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Song of the Current

Review

Song of the Current

SONG OF THE CURRENT by Sarah Tolscer follows Caroline Oresteia --- Caro for short --- a girl raised on the river. She has always loved the water, but to her ancestors and fellow wherrymen, sailing is more than just a profession: it is, literally, a calling by the river god. Desperate to be “called” by the river god like her father, she waits to hear her name on the water. That’s why she agrees to carry cargo to Valonikos: perhaps if she proves her abilities, the river god will finally call her name ---- and also because her father is seized on charges of smuggling. If she can bring the cargo to its destination, her father will walk free.

However, it’s not a simple sailing mission. The cargo is wanted by the Black Dogs, a nefarious group of pirates sailing the river searching for it, the proof of their character --- and their intentions --- in the sunken, destroyed wherry ships at Hespera’s Watch. Caro sets sail with Fee --- a part frog, part human creature who has been the third member of Caro and her father’s crew. At first all is well, but the cargo becomes more complicated than simple supplies, and Caro soon has to decide whether to follow her agreement or her morals --- that is, if she can make it on the river.

"From near-escapes to espionage in disguise, the plot of the novel speeds forward at a pace that keeps the reader fully engaged. The banter between characters is wonderful, and the personalities of all of the characters are likeable and relatable."

Fans of pirate fiction, rejoice --- this book is for you. SONG OF THE CURRENT joins a freshly growing list of pirate and sailing teen fiction, including the likes of the Passenger series by Alexandra Bracken, The Girl from Everywhere series by Heidi Heilig, and, especially, DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING by Tricia Levenseller. From near-escapes to espionage in disguise, the plot of the novel speeds forward at a pace that keeps the reader fully engaged. The banter between characters is wonderful, and the personalities of all of the characters are likeable and relatable. Tolcser develops Caro and Markos (who the reader meets later on in the story) so well: too often authors tends to rush characterization and relationships between characters, but Tolcser builds both slowly and naturally, making the story much more believable and realistic. Caro’s own personal growth throughout the story is clearly evident as she explores her identity, her beliefs, and her morals, and her internal conflicts give her character weight and depth.

The setting of the story is unique --- books set on water are rare in young adult fiction, but SONG OF THE CURRENT certainly proves that this is a mistake. Who doesn’t love rough-and- tumble sailors and pistol-wearing pirates? Tolscer adds her own unique twist to this already rare genre with a larger focus on the river, rather than the sea, and a dose of fantasy to keep things interesting. Caro’s relationship with the river and the legends surrounding it add to her character and demonstrate that meaningful relationships can exist beyond two characters in novels --- they can exist between the main character and their very environment. The only weakness of the book is that the plot drags slightly at first, as the stage is set for conflict, but the latter half of the book is much more gripping and fast paced. Overall, Sara Tolscer proves that she can write an exciting story, and readers will be waiting to see what she writes next.

SONG OF THE CURRENT is the book for anyone stuck in a reading slump, anyone ready for a new genre, anyone who loves pirates and plotting, spying and sailing, legends, chases and good-old-fashioned adventures.

Reviewed by Rachel R., Teen Board Member on June 14, 2017

Song of the Current
by Sarah Tolcser

  • Publication Date: June 6, 2017
  • Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • ISBN-10: 1681192977
  • ISBN-13: 9781681192970