When Oceans Rise by Robin Alvarez
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: May 23, 2023
Submerged in a toxic relationship and disconnected from everyone, she turns to the sea to decide her fate. Its decision? Toss her to the sea witch.
Seventeen-year-old Malaya is cursed. In her family, every girl’s first love ends in death after falling for someone evil. Good thing Malaya’s dream guy isn’t monstrous.
Except the curse is real and preventing Malaya from noticing how much he has gaslit and isolated her until she can’t be saved. With no other options, the sea witch is the only one to help her. Bartering her voice for a new life where she and her abusive boyfriend never met, Malaya accidentally swaps places with an alternate timeline version of herself who didn’t make her mistakes. As she tries to undo the switch, the sea witch uses Malaya’s voice to unleash Filipino mythological creatures into the worlds.
Can a champion, an alternate timeline sister, and Malaya fight these beasts and stop the sea witch before she destroys both timelines?
Content Warning: gaslighting, one paragraph with physical abuse
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-oceans-rise-robin-alvarez/1142959880
Before I begin my review I quickly have to thank TBR and Beyond Tours for allowing me to be a part of this book tour and for graciously providing me with an eArc of the book for my review today.
Speaking of the book isn’t the cover gorgeous? I absolutely love the cover.
I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I really enjoyed this and that is only because I normally don’t read fantasy books. This was fairly a quick read and one that I really enjoyed. So much so that I ended up ordering a physical copy of the book because I really want to reread this one again. I tried not to speed through the book but at times it was hard. I definitely plan on picking up future books by Robin.
As I was reading I definitely could feel the vibes of The Little Mermaid and I have to say this version was really good. But there was also a little bit of a Filipino touch with monsters, mythology, and gods. Which I think really added to the story. I definitely need to read more retellings and I saw this every time I read one.
Our main character is Malaya a cursed seventeen-year-old girl. In her family, every girl’s first love ends in death after falling for someone evil. Can you imagine carrying that burden with you?
But thankfully for Malaya, her boyfriend isn’t evil, or at least that’s what she thinks. We all know that he has to be right. This curse is real and it’s got a hold on Malaya. She can’t see that he is isolating her. Malaya looks to the ocean for answers and knows that the sea witch is probably the only one who can help her although it comes with a price, but is Malaya willing to give in for it?
One thing that is definitely different is the alternating timeline. I wasn’t sure how it would work within the story but it did work.
One thing I really enjoyed was the fact it felt like you were a part of the story if that makes sense. I think it’s because as a reader we knew exactly what she was thinking and feeling.
This wasn’t a happy-go-lucky kind of book. It tackled a tough issue. It was very realistic and very impactful.
If you’re a fan of The Little Mermaid and are looking for a really good retelling then I have to recommend this. I think you would enjoy it.
About the Author:
Robin Alvarez is the author of the #1 New Release YA Ethnic Fairy Tale When Oceans Rise (May 2023). Strong female characters, mythological creatures, and mixed-race perspective are hallmarks of her work. While she’s spent the majority of her life in beach towns, having almost drowned several times, she currently resides in a desert where the waters are less likely to kill her.
Robin’s work has been featured on OwlCrate, ABC, and NBC news affiliates.