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.
Part of Series: Song of the Current (Book 1)
Potentially Sensitive Areas: War, Strong sexual themes, Alcohol, Criminal culture
Booklist (June 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 19))
Grades 7-10. Caro Oresteia, daughter of a river wherryman, thinks the river and sailing her family’s small boat is her destiny, and she is disappointed when the river gods don’t speak to her as they have to all her ancestors. She is meant for bigger things; her true fate begins to unfold when she releases a mysterious man from an enchanted box, discovers he is the heir to the Akhaian throne, and decides to protect his life with her own. First-time author Tolcser has created a hearty sea adventure, laced with romance and fantasy, that features a biracial heroine, both self-doubting and brave, and a blue-eyed, black-haired prince with a lot to learn. The flavor of the sea comes through by way of basic sailing terms and techniques, colorful cursing (“Balto’s balls!”), and dialect that feels authentic without being troublesome to read. This is more romantic than L. A. Meyer’s Jacky Faber series but may work with its readers. It can also be handed to fans of Celia Rees’ Pirates! (2003), or for the romance, Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses series.
Kirkus Reviews starred (March 15, 2017)
Caroline Oresteia, a wherryman’s daughter and granddaughter, knows that she’s meant for the river—but at age 17, she has yet to hear the voice of the god at its bottom. When pirates burn several wherries, Caro’s smuggler father is arrested. To gain back his freedom—and maybe attract the god’s attention—Caro agrees to use her father’s wherry to transport a mysterious cargo: a young man named Tarquin Meredios who claims to be a royal courier. Pompous and overbearing, highborn Tarquin sneers at both Caro and wherrymen. But as he and Caro change course from Caro’s contracted destination to one Tarquin insists on, he grows on both her and readers. Caro’s narrative voice is smart and colloquial; worldbuilding details are imparted naturally through dialogue and her reflections on it. Caro describes herself as having a mixed heritage, noting the varying shades of brown in her relatives from her mother’s side. Most of the other, presumably white characters’ skin tones are not described, with pale Tarquin’s “strange foreign coloring” a notable exception. The frogmen, descendants of the river god and a sailor’s daughter, have brownish-green skin; Fee, a taciturn female frogman, works for Caro’s father. Caro’s description of her boat home, the Cormorant, will make even readers unfamiliar with sailing feel as though they belong on the water with her. Tolcser blends the right amount of epic fantasy, sea voyage, and romance for a rollicking, swashbuckling adventure. (Fantasy. 14-18)
About the Author
Sarah Tolcser lives in New Orleans, where she is an elementary technology teacher. A graduate of St. Lawrence University, she double majored in writing and philosophy. She enjoys video games and NBA basketball. She is married, with two cats.
Her website is www.sarahtolcser.com
Around the Web
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Song of the Current Publisher Page