Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life is explored in Song of the Current

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United By Pop received a free copy of Song of the Current in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.

Title: Song of the Current

Author: Sarah Tolcser

Purchase: Available in the UK and the US

Overall rating: 3/5

Great for: Fans of Irena Brignull, Tricia Levenseller and Cassandra Rose Clarke



Themes: Young adult, coming-of-age, fantasy and adventure

Review: Descended from generations of wherrymen, Caroline Oresteia has always been destined for the river. The river gods have yet to speak to her and her fate has yet to pronounce itself, but she knows her time is near. When her father is obtained by the harbour master and her fellow wherrymen’s boats, homes, and livelihoods are felled with cannon fire she wonders if this is all in the gods’ plans or merely the folly of men?

Either way, it is up to Caroline to save her father and avenge her people. She must venture alone into the troubled waters that is sure to follow this act of hatred towards the river folk and take charge of her own destiny if she is ever to return to freedom and home. With or without the song of the current to speak to her.

What immediately struck me, when reading this, was the elegant style of the prose. The dexterity of penmanship and the beautiful quotability of almost every line marked this as a stimulating read before I had even been introduced to the characters or understood the story. The prose was as melodic as the water so prominently featured, and a wonderful parallel was evoked between the telling and setting of the tale.

The rivers traversed felt like real landmarks, travelled through artful expressions and lyrical wording. It was Tolcser’s evocative prowess that managed to express both the river folk’s love for the life they lead and in making the reader mirror their reverence by also feeling the pull and sway of the waters.

The culture of these fantastical people was also wonderfully recounted. Nuances and particulars in expression or gesture consistently featured throughout the entire book and it made the lives they head feel real and rounded. Through one individual’s eyes, the reader is invited into both lands and a life unknown.

The idea of piracy and a life lived almost entirely on water has always been an intriguing one and has continued to captivate audiences in classics such ‘Treasure Island‘ to blockbusters such as ‘Pirates of the Caribbean‘. This tale wonderfully evoked the high-stakes adventure of these renowned escapades, with the exhilaration of daring feats and illicit accomplishments shared by both reader and characters alike.

This sense of adventure dogs the entire tale, and leads protagonist, Caroline, into all manner of strife. It also allows the somewhat-sheltered girl to blossom into a headstrong and independent woman, adept at harassing her enemies and overcoming fear. Her non-conformist attitudes and her ability to speak up for both herself and those she loves make her a captivating lead character. Her adoration for her father and life on the water is as strong as her feisty personality. By allowing her vulnerabilities to also be the place where she draws her inner-strength from, the reader is seduced into siding with this lovable yet scrappy rouge.

Whilst I loved all elements of this book I did also find one of the early surprises could be guessed at before its grand reveal. Tolcser dropped many hints for the reader to pick up on, which took away some of the wonder in revelation and what could have been a tense unveiling instead became a confirmation of something already known. I feared this would set the precedent for how all further twists were to be treated but every other turn of the plot had me at a loss before its reveal.

‘Song of the Current’ is one of the very few sea-set stories I have read and yet the adventurous spirit, that remained throughout, had me longing for the feel of the wind through my salt-encrusted hair. I felt as one with the waters as the characters and I hope a return comes very soon!

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