My Thoughts on From Tormented Tides by Val E. Lane

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I learned about this book through TikTok from the author and was super intrigued about it right away. And was lucky enough to get an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of From Tormented Tides by Val E. Lane. This book is a contemporary pirate fantasy with a slow-burn romance that starts out with a snippet of what’s to come at the climax of the book. And I was hooked right away from the prologue. So, I’m going to be breaking down my thoughts on the book without giving too many spoilers.

Synopsis

Unravel the past. Break the curse. Pass midterms.
And don’t fall in love with dead pirates…

Katrina Delmar has no idea that Milo, the charming guy she meets at a college party, was supposed to have died at sea 300 years ago. She only knows that she’s drawn to him right away. But she’s also caught the attention of his crewmate, Bellamy, whose mysterious allure is hard to resist.

Falling for undead pirates is the least of her worries when there seems to be something sinister lurking beneath the surface. And when the ruthless captain of the ship discovers Katrina may hold the key to breaking the crew’s curse, he’s hellbent on taking it from her at whatever cost.

With time running out, Katrina must learn who she can trust and unlock the mysteries of the past before she and those she loves are pulled under by a curse of her own.

Book Details

  • Published: July 25, 2022
  • Page Count: 377 pages
  • Genre: New Adult, Sea Adventure Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy
  • Trigger Warnings:
    • Mentions of suicide
    • Attempted suicide
    • Alcoholism
    • Nightmares/hallucinations
    • Drowning
    • Very brief implied SA threat
    • Violence
    • Death of a loved one
    • Brief torture
    • Case of a violent murder

Thoughts on From Tormented Tides

From Tormented Tides starts off with a snippet of the end of the book. But you don’t know who the guy it’s referencing is. As you read the book, you learn there are two main guys that Katrina interacts with from the pirate crew who has been cursed for the last 300 years to never truly die and drown every single day when dawn arrives. Those guys are Bellamy and Milo. So, for the majority of the book, you’re trying to figure out which one points a sword at her chest threatening to kill her by the end of the book. And from the way the prologue is written you know they care for each other to come extent. Or she trusted the guy to come extent as she says “I still trusted him. We were two broken hearts…” Even as the relationship develops between Katrina and her pirate, you are still left wondering between Bellamy and Milo who’s it going to be. As they say, you can never trust a pirate.

I loved the way Val E. Lane wrote this book. The pacing was great with Katrina trying to figure out how to break two curses: her family’s and that of the pirates. There’s magic, a sort of love triangle (but not the kind I typically hate), slow-burn and realistic romance, and mystery surrounding what happened 300 years ago that sparked the two curses. While it is very much set in the modern world, it still managed to capture my attention for all the reasons I started before. Which isn’t something a lot of books set in the modern world manage to do.

Almost all the characters are fully fleshed out that get mentioned. They all have solid backstories and personalities, so they don’t feel like background characters. You understand their motivations and how they tie into the story. Even the college students that Katrina interacts with through her roommate McKenzie. At times she can be much, but that’s just part of her charm. She’s there to keep the story grounded in reality and modern times when Katrina is pulled into the world of 300-year-old curses, ghost pirates, and mermaids/sirens. Not to mention, helps Katrina on more than one occasion and if it wasn’t for McKenzie the pirates would never know to go looking for Katrina in the first place.

This book had moments that pulled me in right away and others that made me go, “This is way too close to home.” The main character, Katrina, is an artist with an alcoholic parent who reminded me in a lot of ways of my father. Granted, my father isn’t suffering from a centuries-old curse that leaves him dreaming every night about drowning. Still, it made me think of him, and at times that made me need a hot second to get a break. Normally when that happens when I’m reading, I will dock points off the book, but not this time. Considering I knew it was coming and the way it was written, I was more amazed by how it captured a lot of my thoughts regarding my own father while still telling a very different relationship.

Thoughts regarding Milo v. Bellamy (Spoiler Warning)
I honestly thought the final love interest was going to Bellamy and that Milo was going to betray Katrina in order to break his curse. Several times it seemed like that was going to happen. Though after the art gala it became obvious that wasn’t going to be the case for Milo.

Bellamy, on the other hand, I knew was not going to be the final love interest or really a love interest at all when we learn that his love interest killed a few decades ago by his father, so once that came to life I knew he was never going to be the love interest. He might try to protect Katrina, but it’s more so he can enact revenge against his father for murdering Serena, an innocent girl who was a mermaid performer. While he might share a kiss with Katrina, he is still very much pining over his lost love and she’s trying to distract him enough to get back the siren scale necklace.

While Milo actually loved Katrina, he didn’t want to pursue a relationship with her knowing that once the curse ended, he would be dead for good. But thankfully once the curse is lifted, Milo isn’t truly dead. Since it turns out Katrina is the last siren and considering he has her heart (aka she loves him), he gets a chance at living. Truly living where he isn’t forced to do things for a pirate captain that forced him to navigate his ship or hunt mermaids and sirens.

Overall, I loved the book. It was captivating and I couldn’t put the book down (for the most part). There were some grammatical errors, but as I read an ARC I have a feeling a majority of those will be cleaned up/fixed before the final release of the book. At least Val E. Lane says she’ll be cleaning those up for the most part. So, I’m not going to hold them against the book. Especially since they weren’t anything major like I’m seen in other books.

I would love to see more of this world in the future, but it was nicely wrapped up in a way that makes it a solid standalone. Though there are hints that more could always be in the future if the author wanted to.

With all that being said, I would give this book a 4-star rating out of 5. Some of the parts of the plot were easy to guess, but it still left you on your toes a bit trying to figure out who’s holding that sword by the end of the book.

Thoughts on ending (Spoilers)

The way to break the curse was a bit left in the air, and I liked that twist that it wasn’t as easy as throwing the siren scale necklace into the ocean to end it all. Katrina had to go into the depths herself for the curse to break. Considering, we got a glimpse of the fact she’s a siren there’s a possibility we could see more in the future especially given the fact that Cordelia is still alive. So, what does that mean for Katrina and Milo? Are they immortal? We know the rest of Katrina’s family isn’t purely due to the fact that they all committed suicide around their 46th birthday. But the curse is lifted, so what does that mean exactly for the characters? That is the major question I have from the ending. A second book could be in the future exploring this but as I said it ends on a great note as well to make it a standalone.

As this is the author’s first book, I can’t wait to see what else they come up with in the future. And I’m so grateful that I got to read an ARC of this book ahead of the release on July 25th.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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