Title: The Dark Tide
Author: Alicia Jasinska
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: August 4th, 2020
Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.
Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.
Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.
When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other as water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice.
“Betrayal cut so much deeper when you loved the hand that held the knife.”Alicia Jasinska, The Dark Tide
I read The Dark Tide as part of the 12 Reads from 12 Friends challenge – but it had been on my list for awhile because of this beautiful, mysterious cover. But, I was sadly disappointed overall by this book. It was almost too atmospheric for me, if that makes sense? Like it just flew right over my head.
There is very little world-building happening in this book, which would’ve been very helpful for me. I don’t understand the magic system and how it works, though I know it can be sold and each witch only has a certain amount of magic to use in their lifetime. But I would’ve loved some more explanation around the magic, the festival, and the history of Caldella. But I imagine that would’ve required more books and there wasn’t enough plot for that.
I respected the sapphic love story, especially when it seemed like the love interest was Thomas but it turned into Queen Eva – against all the odds. Always here for an enemies to lovers romance arc, especially a deadly one. The fun twist was that the magic required Queen Eva to fall in love with Lina in order to save the island, but Eva didn’t want to just on principle – but then did anyway. It was a ride.
The plot and setting were dark and spooky befitting the season, so I’m glad I read it when I did. But, it’s not a fantasy that will stick with me very long.
Happy reading, folks!