Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Today's read... Curious Tides by Pascale Lacelle

I want to shout-out a happy book birthday to today's read, but I'd be a little late. I just released last week and has perfect timing, since it should make an awesome October read. This one is a dark academia fantasy for the young adult audience...and isn't that cover amazing? It surrounds mystery, death, magic, and secret organizations...and don't you love the colors? So simple and yet so alluring?  It's the first in a new series and promises to be a grabber. And those moon phases right along with the tides...interesting!
Yeah, I like the cover on this one, too.

Oh, and don't forget that there is a solar eclipse crossing the southern corner of the U.S. on October 14th. I know this is a random reminder, but thought I'd throw it in. Honestly, I'm more excited about the full one hitting my area this coming April.  

But before I rant and steer anywhere else, let's dig in and find out if it's any good.

Drowned Gods, #1
by Pascale Lacelle
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Young Adult Fantasy
544 pages

Ninth House meets A Deadly Education in this gorgeous dark academia fantasy following a teen mage who must unravel the truth behind the secret society that may have been involved in her classmates’ deaths.

Emory might be a student at the prestigious Aldryn College for Lunar Magics, but her healing abilities have always been mediocre at best—until a treacherous night in the Dovermere sea caves leaves a group of her classmates dead and her as the only survivor. Now Emory is plagued by strange, impossible powers that no healer should possess.

Powers that would ruin her life if the wrong person were to discover them.

To gain control of these new abilities, Emory enlists the help of the school’s most reclusive student, Baz—a boy already well-versed in the deadly nature of darker magic, whose sister happened to be one of the drowned students and Emory’s best friend. Determined to find the truth behind the drownings and the cult-like secret society she’s convinced her classmates were involved in, Emory is faced with even more questions when the supposedly drowned students start washing ashore— alive —only for them each immediately to die horrible, magical deaths.

And Emory is not the only one seeking answers. When her new magic captures the society’s attention, she finds herself drawn into their world of privilege and power, all while wondering if the truth she’s searching for might lead her right back to Dovermere…to face the fate she was never meant to escape.

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    SPOTIFY    /     AMAZON


Dark, mysterious, dangerous, and all of that with a touch of possible romance.

Emory isn't thrilled about returning to school after the end of the last year left her as the sole survivor of a cave ritual gone wrong. Eight students drowned, and she not only carries guilt but has been left with a strange mark, which packs tons of mystery she doesn't begin to understand. As she tries to deal with the stares and inner-conflicts the beginning of the next school year begins, other dark secrets slowly come to light. There's more to the incident than she thought there was, and that knowledge might be more dangerous than those hours in the cave had been.

This read promises shadows, danger, secret societies, dangerous magic, and more...and it delivers with finesse. At over 500 pages, I was afraid this might drag, and while it does go deep into the characters' heads, it picks up pace each time it teeters on the edge of boredom. Thanks to the use of flashbacks, info-dumps are skirted while the important moments of the past dribble in bit by bit. This is never confusing and allows the background as well as character history to slide in at the right times to keep tension high.

While Emory isn't always the cleverest when it comes to walking head-on into problems, the tale is so well-woven that this character flaw didn't bother me as much as it usually would have. There are so many secrets to uncover and each one holds more behind it. A few aspects are predictable, but others are impossible to see coming. And that mixed with the chilling, dark moments worked well.

This is a solid beginning to a series and had me caught in the pages from beginning to end. Gothic fantasy fans won't be the only ones wanting to take a peek at this dark tale and get lost in the tides of magic as they come and go.

And here she is...

Pascale Lacelle is a French Canadian author from Ottawa, Ontario. A longtime devourer of books, she started writing her own at age thirteen and quickly became enthralled by the magic of words. After earning her bachelor’s degree in French literature, she realized the English language is where her literary heart lies (but don’t tell any of her French professors that). When not lost in stories, she’s most likely daydreaming about food and travel, playing with her dog Roscoe, or trying to curate the perfect playlist for every mood. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @PascaleLacelle.

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