Cover Image: The Rebellious Tide

The Rebellious Tide

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Member Reviews

A very slow and very at time really dragging tale of occasional melodrama and occasional plot progression. If this book was a colour, it would be grey for how dull it felt. And not even the queer rep could make me like it.
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Now this is a good read for pride month. I started to enjoy at the beginning but as the story proceeded I felt like the pace was slow and the author seemed to tell what to feel and how to feel through the narration, regarding the plot. It would've been better if there were some things for the readers to imagine. 

At some places it was unnecessarily melodramatic. But I liked the writing style and the characters. 

And if we talk about the theme, it's hard to grapple just one as it covers a lot. We have extra marital affairs, abusive marriage, toxic masculinity, queer love and the dilemma regarding it. 
So overall this book conveys a message which is inspiring.

And lastly, thank you NetGalley and the publishers for providing this ARC.
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Thank you so much, NetGalley and Dundurn Press, for the chance to read and review this book.

TW: assault, sexual harassment, violence, human trafficking, homophobia, hate crime

Sebastien has only heard stories about his mysterious father, a sailor who abandoned his pregnant mother and left them and when, after a life of struggles, his mother dies, he become obsessed with finding an explanation and maybe revenge too. Boarding a luxury liner where his father Kostas is the commanding officer and posing as a member of the crew, slowly Sebastien uncovers a dark reality and ugly secrets, hidden behind luxury and money. After a public assault triggers the crew's outrage and after joining a revolt against the ruling class of officers, Sebastien finds himself more and more involved in the fight, questioning himself and his own identity and anger.

I liked reading The rebellious tide and I found really fascinating how the luxury liner, the Glacier, replicated the society separations, separating rich from poor, powerful from powerless. In a complex and very relatable microcosm, where the high floors belong to the rich and officers and the lower ones to crew and staff and abused and oppressed workers, Sebastien slowly starts to realize the cruelty and unfairness aboard the ship, where his own father rules on them all, smothering and abusing them. 

Sebastien is a complex and skillfully written main character. The story swings from past to present, slowly piecing his history, past and relationship and the reader gets to know him in his rage and shame, in his powerlessness and determination, in his desire to revenge and release. Intense and brilliant is his relationship with his mother and the wonderfully way the author described their struggles in a city where they couldn't manage to fit and be accepted, fighting against the people's stares and prejudices against a single mother and a poor family. Important is also Sebastien's relationship with Sophie, the way they connect and "use" one other and their growth and the relationship with Jerome and the hope for their future.

While the author focuses on Sebastian's search for this father, his revenge and his relationships, queer and hetero, important is also the ship microcosm, very similar to the society, in its "game" of oppressed and saved, hunted and hunters, rich and poor, violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence. In this situation, Sebastian and his friends move, fighting against oppression, to be free to be themselves and to love who they chose to love and not to be used and abused.

The writing style is captivating and the worldbuilding, the microcosm, the ship and the various references to the Greek mythology are interesting and fascinating. 
While I really loved the references, the plot and the writing style, I have to admit I didn't like so much the characterization, because, apart from Sebastien, the other characters seemed a bit too flat and, above all, his relationship with Nikos and their reference to be Achilles and Patroclus left me a bit baffled, because their relationship wasn't the tragedy one as the original heroes.

Aside these two things I didn't fully liked, the book is really interesting and captivating and I was impressed by how a search for a father became something so complex and intricate, with a compelling worlduilbing, a thrilling mystery and important themes.
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Great book, highly recommend for any reader who enjoys the genre and wants to check a box for Pride Month. Will be purchasing for library.
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I don't know where to start with The Rebellious Tide. I really didn't like it and, to be honest, I found the whole plot a bit contrived and over the top. The book takes itself very seriously, but I found these serious moments almost comical--the part where Sebastien beats Sophie's father with a lacrosse stick, the dramatic cake delivery, etc. The writing chose to tell us everything rather than show us and was riddled with infodumps about Sebastien's backstory. Yawn. The metaphors were heavy-handed and the characters were one-dimensional. Maybe this story would have worked as a film, but it definitely didn't work for a book.
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I really enjoyed Boutel-Tan's first book "After Elias." It is a clever book filled with emotion and it's very well-written. I didn't feel the same connection to Boutel-Tan's second novel, The Rebellious Tide.

When his mother passes away, Sebastian Goh embarks upon a journey to find his absent father. He knows who his father is, but his mother has revealed very little over the  years. Sebastian finds his father is Captain on a cruise ship and wrangles himself a position as ship photographer. Once he's onboard, an attempted assault by one of the officers sparks off a mystery that carries through the rest of the novel.

To begin with what I enjoyed about this story I will start with the cruise ship environment. I really felt as though it was an interesting setting for a story. The confined space and limited population allowed the author to speed up some of the plot without it seeming too unbelievable. I quite liked the "found family" sensibility that most of the staff had although it did seem as though Sebastian became "one of them" entirely too quickly.

I feel as though the pacing of the story suffered by the POV switching that happened on occasion. It was a little disconcerting and I wasn't quite sure why the author chose to switch narrators. Sometimes, it was very jarring and took me a bit of time to realize I was no longer reading Sebastian's voice.

I really liked the way that the author described the small town that Sebastian grew up in. The flashbacks were my favorite part of the story. The closeness and sometimes suffocating small-town environment was conveyed really well. Sebastian had never fit in and perhaps that is why he seemed to quickly accept the "found-family" atmosphere of the cruise ship.

As the story unfolds, I found it a bit difficult to keep track of some of the characters. There were multiples officers, dancers, staff and I had trouble keeping track.

The main relationship in the book is between Sebastian and the officer who is head of security, Nikos. I'm afraid I found it went from 0 to 60 amazingly quickly and I found it difficult to buy into it. They met, hooked up and were suddenly referring to each as Achilles and Patroclus like love-sick teenagers. It was all a bit overwhelming and I couldn't suspend my disbelief to buy into their bond.

Sebastian is an interesting character but I found that I certainly didn't "like" him. That's not necesarilly a bad thing, but I find it deifficult to write anyhing pleasant about him. I thought he was maniulative, aggressive, at one points he terrifies and threatens a child. More than wanting to discover what his father is like, he seems to want to destroy everything around his father. Ther's very little interaction between Sebastian and his father, although his father does eventually reveal that he has known who Sebastian was all along. I found the whole thing very strange.

The mystery/ crime plot that runs parallel to the self-discovery of Sebastian is almost like a different book sometimes. There is a crime being perpetrated on the cruise ship - it's clever... and makes sense as the kind of crime that would lend itself well to being at home on a cruise ship. But, I found the crime story and the family issue became tangled almost in a forced way. I feel as though there would have been a really engaging story if the author had simply stuck with writing about Sebastian's discovery of his past without him becoming almost a crime fighting super hero.

Even though there was a fair amount that didn't work for me, I finished this book because I wanted to know what would become of the relationship between Sebastian and the others. I was a little disappointed with the ending as it felt a bit rushed.
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The Rebellious Tide started very, very strong, but the more I read it, the less I liked it. I haven't read Eddy Boudel Tan's debut, but it came highly praised, so I was expecting just a bit....more from this one. The dialogue was a bit stagnant and unrealistic, and I didn't particularly like many of the characters throughout (that's not the reason I disliked the book - this could very well be intended by the author). 

Overall, The Rebellious Tide was just eh for me. I didn't particularly love it, but I didn't hate it either.
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Thanks to Dundurn Press and NetGalley for the free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Rebellious Tide by Eddy Boudel Tan follows Sebastien. His mother has died, and with his relationship falling apart, he finds himself running away to a cruise ship, in search of the father he's never known. This book tackles a LOT, and it boils down to a very simple message: everyone has a choice.

Sebastien struggles with his identity, his past, his father, and external forces in this book. And while it all comes together, it feels like so much happens at once and Sebastien has similar reactions to most of it. And there's a reveal very close to the end of the book that felt a bit... silly to keep to the end. We could've known this about Sebastien beforehand and nothing fundamentally would have shifted. 

I liked a lot of what this book was trying to do, but it got a little muddled in the telling. I really enjoyed this author's first book, so I'll definitely keep an eye out for his next book.

On a separate note, the flashback sections were indiscernible from the main text, and a marker or indication of some kind would have made the reading experience a little smoother.
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DRC provided by Dundurn Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Representation: queer Singaporean-Greek protagonist, gay Ukrainian secondary character, Indian secondary character, queer Greek secondary character, Greek secondary and tertiary characters, Singaporean tertiary character, Filipino tertiary characters.

Content Warning: death, racism, classism, slurs, violence, mentions of sexual harassment, mentions of physical abuse, homophobia, mentions of hate crime, mentions of torture, sex-negativism, human trafficking, violence.
The Rebellious Tide is Eddy Boudel Tan’s sophomore compelling literary endeavour, a story about found families, anger, love, justice and introspection.

Sebastien Goh, after years of observation from afar, decides to leave his hometown to go meet the father who abandoned him and his mother in Canada years before, and to look for answers. His journey towards the truth will unveil more than he thinks.

This novel was heavy and raw and angering and inspiring and reflective. I loved the author’s writing style, although I found it hard sometimes to understand whose point-of-view I was reading from. Nonetheless, Eddy Boudel Tan has an amazing voice and I am looking forward to get my hands on his debut After Elias, so that I can revel again in his words.

I really liked Sebastien’s internal development and the array of fully fleshed-out secondary and tertiary characters (my eternal love to Ilya and Diya and Rosa).

The Rebellious Tide is definitely deserving of a read!
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Strong start but I struggled with this one as the plot progressed. 

What I liked: the opening chapters in Quebec, the concept of a story set on a luxury liner, the queer rep that wasn’t hyper focused on labels, found family goodness

What didn’t work for me: the multiple references to Greek mythology that just didn’t connect or feel accurate (like the Achilles and Patroclus references), the insta-lust romance, the “sympathetic” villain aspect.

I really liked Sebastien but I wanted more from the story.

Thank you NetGalley for the eARC.
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I am thankful for the given opportunity granded by Netgalley and Dundurn Press.

DNF 
Ah I was so excited for this one and chose it especially as my first book in Pride Month. Unfortunately I was the wrong audience for it. While I expected something more mature, it read almost like a YA Fanfiction. Here we have a perspective that is all over the place and yet it doesn't really go deep into the characters. I usually like Greek Mythology references but the use in this one is just way over the top. On another note, I didn't realise this was modern day-ish? I don't know why, maybe the cover made me think this was set in the 1800.I refrain from publishing a review online as I didn't finish this book.
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A gripping story with lots of intense and emotional moments. The characters were very complex and fleshed out and the writing was beautiful!
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In The Rebellious Tide, after suffering a tragedy, Sebastien decides to embark on a journey to find his biological father. That leads him to the Glacier - a cruise ship that acts not only as the novels setting, but one of it's main characters - and sweeps him into a new life of excitement. 

Sebastien watches his father - now the ship's captain - closely, stewing in his anger. But, before he can reveal to his father who he is, Sebastien gets wrapped up in a conspiracy that threatens life as the ships inhabitants know it. What begins as a thrilling trip filled with parties and lust, quickly turns into fight between the powerful and the powerless. 

The Rebellious Tide is a thrilling ride from start to finish. Eddy Boudel Tan is fantastic at setting the scene and making you feel like you're a guest on the Glacier. At times, the novel reads like a screenplay: it feels a bit unfinished at times, and many of the side characters feel like stereotypes of themselves. But, Tan does an excellent job at making Sebastien a compelling main character.

Overall, The Rebellious Tide is an fast paced and thrilling novel, with a few bumps in the road. The Glacier feels lived in and threatening, making the novel a mix of Titanic (1997) and Triangle (2009). I can't wait to see what Eddy Boudel Tan does next!

Thank you to Dundurn Press and NetGalley for the ARC!
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Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn press for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Rebellious Tide tells the story of Sebastien, a young biracial man who, after losing his mother, joins the staff of a luxury liner where the father he has never met works as a high ranking official. It is very much a story of found family and grappling with one's identity, with an element of mystery and the exotic setting of a cruise ship sailing the Mediterranean.

This novel looked very promising but I'm sad to say it fell a bit flat for me. When I picked it up I was expecting a reflective book that went deeper into Sebastien's journey of self-discovery than into the mystery plot, and that wasn't what I found. We do get a good amount of Sebastien struggling with his identity, his past actions and his growing self-awareness, and I think that was where the author's writing shone, but it was outstaged by the melodramatic antagonists and some elements (*cough* stun guns and tranquilizer darts *cough*) that seem taken from the most clichéd Hollywood action movies.

I enjoyed the interspersed anecdotes and the portrayal of Petit Géant, the town where Sebastien grew up. I think the author really captured the oppressive atmosphere of its small community while also letting readers know that Sebastien's unkind view, while justified, is incomplete. However, when it comes to life aboard the cruise ship, there was a lot of telling and little showing. For example we're often told that the members of staff and the crew think of each other as family, including Sebastien (even if he has barely been there for two weeks and for all we know most of his socialising has been limited to Ilya and Diya). I just couldn't believe the found family trope here because nothing had happened to justify these unbreakable bonds. Another problem I had was the big amount of secondary characters (although I must give the author props for the diversity), there are too many for any of them to feel fully developed. The exception would be Nikos, he was very interesting and solid.

All in all, The Rebellious Tide was entertaining and I believe it will be a good pick for people looking for a fast-paced mystery with a diverse cast of characters. It just wasn't for me!
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DNF

I feel so bad that I can't finish this book, but the more I read, the more I feel like I am forcing myself to finish it. I just am not enjoying it. The plot is very convoluted and confusing, and it's just a very different book than what I thought it would be from the synopsis. The addition of the greek mythology aspect was also confusing and felt out of place.
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Thank you to Dundern Press and netgalley for gifting me a copy of the eARC of this title in exchange with an honest review. 

I love EBT's writing style. I loved his first novel last year, and this is just as exceptional. 

I really enjoy the way the characters values and traits and stories are revealed bit by bit through flashback and memories throughout the story, and how the 'good people can do bad things' replicates into the present day storyline. 

So what is this about? 
The story follows Sebastien in his late twenties in the days before and months following his mother's passing. He has never met his father, but knows his name and occupation. Armed with only this, Sebastien embarks on  life-changing journey which sees him working on a luxury liner. 

The setting of this is amazing. Sebastien gets a job on the ship and with such close quarters it feels like high stakes when things start to become more tense. The closed setting also allows the characters to form a quick and deep friendship which I loved as well. 

There is a mystery- type element to this story as Sebastien begins to uncover goingson on the ship itself and this was so well done. 

Loved it!
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2.5/5 

I wanna first start off by saying the writing of this novel was well written. It kept me engaged, through the proses. But story wise, the characters grew to upset me along with the plot. Our main character starts off so shy and kinda lost in the world. And then when he goes onto a cruise ship, looking for his father. Who runs the ship; he grows a voice and completely ditches his shyness. For me that was one of the big things to bother me. Another, the side characters, I couldn’t remember who was who cause none really stuck out to me. This definitely turned out differently than I expected it. But like I said in the beginning, the writing was beautiful and for that I’m giving it a 2.5 stars, but story wise, I wasn’t engaged.
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I feel of two minds about this book. It is well written, but the story turns from one about identity and being alone in the world to a mutiny on a ship, and it all feels a bit schizophrenic. I thought this was going to be a book mostly about the protagonist, a half-Singaporean, half-Greek man who is trying to find his father after his mother's untimely death. It should be about discovery and figuring out where you came from, and it is to an extent. But when Sebastien joins the crew of a ship that his errant father (who he has never met) in order to stalk him, it becomes a very different book, and not one I enjoyed as much. But it may appeal to you, this chance in place and tone, just not my cup of tea. Still, a well-written book from a very good author.
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The premise of this novel sounded very intriguing, but the result is not pretty, alas. The story moves sporadically and often confusingly, and the writing style does not help. The author’s previous book seems to get better reviews so I will try it.
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Eddy Boudel Tan writes the age-old story of pompous kings, bastard sons and simmering rebellion – just with a new age flair and based on a cruise ship, or as the characters would like to correct me, a luxury liner.
The formula might be old but the introduction of a new setting brings an unimaginable freshness to the story and it is only achievable because of the way it’s written. Most of the credit goes to the characters – from the golden trio of Ilya, Diya and Sebastian, to our bad guys, the crew and staff of the ship and even the ones Sebastian leaves behind. All the characters are fleshed out in detail that you can see that the author certainly loves each of them. While the story was a little predictable (owing to the clichés it was working around and the oft-told storyline), I had a lot of fun reading it.
I came to this book with a set of ideas and certain expectations from a story of an estranged father-son pair, and this book blows them all away in the very first chapter with the seriousness and emotions it confronts you with. Once I got the hang of the mood the writing was attempting to set, it was an amazing ride.
I have to talk about the female characters in the story, even though all the major characters are male, the women outshine them when given the chance – Diya, Contessa, Ruby, Rosa (my favourite), Elena, Alexis, Athena – they were all strong and amazing in their own way. I absolutely adore Rosa – the lady who was a marshmallow at heart but still would wield a sword in the fight if needed (and also feed the enemy energy bars out of sympathy). And Diya! I was so happy to find at the forefront a badass mathematician who had my last name!!
(I will be posting this review on my Bookstagram page in the upcoming week - @the.bookgarden)
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