GALAXY BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Alicia Jasinska’s The Dark Tide is a truly impressive debut YA fantasy with compelling leads, thoughtful and considered world-building with tones of feminism and diversity handled with such deft subtlety that they never feel anything other than natural and balanced. Talented and passionate dreamer Lina is determined to distinguish herself in romantic legend, and when her crush and her brother are in danger of being sacrificed to the dark tide to keep the island city afloat, she offers herself to save them. Pragmatic witch queen Eva can only perform a successful sacrifice if she loves the person being given over and grieves their loss but has locked her heart away after her sister released her sacrifice and drowned in his place. Unsatisfied by the previous sacrifice, the dark tide shows its rage and hunger by rising higher than ever and threatens to destroy the entire city.
The story is a slow-burn 'enemies to lovers' romance between Lina and Eva as they look beyond their preconceptions of themselves and each other, while coming together to find a long term solution to save the city instead of the ritualised band aid of a human sacrifice. Lina woke up the cold Eva, while Eva taught Lina to see her life as reality rather than a series of romantic myths. Alicia Jasinska created nuanced characters in her leads and their relationships with their families, as well as showcasing the revelation of Thomas Lin, the charismatic boy who attracted Lina’s affection, and is simultaneously idealised and reviled for seducing a queen to die in his place, to the detriment of the city. The human and witch citizens need each other in order to maintain their island home as much as they resent each other for the sacrifices they must make, only seeing what they must give up for the other, and overlooking the dark tide as the cause. Allison Rogers
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.
Convinced her handsome brother is going to be taken this year, Lina Kirk enlists the help of the mysterious Thomas Lin, her secret crush, and the only boy to ever escape from the palace after winning the love of a queen. Working together they protect her brother but draw the queen's attention.
Queen Eva cast away her heart when her sister died to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won't make the same mistake. With the tide rising higher than ever before and the islander's whispering that Eva's magic is failing, she's willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.
When Thomas is chosen as sacrifice, Lina takes his place and the two girls are forced to spend time together as they wait for the full moon. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, the two girls 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.