on alert waiting for the other shoe to drop in regards to his true motivations.

These Rebel Waves has so much going for it. First off, I liked the setup of the story. A lot of times the books we read are on the cusp of a revolution, and by the end of the book (or series) the fighting has happened and the good guys have won. Here, however, we’re seeing the after. We’re seeing a country trying to rebuild itself, and it’s not going exactly as planned as threats of civil war are on the horizon. I thought that was an interesting spot to begin.

Also, the use of botanical magic was a nice change of pace from the typical idea of magic being an inherent ability to something that anyone with the right tools (i.e. the right plant) can utilize.

My favorite thing is the setting. While searching for the missing delegate we’re taken through cities and ports, islands, bayous, and aboard other ships. We meet a myriad of people with varying belief systems and values. While, at first, it’s a bit daunting, it quickly forms into a cohesive whole. I look forward to getting to explore more of this world in the next book.

Despite having a wonderful setting with great world building, and a plot that pushes forward at a steady pace, I was thrown by the characterization. All the characters just felt a little flat. Even the three main characters, Lu, Vex, and Ben never gained any kind of emotional attachment from me. When twists and revelations are made, they felt more like things that were expected to happen (or actions I expected the characters to make) rather than truly surprising me. On the other hand, there’s a lot going on in this first book, and our protagonists are coming to terms with the fact that there was a lot about the war they didn’t understand. Things that are coming back around to influence the second possible war on the horizon. Now that more is understood and more connections have been made between past and present, I think there’s the potential to see a lot of character growth in the next book.

While not everything went smoothly for me with this read, I enjoyed it overall, and will definitely pick up the next book.

Sexual content: references to sex, implication of rape.

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