Sometimes I forget that sequels are coming, and having been absolutely swept away by These Rebel Waves, I forgot that we needed an amazing sequel. One of the downsides of being a book reviewer. Until I saw it on Edelweiss and was like, “OMG YES, I knew I needed this!” And These Divided Shores is everything I wanted and more.
As a child, she committed unforgivable acts to free Grace Loray from King Elazar of Argrid. Now Elazar’s plan to retake the island has surpassed Lu’s darkest fears: he’s holding her and his son, Ben, captive in an endlessly shifting prison, forcing them to make a weapon that will guarantee Elazar’s success. Escape is impossible—unless Lu becomes the ruthless soldier she hoped never to be again.
Vex failed to save Lu and Ben—and that torments him as much as his Shaking Sickness. With the disease worsening, Vex throws himself into the rebellion against Argrid. The remaining free armies are allied with the stream raider syndicates—and getting them to cooperate will take a strength Vex thought burned on a pyre six years ago.
Imprisoned, betrayed, and heartbroken, Ben is determined to end his father’s rampage. Watching Elazar sway the minds of Grace Loray as he did those of Argrid, Ben knows he has to play his father’s game of devotion to win this war. But how can a heretic prince defeat the Pious God?
As armies clash and magic rises, Lu, Vex, and Ben will confront their pasts . . . or lose their futures forever.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: Torture, drug use
These Divided Shores throws us straight into the fray. Picking up moments after These Rebel Shores, we are reminded of the losses we suffered, comrades we lost, and the battles to come. What I loved most about These Divided Shores is that in this book our characters are forced to confront their actions from These Rebel Waves. It’s a story of betrayal, love, and revenge. When the people we love are used against us as weapons to ensure obedience. In many ways, this sequel is heartbreaking. When the people we loved and trusted most betray us in the worst of ways.
But at the same time, what makes These Divided Shores even more compelling are the shifting loyalties and motivations behind these actions. Even as your anger is boiling under your skin, you are granted a glimpse into their poisonous rhetoric, their blind belief. The way that magic, propaganda, and belief intersect. Creating this highly dangerous, combustible mixture that can turn on us in an instant. Sometimes it feels like we have no chance against the rising waves. But it’s about that moment when we decide we need to take a stand.
Found Family and Loyalty
All of these characters are coming together. Whether it be our old favorites or new allies. And what are they fighting for? For unity, family, revenge? One of my favorite scenes sums up part of the soul of These Divided Shores when they talk about the family they’ve created. How it is isn’t conditional on behavior. On adhering to the party line, to the family orders. It’s a relationship, a love, born of individuality, and the experiences that bind us. It also features a m/m relationship!
At the same time, These Divided Shores is about the separation of our heritage, our country, from our actions and beliefs. How we should not be defined by our nationality, instead focusing on our actions, our worlds, and our loyalties. The need to get past years of prejudice and bloodshed to face a greater evil.
These Divided Shores is a story about how there are no real right answers – just what we can live now and afterwards. If people are bystanders, do they deserve the same treatment? It is a book that really examines loyalty, punishment, and the strength to stand up against a system of oppression and belief. Do we become monsters to win a monstrous war?