Book Reviews

Review: The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

The Dark Tide is this haunting queer story about sacrifice and love. Full of witches and angry waves, The Dark Tide is perfect for people who want a story full of dangerous magic. If you like witches, keep reading this book review of The Dark Tide to find out all the magical goodness.


Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.

Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.
Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.

When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Dark Tide is a story about sacrifice, duty, and family. It is gorgeously written and has so much atmosphere and eeriness from the beginning. I adored how much the title was interwoven throughout the book – partly because they’re worried about flooding – but also because of the metaphors. I am a huge fan of witches combined with this idea of the costs of magic. No one feels it more than the witches who often have to give away parts of themselves. Or is that true? In The Dark Tide each month the village sacrifices a life as well and who is to say whose sacrifice is greater. There’s only power in sacrifice if you don’t want to give it.

Within The Dark Tide we are asked about this very question. Stuck in a cycle of revenge and resentment, could there be a different solution? The characters are motivated by the love of their family and their knowledge that their home is sinking. But I really lacked some character definition especially of the side characters. I wanted to get a better sense of what motivated them, their inner workings, and deepest secrets. The Dark Tide was so atmospheric and eerie, that I just wanted the characters to match those shadows and cobwebs.

Did I also mention there was dancing magic? I adored this element so much since it’s so underrated. There’s also a queer sapphic relationship which was precious. Overall, The Dark Tide asks us questions of forgiveness and sacrifices It’s a story of love, bitterness, and revenge. Can we stand our ground against the dark tide? Sometimes we give forgiveness too freely, to those who don’t deserve it, and other times we withhold it when we should let go.

Find The Dark Tide on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


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