The Dark Tide - Alicia Jasinska

Review :

I was expecting a lot from this book (definitely one of my more hyped debuts of 2020), and it honestly met all those expectations.

The writing, while not quite up there with my favorites, was just lyrical enough to carry the fairytale/myth style of this story well. It was also still practical and simple enough to generally understand what was going on, even in fight/action scenes. It definitely, when combined with the story itself, made some scenes hit quite hard, and I loved the style it gave to the book as a whole.

The setting/island is also wonderful, and there's so much left still in this world to discover. The dynamic of witches and normal residents of the island was interesting, as both seemed to need the other while not actually liking the other all that much. The way the mainland existed in the story as well left a lot to be explained while still providing a strong reason for all these people staying on an island intent to drown them, meaning there weren't that many holes for the world building. Additionally, the magic system was also fascinating while also just making sense. There wasn't just one way of using magic, and instead the methods were a mix of all the cultures that had fled to the island (almost like a shared language can come out of many groups being forced together, there were still distinct traits from each original magic tradition but it all started to blend together well).

I also just loved the characters/romance/relationships in this novel. All felt full and intriguing, whether it be familial or romantic. The main focus was on Eva and Lina, of course, and while I loved where their paths led them and how they dealt with each other, the dynamic between Eva and Marcin or Natalia as well as between Lina and Finley were deep too. It wasn't just a flat sibling or friend relationship, all of them had variation. Lina didn't purely love Finley, her brother, or hate him, but almost both at the same time, and it felt authentic and reminiscent of real life frustrations and emotions with siblings. The same can be said of Eva and her relationship to her (now dead) sister Eva, and her long time friend Marcin. All of this just strengthened the overall story, as it is these relationships that motivate the characters.

All in all, definitely put this book on your tbr and preorder it! It hits all the boxes: witches, f/f romance, strong sibling relationships, etc.!

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