Sweet Black Waves

Kristina Pérez. Imprint, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-250-13285-7
Debut author Pérez’s retelling of Tristan and Iseult, the first book in a trilogy, is set in the land of Iveriu and features Lady Branwen, Princess Iseult’s orphaned cousin. Although Branny is Essy’s maid, the teenagers are as close as sisters until Branny falls for Tristan, a prince from the enemy nation of Kernyv. Tristan aims to secure peace by brokering Essy’s engagement to King Marc, his uncle. Essy’s father, King Óengus, agrees to the union, but Essy loves another man and is determined to quash the deal. Branny values Essy’s happiness, yet she recognizes that an arranged marriage would benefit both Iveriu and her relationship with Tristan, so she resolves to get Essy on board—even if doing so requires magic and trickery. Pérez’s characters are complex, and the bond between Branwen and Essy comes across as authentic, although the tale’s romance doesn’t feel genuinely earned. The story’s mystical elements are confusing and awkwardly incorporated, which slows the pace and muddies the plot, but Pérez closes with a devastating cliff-hanger that will leave readers eager for a sequel. Ages 14–18. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2018
Release date: 06/05/2018
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-250-30907-5
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