Two Minute Review: Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Friday, June 2, 2017
Title: Song of the Current
Author: Sarah Tolcser
Genre: fantasy
Series: Song of the Current #1
Pages: 373
Published: expected June 6 2017
Source: ARC via publisher
Rating: 3.75/5

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

An adventurous story set in a newly-imagined world dominated by rivers, Song of the Current is a strong debut for Sarah Tolcser. Obviously the launch of a new young adult series, this fantasy might take a few chapters or so to gain steam but ends up being a fun, clever ride before long.

Very much in the tradition of travel fantasy, Song of the Current's Caro spends the novel journeying all over her world, in search of herself and a way to fulfill a bargain to save her dad. In a world of gods and monsters, pirates and frogmen, coup d'etats and magic, it's a tall order for a rivergirl on her lonesome. Still, Caro is her own person and a fully capable young woman; she's worked her whole life on the river and that expertise comes in handy. She's also fiery and feisty, a bit quick to take offense and to get angry. I loved her.

Other characters besides Caro can be a bit frustrating as they come into play during Song of the Current. Tarquin's role and reveal is pretty predictable from the blunt storytelling and his own foolishness, though he does become a more nuanced person as the novel continues. There's plenty of action and adventure to keep the plot moving and the pace quick, but it can feel a bit repetitive. The writing itself is strong for a debut, and occasionally lovely in its unique syntax.

("There is a god at the bottom of the river. Some folks will tell you that's just a story. But us wherry folk know different. When the reeds along the banks whisper that a squall is rushing across the marshland, we listen. When the tide flows up from the sea, we know enough to watch.

The god in the river speaks to us in the language of small things.")

Sarah Tolcser is a talented writer and her debut is a memorable and thrilling read. Some of Song of the Current's narrative may be a bit bluntly handled, the secondary characters may feel a bit underdeveloped, but there's no denying this a strong, entertaining fantasy.

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way! Tarquin was totally eyeroll worthy at first but really came into his own as the story progressed. And while a lot of classic fantasy tropes were used, it still felt unique somehow- I liked the riverspeak and the adventure of the story. I definitely want to read more :)


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