“Over Raging Tides” by Jennifer Ellision

Hands up if you’re a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Hands up if you watched Pirates of the Caribbean and wished there were more female characters / that Elizabeth Swann was the whole crew.

Still got your hand up? Then you’re on roughly the same lines as Ellision when she wrote Over Raging Tides. She said it was inspiried by watching PotC and wishing first that there were more female characters, and then by wondering what would happen if they were all women.

Publication date: March 20th, 2018

I went through a fairly intense pirate phase when I was younger. You’d be forgiven for thinking I wore a pirate costume nearly constantly, because there are a disproportionate number of photos of me in one. This meant, of course, that I loved Pirates of the Caribbean, and I was a huge fan of Elizabeth — which probably explains why I found this extremely enjoyable to read.

One of the reasons it’s got such a similar vibe to Pirates of the Caribbean is the combination of regular, non-magical piracy (there’s nothing fantastical about the ship itself and it doesn’t run on stardust or something) with fantasy aspects, such as the monsters known as the Mordgris, and an enchanted map that will allow Grace to track them down. It’s set in a fantasy world, instead of in ours, which worked pretty well.

Grace is driven throughout the book by the fact that her mother was taken by the Mordgris. Her mother and her captain were lovers, and she’s now first mate of this ship, but she’s desperated to get revenge on these beings — which will only be possible if she finds a way to their home. It may seem a little silly to pick out that this book full of female characters featured a female protagonist driven by the fate of a female relative rather than by a man, because you’d think it’d go without saying, but it’s still always quite refreshing.

There is, however, A Man. Two men in fact. Well, a man and a boy, his younger brother, so watch out for sibling feels and everyone being protective of this Tiny Child who has somehow ended up on this ship. And there was a bit of romance, too, but thankfully it didn’t take over too much.

It’s hard to say more about the plot while avoiding spoilers, but I did get totally caught up in Grace’s quest and desperate to know if she’d succeed… and then the book ends on a HUGE CLIFFHANGER. Like. Huge. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? Of course it means I’ll have to read the sequel when it eventually comes out, but that’s okay — I enjoyed this a lot, and even the writing style worked fairly  well for me, which was a pleasant surprise because I’m ridiculously fussy.

Having said that, I’ll almost certainly have to reread this one when the next one comes out, because the details have already faded into the void that is my memory for plots.

Point is: this was great fun, and I liked almost everything about it except that the author decided to hurt me by leaving it on a massive cliffhanger. You could argue that it lacked resolution as a result, and that wouldn’t be unfair, but it’s too fun for me to hold that against it.

Rating: ****

Over Raging Tides (Amazon UK)

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