Narrator: Kaitlin Bellamy
Series: Tides #1
on 8 September 2017
Length: 6 hrs and 57 mins
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Master and Commander meets Sarah J Maas in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess's quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.
After a lifetime of training, 17-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission - and fails.
Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battle worthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile's blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.
But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.
Air and Ash is the thrilling first installment of the TIDES series. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Tamora Pierce, and David Weber.
©2017 Alex Lidell (P)2017 Alex Lidell
I was pretty impressed with this story. It’s got high seas adventure, family turmoil, a hero on the run, inner demons, and impending war. Nile Greysik, AKA Nile Ash, had me sitting on the edge of my seat more than once. She comes from a family of proud naval service and she has a warrior’s heart. Her brother Clay can’t uphold the family honor so it’s left to Nile. Yet the thing I liked best is that Nile comes from a society were men and women can hold equal rank and take on any job. Yet because of her brother’s impairment, she has a great weight on her shoulders to carry on the family tradition.
Politics force Nile to flee from family and duty to try to make her own destiny. On the surface, the plot has a very familiar path. Lidell’s genius is in taking this well-trodden story backbone and putting a beautiful, entertaining face on it. Nile has all this training from a young age, as many young girls and ladies do, coming from a society that has a great amount of equality. However, then she steps into a culture that isn’t so equality-minded when she signs up on the first ship she comes across, the Aurora. There’s still women sailors, but with an incompetent captain and leaders who hand out harsh punishments, Nile has quite a bit to get used to.
Then there’s the magic in this world. Those that have magic are treated as the cursed, the magic often making them addled and unfit for any regular work. Nile’s brother Clay suffers from this and Nile is driven to find a cure. This becomes far more important as the story unfolds. The sheer potential for this magic to both tear apart or save Nile’s world is captivating. There were times when I was talking out loud to Nile, wanting her to win out over the magic.
There’s several other interesting characters. Catsper was my favorite. He’s a warrior both in heart and in training. He trains the young crew on hand to hand combat and provides extra training to Nile. While he has a rough outer countenance, he can also keep a secret. He does his best to keep the ship running smoothly despite Rima, the incompetent captain, and Johsina (who has quite the cruel streak). Anna makes an interesting counterpoint to Nile, since she wants to settle down and make babies.
Domenic Jana serves as the First Officer. While he’s known for handing out harsh punishments, he also tries to be fair about it. Since I first met him off the ship in a moment of weakness, I expected him to be a warm, fuzzy character on board ship. Not so! And this intrigued me. I want to know more about Domenic. While I didn’t really care for the romance angle, I still found this character worthy. Kendrick, a young lad of a sailor, starts to come into his own and I really hope we get to see more of him in Book 2.
In short, this is a fast-paced wind whipping tale of magic and duty. Despite the typical forbidden romance bit, I really enjoyed this tale. I want more! Luckily, I hear that Book 2 is coming to audiobook soon.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Kaitlin Bellamy was so darn good! She really brought these characters to life. I feel she threw herself into this story living out each part of it. Her voice for Nile was perfect, capturing the myriad of emotions that Nile goes through. I found each of her characters distinct and her male voices believable. I especially liked her voice for Catsper, sounding so tightly controlled like he’s on the edge of violence. I also liked her voice for Clay, who often mimics those around him. She had to perform different accents for various cultures in this fantasy world and she did them well. Great narration all around!
This review first appeared on DabOfDarkness.com