I love Alex Lidell’s TIDES series, so as soon as I got an email saying book 3 was available, you know I one-clicked that and started reading. It took me a little while to jump back into this world and remember what had happened in the previous two books, but this book turned out to be a thrilling, adventurous, slightly darker addition to the series.
An impossible mission. Dangerously growing magic. A distrustful crew. Can Nile beat back the rising tide of war before it’s too late?
Six months have passed since Princess Nile Greysik changed the course of the Tirik war and earned her place in the Felielle navy . . . or thought she did.
With the war taking a violent new turn, Nile—joined by a cryptic empath named Kyra—sails out to beg support from the isolationist Diante Empire. But with a chauvinistic crew waiting for Nile to fail and even Domenic questioning her authority, one wrong step could strip Nile of her command mid-voyage.
When a terrifying new evil strikes their ship, Nile begins to understand the awful truth about the enemy they’re facing—and this time, not even her wind calling may be enough to save them.
SEA AND SAND is the explosive third novel in the Amazon-bestselling Tides series, a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Tamora Pierce
Explosive is a good word for this novel. This is the third book in a series that follows Nile, now a princess as well as a navy lieutenant/captain, and her companions as they fight to save their countries, and really their world, from Tirik invaders.
If you haven’t read the first two books in the TIDES series, I strongly recommend doing so before picking up this book. The world Nile lives is is complex, and very well written, so it would be hard to jump into this book without the background knowledge gained from the previous titles. It was even a little hard jumping back in after having read the first two books many months ago; I almost wished I reread them before starting the third. However, once I got a few chapters into the story, everything started coming back and I was able to fully enjoy this newest installment.
Captain Nile Greysik has been invited to sail to the Diante Empire to meet with their leaders, and hopefully convince them to join as allies to fight against Tirik. “Captain” being the operative word. Nile has supposedly earned her spot in the Felielle Navy, but they struggle with placing her in command of a ship, because of course a woman can’t command a warship *sarcasm*. But the invitation from Diante forces their hand to an extent, and the Admiralty places Nile in command of the Helix, in name more than in duty. One of the things I love about this book is that it doesn’t gloss over the immense challenge it is for Nile to earn the respect of her crew. Sexism is rampant in the Felielle society, especially within the superstitious environment of a sailing vessel, and I like that this doesn’t just disappear because she’s a skilled sailor. I think it’s an important commentary on the struggles women face even today to be taken seriously doing “a man’s work.”
But we don’t have just one badass girl in this group. While I feel like TIDES is largely Nile’s story, the book is also told from the viewpoints of several other characters. One such character, new to this book, is a fire-caller named Kyra. I like this character because while she seems much softer and more “traditionally” feminine than Nile, she’s strong in her own way. She has principles and she sticks to them as best she can, and her utter focus on nonviolence and caring for the people around her was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise pretty violent book. (Don’t worry, it’s not violent in a gratuitous or overly-gory way; but a book about war inherently comes with violence.)
One thing that was slightly disappointing in this book was the relationship between Nile and Domenic. I love them as a couple (even though he’s kind of a jerk sometimes), and I wanted to see their relationship continue to develop and grow in this story. I didn’t really feel that we got that in this installment, but this is a minor gripe in an otherwise fantastic story.
The main conflict Sea and Sand is the on-going battle with Tirik, and the alarmingly changed tactics of the Tirik navy. Their soldiers have suddenly become more aggressive, and have included never-before-seen suicide attacks, which changes the game and makes the Diante Empire’s support even more crucial. I won’t spoil anything that our protagonists uncover about Tirik and these changes, but I will say that this book has some darker elements than the previous two titles. What’s going on with Tirik is pretty twisted, and I like that it’s something you can’t really see coming until the characters find out for themselves.
All in all, I really loved this book. I am NOT HAPPY about the cliffhanger ending, only because I want to find out what’s going to happen immediately, but at least that’s the sign of a great story. If you like seafaring adventures with kick-ass girl protagonists (more than one!), you can’t go wrong with the TIDES series.
Sea and Sand is now available: Amazon
*Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is available for free.