Cover Image: The Dark Tide

The Dark Tide

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was given an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Fleeing from the Mainland that burns witches and looks down on those who love outside the accepted norm, a witch queen made a deal with the sea. As long as their new home doesn't sink, she and all her successors will sacrifice someone each year to keep the tide at bay. 

When the boy Lina loves is chosen to be the sacrifice, she refuses to accept it and storms the castle to save him. 

Already I was intrigued because it's very different from the usual guy saves girl. Lina is by no means a damsel in distress and bravely faces the witch queen for the boy she loves. Anger, resentment, betrayal, love, acceptance and forgiveness all play a part. 

There is a strong sense of family and right and wrong in the story. It takes one person to enact change and change doesn't happen over night, it is a constant battle and won in small increments. 

I enjoyed the story a lot and there are many revelations regarding The Dark Tide and how it came to be. The population is diverse and no one bats an eye at couple dynamics or a boy who wears his sister's dresses. They are very accepting in some ways and narrow minded in others, especially so when the island starts sinking. Some people revert to their old way of thinking before they fled the Mainland, looking to place blame on anyone for the dilemma they are in.

Overall, it's a good read with interesting characters and a lot of revelations. It's easy to relate with each character and I found myself agreeing a lot with the most unlikely one.
Was this review helpful?
4.5/5 stars — a darkly magical, subversively queer story

The Dark Tide explores themes of love and sacrifice against the backdrop of a small and stormy island. I enjoyed how character-driven this book was. The interplay between the two main characters’ points of view followed their relationship through enmity to fascination even as each pursued her own goals, often at the cost of the other.

I recommend The Dark Tide to readers looking for one or more of the following: a bi protagonist; an enemies-to-lovers(ish) wlw relationship; a queernorm world; an atmospheric small island setting around the 1920s or ’30s; complex family relationships; bittersweet but hopeful endings. This is a fairly quick read, tightly plotted and easy to devour in a couple of sittings. It will likely appeal particularly to fans of Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton.

Content warnings: family member with anger issues, plot revolving around human sacrifice; smoking (cigarettes)
Was this review helpful?
My relationship with The Dark Tide is the biggest "it's not you it's me" scenario that I have every experienced with a novel. The Dark Tide includes so many aspects I love and the idea is so interesting and so exciting but I can't get past the first initial segment of world building. I'm struggling mainly with the writing style more then anything else. I'm more dissapointed in myself then in this book, right now it isn't for me. But I will be giving it a shot again some point in the future.
Was this review helpful?
The Dark Tide is a beautifully written dark fantasy following Lina, a girl who sets out to save the boy who she believes is her true love from the witch queen who has captured him... only to fall for the witch queen instead. I was so excited about this premise and it did not disappoint. This plot created a fairytale-like atmosphere that made it feel a bit like a  retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Lina if from a cursed island city whose survival depends on Eva, the witch queen, sacrificing a boy to the dark tide each year. I loved the atmosphere of this story. It begins when it's almost time for the sacrifice, so the tide is really coming to life and starting to flood the city. It gives everything in the city- and especially in the witches' castle- a really dark, eerie vibe.

Speaking of the witches' castle, I loved the scenes that were set there! The magic in this world has gradually seeped into everything and especially into the castle. It was like it had a mind of its own, which really made the magic feel extra real and immersive.

I also really liked reading about the witches. They were all really cool and each had a unique style to performing their magic. Eva was definitely my favorite with her dark and brooding nature but secret soft spot for Lina and her pet sea serpent.

Lina was a really interesting character to follow. In the beginning she seems to really only care about making sure her brother, Finley, isn't chosen as that year's sacrifice. However, when the boy she likes, Thomas, is chosen, she drags Finley on an adventure to the witches' castle and ends up sacrificing herself to take Thomas' place. This made her characterization really interesting. You get to see her fierce determination to her as she tries to save the people and city that she loves. Plus it's always fun to see a boy being in the "damsel in distress" trope and the girl is who comes to save him.

There was some good moments with social commentary, too. As Lina tries to figure out a way to satisfy the tide that won't involve sacrifices, Eva remarks that she never tried to help fix the problem until it was herself and her loved ones who were in danger of being sacrificed. Another is when Lina argues against toxic masculinity when Eva is mocking Thomas for being cowardly. Lina says, "Boys can be soft and weak sometimes. They're allowed to be." I just think that that's another really important message. Especially since so many men in recently published fantasy just seem overly perfect and reinforce these harmful stereotypes.

Overall, what I loved most about this book was the dark, magical atmosphere and the romance between Eva and Lina. The girls were like complete opposites and I'm always weak for characters who don't seem like they should get along at all falling for each other. I wouldn't quite say it was exactly the enemies to lovers trope, but it was kind of that mixed together with a bit of reluctant allies to lovers. *chef's kiss*

That being said though, their relationship was also one draw back. The book is told from both of their points of view and I felt like we got way more Lina chapters than Eva ones. This made me feel like Eva's feelings for Lina were kind of underdeveloped and sudden. Because most of the time we only got to see how Lina assumed Eva was feeling, instead of her actual feelings that were developing. So I hope that we get to see more of Eva in the sequel. I wonder now if this possibly was a stylistic choice from the author, because Eva never opened up to anyone before Lina so why would she open up to the readers? Which would hopefully mean more chapters from her to come in the next book because I really enjoyed reading about her and her magic.

So in conclusion, I really enjoyed this dark, sapphic fantasy. Lina and Eva were really cool protagonists and I enjoyed seeing them try to tackle the problem of the tide while also tackling their feelings for each other. It was romantic and just gorgeously written. I'm greatly looking forward to the sequel.

My Rating: ★★★★

I Would Recommend This To:
Readers who want more sapphic fantasy.
Readers who enjoy unique witches and magic that comes to life.
Readers who like strong female protagonists.
Was this review helpful?
Rated: 3.5

I really enjoyed this book and it was very different from a lot of YA books I've read recently. I thought the concept of a sinking city and sacrifice sounded full of intrigue and I loved how much heart all the characters had. Even one of the characters described as heartless had a very robust character and she was full of passion in some moments and cold as ice in others. The one thing I wish is that there had been friendship between the two characters because both were such independent characters that I felt like they didn't need a romance to complete them and it seemed very out of character for both of them. Overall, a good first book in series and the ending definitely left me wanting more.
Was this review helpful?
The Dark Tide presents a story of romanticism, desperation, and protection, laces it with stubborn girls and vicious monsters, then ties it all together with the vivid red strings of magic. If you like ocean aesthetics, glittering witches, and genuine character development that puts the importance of knowing one's self over the importance of romance, then this is a story that needs to be on your shelves this fall.

First, let's talk about the world of The Dark Tide. Surrounded by the sea, Caldella seems completely isolated from any other nations or peoples, making world building a narrow thing focused only on the island. According to Lina, people like her mothers and her grandparents were persecuted for their love and their breaking of cultural boundaries once upon a time, when they lived on the mostly-unnamed mainland. So, along with the witches that mainlanders viciously hunted down, these independents fled from unjust laws and built a city sealed and protected by magic. Throughout the story, the mainland remains a distant threat to both islanders and witches alike, the proverbial rock to the ocean's hard place. There's a sense of larger frustration looming over the other interpersonal conflicts in the narrative: If Lina can't save Thomas, if Lina and Eva can't find a solution, if the witches and refugees are forced to abandon Caldella, where else in the world can they possibly go?

And abandoning Caldella would be sacrificing a home I would love to live in! With cobblestone squares, pastel houses, watery canals and streets, there's a reason Lina repeatedly refers to it as a fairy tale city, the perfect backdrop for the love story she's so desperate to live. Beyond its physical appearance, Caldella bursts at the seams with art and music, making it every Humanities Major's dream. Lina has worked for years to earn her spot as the top dancer at the island's Conservatoire, while her brother, Finley, and her beloved Thomas Lin can woo crowds with their violin and guitar. Queen Eva, the most emotionally-guarded character, sings only to her pet sea monster. And, of course, the island has its own spooky shanty! (Seriously, I made a note on the first appearance of often-repeated witch verse that just says "LOVE a good spooky song, 10/10.") Even the witches' magic is conveyed through the craft art of knots, each shape a conduit for a different spell, and their home is haunted by magical home decor and tantalizingly eerie music that drifts from room to room. There's no part of Caldella that isn't in some way touched by an artist.

Next, I want to talk about one of the facets of The Dark Tide that fascinated me the most, the characterization (and incidental growth) of Lina Kirk. Lina starts her story a determined girl, full of romantic ideals and fearless love. On the surface, she's the natural fairy tale heroine. However, her family sees it a bit differently. In a frustrating situation that many readers may relate to, Lina's merits, including being the island's best dancer, never seem to compare to those of her brother. He's the handsome son that their family dotes on, and she's just...his sister. Lina consistently catches the blame for all of his shortcomings, including his apparent anger issues. The family's dependency on Lina to monitor, fix, and control a free-range Finley draws on old gendered stereotypes, and we watch as she struggles to become her own person free of this responsibility. Her meeting Queen Eva, who similarly lives in the shadow of her deceased sister, the previous and more-loved Witch Queen, allows both girls to realize their own narratives independent of their family ties. I enjoyed watching the two learn from one another, even as they tried to view each other as the enemy.

Lina's got a little rebellious streak in her, though, which I loved. She's no pure fairy tale damsel. At one point, Lina begins listing the contraband she's left at home that her brother will need to hide if she dies, so that their family doesn't find out she's been smoking and drinking, shattering the perfect mold they beg her to fit into. And beyond these little tidbits, Lina proves to be just as passionate and fiery as her brother, though she also seems to be a seasoned victim of his aggression. Finley's outbursts often lead to violence; in chapter nine, the narrator notes that "even his panic managed to twist itself into fury; his every emotion did," which led me to believe that while his breaking Lina's ankle before the start of the story may have been accidental, it wasn't exactly unprecedented. In the face of this unbridled rage, Lina often curls in on herself, as if afraid of what her brother might do to her if he completely loses control. She makes similar remarks about the anger of their extended family and how it makes her feel small and weak. Honestly, Lina reads very clearly like a victim of abuse.

However, she's not as weak as she seems to think she is in these moments, nor is she an entirely innocent victim in these relationships. Where Finley easily turns to violence, Lina finds herself capable of cutting people with words, often times acting and speaking without thinking about the hurt she'll cause. Though Lina says she wants to forgive Finley for injuring her, she often brings it up to manipulate him into doing what she wants, or sometimes just for the sake of making him feel bad when he's being particularly awful. She's not above using guilt to her advantage. Additionally, her perhaps-immature view of true love leads her to cruelty on occasion, breaking others' belongings and saying spiteful things if they argue with her. While I wouldn't call her an abuser, I would say that she's able to give as good as she gets, even if she doesn't realize it herself. I wondered, at times, if these characteristics were meant to be so obvious in Lina, because they twist what could be a sweet, sunshiney girl into something else, something a little more real and raw than most YA protagonists. I adore the complex morality of the lead characters, particularly Lina, that begs the reader to recognize flaws as heroic and justified.

Love plays a major role in The Dark Tide, namely in the form of a question: What does real love look like, and how will we know it when we see it? At the start of the novel, Lina has convinced herself that the most beautiful boy she knows, Thomas Lin, is her one true love. Never mind the fact that they've never kissed or really even talked, aside from him giving her a lift home one time. The feelings she has for Thomas are the most pure love to exist...she thinks. As the story goes on, we see Lina actively and explicitly wonder if she really does know what romantic love feels like, or if she’s been living in fairy tales too long, a refreshing evaluation of youthful infatuation that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in YA. While Lina does start her adventure for the sake of an infantile crush, she eventually starts doing things to help the boy she barely knows because she realizes it's simply the right thing to do, a noble shift in purpose. Allowing the main characters’ understandings of love to evolve organically throughout the novel granted the story realism that I desperately hoped for, though I didn't expect to actually find it. Character growth was integral to and demanded by the story, rather than thrown in like an afterthought.

Similarly, the interpersonal relationships in The Dark Tide have wonderfully authentic development. When the concept of the Caldellan sacrifices was first explained, I found myself doubtful of the falling-in-love-under-pressure trope. While it seems romantic, falling fully in love with someone in the span of just a couple of weeks is, at best, unrealistic. Given the strange and rocky start between Lina and Eva, I highly doubted that I would find a rapid-fire romance between them believable. Both girls seem to be around one another out of spite, more than anything. However, Jasinska gives the girls an honest and realistic evolution of feelings: By the end of the novel, both girls feel...something for one another, and they’re sure that it’s a relationship worth exploring, but neither is quite ready to say they love the other. My heart nearly exploded when I realized this! I loved this human, open conclusion to an overwhelmingly tumultuous story. Part of me says "thank God" that there's no HEA. Honestly, I don’t think these girls are ready for a full-blown romantic relationship. And that’s awesome! I think we rarely see characters who need to grow independent of significant others get the chance to do so in YA, where most teens are fully-realized adults (ha) in pubescent bodies. Jasinska breaks away from expectations with this almost-romance, leaving me excited for the futures of Lina and Eva, even if they don't overlap.

While the unique writing style occasionally hindered the pace of the story, I loved everything about 
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for giving me an advanced copy of The Dark Tide, so that I can share my review with you!

Each year, the sea demands a sacrifice: someone the witch queen truly loves, who she will truly mourn.  Without this sacrifice, the dark tide will rise up and consume the island, killing the witches and the non-magical mainlanders alike.  For this reason, each year the queen selects one mainlander to fall in love with and to kill for the sea.  Lina, a mainlander girl, is convinced that the queen will take her brother, but in her attempts to protect him she catches the attention of the Witch Queen herself.  When Lina decides to take the place of that year’s sacrifice, she believes she is acting out of bravery, doing the only thing that could be done to save those she loves.  But as the two girls wait for the full moon to bring the date of the ritual, they find themselves inexplicably falling for reach other, even as the tide begins to rise.

You can get your copy of The Dark Tide on June 2nd from Sourcebooks Fire!

I’ve never described a book as “atmospheric” before, but the sea-soaked island world of The Dark Tide made me understand the need to use that particular descriptor!  The world was absolutely enchanting and deeply immersive, with a system of magic unlike I’ve read before!  Alicia Jasinska infuses the fantasy with real character struggle and chemistry, balancing the world building with a thrilling plot line, making this book nearly impossible to put down!  Also, The Dark Tide has a sequel coming out in 2021 (and I’m going to be dying while waiting for it to come out)!

My Recommendation-
If you have been looking for a high stakes fantasy full of witchy spirit, The Dark Tide should definitely be your next read!  If you loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely or Winterwood, you won’t want to miss this book!
Was this review helpful?
DNF at 33%

The world-building is pretty cool (seriously in love with the place names), but honestly I'm going to need a little more to keep me invested despite these really lackluster characters.

Lina's all hot to trot for a boy that she loves despite speaking like, two sentences to him over an evening and fantasizing about him ever since he was the one boy a witch queen sacrificed herself for. And Eva is...ho hum boring.

Maybe it gets better, but I'm not planning on sticking around long enough to see.

I received this ARC for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The Dark Tide is a spooky, magical and atmospheric book about two very opposite girls that fight hard to get what they want, all while trying to fight the feelings slowly growning within them, that might put their plans upside down. 

This is a dual-pov story where we get inside the minds of Lina and Eva, the main characters. Lina is a naïve and passionate girl that loves too deeply and would do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones, even when that means sacrifices herself and not making the smartest decisions. Eva is a closed-off and cold girl that has suffered a lot at her young age, she doesn’t understand how romantic love works and only cares about her own interests. They’re both determined to get what they want, both as the pages go by the lines of who’s the enemy and who’s the ally get blurry, and they start to understand that they might benefit of working together.

I guess we could say that while Lina is fire, Eva is ice. And oh, they balanced each other perfectly. I had such a good time seeing how they slowly discovered what they felt for each other, trying to understand it, and get confused for it. I think the author developed their romance in a very realistic, complex and unique way. Eva and Lina have an amazing chemistry and their differences makes them perfect for each other, and I loved how the author balanced their interactions with the plot of the story and what was happening at the moment. The romance wasn’t too much, neither too little. However, I highly appreciate that the characters stick to their original plans despite the feelings they had for one another, and nothing was sacrificed in sake of the romance.

I want to make a special mention of Eva’s character development. It was a whole experience reading her chapters, she’s a very complex character and you can’t put a “bad” or “good” label in her, she’s somewhere in between and the author executed that perfectly. 

The plot couldn’t been more original. It’s very important that you know this: the enemy of this story is not a human, it is the sea. The tradition of giving to the dark tide someone the Witch Queen loves so it doesn’t drown the island is a very original concept, and a great element for the story to revolve around of. The fact that the characters aren’t fighting against an equal, but something as big as the sea itself, blew me away, and makes the reader even more invested in the story and how can the character possibly defeat the enemy.

It’s also important to mention the spooky vibes I got from this book. The atmosphere is perfect for Halloween season or reading it during the night, it’s not a scary book, but the author’s descriptions of the Water Palace and just the island in general trascend the pages and absorbs you into the narrative. I found this to be one of the strongest elements of this book, and despite being an island that might disappear under the water at any moment, I found myself wanting to be there and discover its eerie places.

There’s only two things that made me give four stars of this book instead of fight. The first one is that, despite the plot being so original and intriguing, the events were a little rushed and I just wanted more, but I didn’t have it. This might be because it’s just the first book in the series, and I definitely have high expectations with its sequel, but I can’t help but think that making the book a little longer would’ve had a positive impact on plot and character development.

And the second one is exactly that: the characters. While we had the time to understand and love Lina and Eva’s characters, I can’t say the same for the rest of them, and I would’ve like a little more scenes dedicated to develop the secondary characters in order to understand better the role they were playing in the story and why was really important to have them being a part of it.

To sum it up, I really enjoyed this book. Is one of the best dark-themed books I’ve read in the year, and the high expectatives I had with it were fulfilled. 

Review is going to be posted on Bellerose Reads ( on Wednesday, May 20th.
Was this review helpful?
When I requested the ARC of The Dark Tide I already knew that I was going to love it. Sapphic witches? Dark magic? Yes, please. Also, I'm not exactly known for my ability to resist a gorgeous cover so that definitely didn't hurt.

I have to admit, this book was quite different in tone to what I anticipated. The sinking island felt so much more menacing than expected and overall the mood was a lot darker than I thought it would be. "Dark" YA often feels quite transparent or tries to establish the mood through excessive violence or swearing, but The Dark Tide accomplished this without neither. The very atmosphere felt heavy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This was greatly helped by Jasinska's prose, which is beautiful. Her use of imagery really took my breath away and the way she described the sea and the tide as a living creature without it being on the nose was amazing.

The only thing that took me out of the story a little was the pacing. There were a couple of time jumps where I wish the book had simply been longer but shown the changing dynamic between Eva and Lina in more detail. I think because of the pacing the antagonist didn't carry as much weight either. If we'd seen the change in him, and in Eva's regard of him, more gradually the final scene could have been more impactful.

Basically I want this book to be longer.  The characters were flawed in an extremely human manner and their faults weren’t sugarcoated or glazed over. They actually showed real growth over the course of the book (what a concept). I'm so invested not only in the protagonists but also Finley and Thomas. I can't wait to read the next book!!
Was this review helpful?
I would describe this book as dark, witchy and atmospheric.

The prose is beautiful, every scenario is described in a way that the readers can see it in their mind. This makes you feel enchanted from the beggining, and I couldn´t stoped reading bacause of the need to know more and more about this world.

In this novel we have a small town where the witches rule and the sea is a monster hungry for blood. Every year a boy must be chosen as a sacrifice to “the dark tide” by the Witch Queen. And on St. Walpurga's Eve, Lina attend to the revel looking for his brother to save him. But things goes not as planned and Lina end making a dangerous deal to save the person she loves.

We follow the POV of two main characters: Eva, the Witch Queen, and Lina. Both are strong womens who protect the persons they love above all. I really liked to read from both perspectives, it made me connect more with Eva and Lina.

The plot has some topics already seen in YA fantasy and I´ve would liked to have some more pages to understand better everything about this world and the previous queens. Apart from that, I enjoyed the book a lot.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I was sold by the promise of it being a fairy tale, the wicked deep and witches. I saw Witches and Wicked Deep and instantly requested the e-ARC.

**Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the e-ARC**
On St. Walpurga's Eve a young, innocent boy has to be lured into the tower to die in order to save the island. Lina Kirk's secret love Thomas is selected, but Lina doesn't want this to happen. She volunteers to go in his place. Once there, Lina meets the queen Eva. Eva saw her sister die to save the boy she loved, and wants to do everything that is possible to save the city. The two start to fall for each other. 

I think that the world building was fantastic. It was so dark and visually beautiful. The whole description of the magical castle was great. The sea serpent was so interesting and I'm hoping it shows up in a sequel. I did have some questions about the world building, but it is the first in a series, thus I feel like it'll be answered in later books. 

The writing is also beautiful. It draws you in and just paints everything so clear. If you like books with beautiful writing I highly recommend this to you. 

I think this novel could've been a bit longer, because we would've got some more questions answered and some more development of Eva's sister. Overall, though I thought this book was great. Eva was interesting but I wish we got more backstory. Lina was fantastic though. She had a good heart and had a great arc. 

Disclaimer: I have no idea what this story was based off of, but I'm going to be looking it up now. 

4/5 stars. 
I recommend this to fans of beautiful writing, fairy tale settings and witches. I think if you like House of Salt and Sorrows, you should pick it up. They both are dark, fairytale retellings and you can feel like you are right in the story, experiencing the story with them.

Was this review helpful?
I thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a digital ARC of this book.

I was very excited to receive a ccopy of this book. The premise sounded very interesting, and the cover was very pretty, and since in the blurb it was described as a "dark fairy-tale" I was ready to love this book. But sadly, it failed to impress me.
The plot was nice: an island that requires a sacrified person every year, or it will be invaded by a dark big tide. The sacrified person is chosen by the Witch Queen, and this year's sacrifice is exchanged with a girl that wanted to save the life of the boy she loves. Sounds intriguing, right? Sadly, that's the only thing that's the best thing I found in this book.
The characters were okay too, but they didn't spark much personality. And during the brief moments they did, everything was ruined by one huge thing: the writing style. It wasn't insufferable in a cringey-cheesy way, but most of the action scenes were absolutely indeciphrable to me. I read them once, not understanding them, so I read them again, and another time just to be sure, and they still didn't have much sense. The magic system was absolutely incomprehensible to me: I understood the theory about how it works, but when it was practiced on page it what was happening wasn't explained at all. Same thing with the finale: I absolutely have no idea of what happened or how it happened. 
Overall this book was, sadly, unmemorable and I think it should have been developed more before it was ready to be published.
Was this review helpful?
This review is part of a blog tour with the publisher, it will be posted on my blog when the dates are rescheduled.

Why did no-one tell me this was a sapphic Tam Lin retelling?! I've been looking for something like this for years!

For generation's Lina's town have offered up one of their young men every year to become the Witch Queen's lover, so that she can sacrifice him to the sea, keeping their island afloat. But the last Witch Queen chose to sacrifice herself and save the boy, so now her sister Eva is queen. When Eva claims the boy Lina loves, the Lina offers herself instead.

It's a very dramatic, "I volunteer as tribute" type moment.

I really liked the relationship between Lina and her brother Finlay. As a sibling, it felt very real to me, very "no-one get to thrash you but me". It was nice to see a sibling relationship that's imperfect but not filled with jealousy or misunderstandings. Similarly, I really liked the dynamic between Lina and Eva, which starts out as antagonistic and very gradually -- in stops and starts and backsides -- evolves. I would have liked to see them interact just a little bit more though.

The Dark Tide is deliciously eerie and claustrophobic. There's a slow-building tension, an inevitable sense of looming disaster that closes in like Caldella's tide.
Was this review helpful?
The premise of this book was really interesting at first but, it fell flat for me after the half way mark. It just seemed like the plot was changing over and over again and the characters became very annoying. The ending was just rushed.
Was this review helpful?
This was such a magical read. I loved the magic and the LGBT characters. Can not wait to read the next. More, please!
Was this review helpful?
Amazing! I wish I could give it all the stars. I truly enjoyed every minute of this book and kept coming back for more and more and more.
Was this review helpful?
If you like dusty libraries, gothic castles and witchy characters, you'll fall in love with The Dark Tide. It has an atmosphere that lures you in and haunts you the entire time you read it.

The story starts, like all good stories, with a prophecy. The basic gist of it is that once a year, the tide will swallow the city whole unless the Witch Queen sacrifices some she loves to the tide. So once a year, a village boy will be spirited away by the Witch Queen as her sacrifice. However, this year the victim chosen is the boy Lina Thomas is secretly in love with; to save him she offers herself to the witch queen as a sacrifice instead. Cue the sapphic-ness.

What I liked the most about this story was the progression of Lina and Eva's relationship. They started off antagonizing and challenging each other but gradually softened and started working together towards a common goal. The scenes of them researching in the library were some of my favorites. The story has a nice slow burn romance that progresses into these dramatic confrontational scenes at the end and UGH the pining. All of it just god-tier.

What really adds to all the interactions is how beautiful Alicia Jasinska's writing is. She's incredibly talented with the way she describes the settings around the characters and their internal monologue. You'll get these beautifully broody scenes with Eva as she's pacing the halls of this Gothic castle and then there are cozy scenes with Lina studying a book in the library dozing off to sleep as a fire roars. The story draws you in and soon you won't even realize you're reading because you feel like you're watching it play out.

The Dark Tide was truly a fantastic read and if you love all things goth and sapphic, I cannot stress enough how much you need to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
This novel is one of the best I’ve read this year! The characters are so dynamic yet relatable. I loved the flow of the story. It held my attention the whole time.
Was this review helpful?
"Betrayal cut so much deeper when you loved the hand that held the knife."

This book was a lyrically written and a beautifully told story. The plot was one you just don't see these days. Lina Kirk is pretty sure she loves Thomas Lin, the only boy to ever escape his fate of being sacrificed by a witch who loves him to save their island from the dark tide. She thinks she's in love partly because he carried her home from school the day her ankle was broken and partly because he escaped from the witches, even making their queen offer herself as sacrifice instead. But she won't tell him. However, it's almost time for a new sacrifice to save the island from drowning and Lina is confident it will be brother this year, so she hides him away. But Finley escapes and Lina elicits the help of Thomas to find him before it's too late. All seems to be going well and she's making progress winning Thomas over when the new witch queen takes her face and seduces Thomas once again, hoping it will stop the curse brought on the island when her sister, the previous queen, died two years ago. Lina refuses to settle for Thomas being stolen once again, as she sees it as her fault, so she forces Finley to help her get him back and they both travel to the witches' tower where they begin to realize there's more at stake than they originally thought.

I truly loved the plot of this story and felt that it had so many pieces at play, being moved around expertly in a chess match where no one can anticipate the end. I had no clue of what would happen next and just how thus book would conclude. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Alicia would bring in something or bring up something from the past and I'd have to start my theories all over again. While the plot was refreshing, the magic system innovating, and the words just absolutely beautiful, the characters felt a little flat. I never found myself feeling the things they felt or wishing the best for all of them. I craved more kisses, but that was the least of my worries. Very rarely do I feel nothing for the characters. But, even in their saddest moments, I didn't have a spark of emotion towards them. I wanted to, trust me I did. I am thankful thought for such a great story to keep me engaged. Despite not feeling anything for them, I still wanted to know how their story would end. 

I greatly enjoyed Alicia's way of writing. She used such descriptive and flowery language to describe settings, moments, feelings that helped me fall in love with this book. I anxiously awaited each new turn of phrase just to see how she would piece phrases together in this chapter or this moment. I truly hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did. I look forward to more from this author in the future.
Was this review helpful?