Tides of the Sovereign

By Kate Gateley

As I flipped through the last pages of Tides of the Sovereign by Kate Gateley I found myself in a book slump. I have started this review over and over, only wanting to pick the book back up again for the first time. Kate Gateley creates a story that drives you to keep turning the pages, wanting to know more about what is going to happen and why. I found myself having extreme feelings towards the characters in the book, whether I hated them or loved them.

“He had always been mine. And we fought for this life, our life, over and over again for the better part of the past millennium.”

Tides of the Sovereign is told from the point of view of Julia Harrison, a thirty year old Bearer. The story starts with Julia in her grandma’s house after her passing. You quickly realize she is struggling with her grief, feeling disconnected with the world and her magic. Even though her world has crumbled she wants to get back to college and finish the last semester in her Linguistics degree. As Julia returns to campus she finds herself attending a visiting professor’s class, Dom O’Brien, the connection between him and Julia is instant. After a semester of constant flirty arguments between the two, Julia is preparing to graduate, and Dom finally asks her on a date. The fun night soon turns into a whirlwind of information and Julia finds herself in the middle of a thousands of years old prophecy, one that has always led to her and Dom’s deaths. 

Julia Harrison

“I eventually outgrew the idea that I needed saving; that was the stuff of childhood fairytales.”

Julia is a feisty, stubborn, tall, red headed woman. She was raised by her single mother but often spent time with her Grandma Gertie. She loses her mother at the age of 18, relaying more on her grandma until she also passes. Julia is a bearer who has always struggled with her magic, but learned what she could from Gertie. She feels ill-prepared to be the witch connected to a life or death prophecy. But knowing she has no choice in the matter she tries to step in and do what is needed. Her relationship with Dom reminds me of my own marriage. She loves him so deeply, but still gets annoyed and angry with him when their communication is lacking. In the end they always work things out, promising to be better for each other.

Domhall O’Brien

“Being that Dom had no magic ability of his own, he had often resorted to his raw physical strength and aloof hardiness in these instances, rather than the much tidier actions of his friends and allies. He wasn’t always proud of it. But there he stood.” 

Domhnall O’Brien is a Celtic prince turned Linguistics professor. He has spent thousands of years following the women he loves through death and rebirth. His goals are to keep Julia safe, and defeat Cassius, the “Child of Rome”. He loves chicken, his dogs, old cars, and rugby. He has deep connections with the Druids, his best friend Ronan being one of them. He is strong, goofy, and bullheaded, but will do anything to protect Julia. The prophecy this time around feels different for him, and so he is even more determined than ever to make sure he and Julia don’t die this time. His drive for this creates issues between him and Julia but together they work through it. Their desires for each other and surviving are stronger than their small conflicts. 

Lennie Crandall

Honorable Mention

“‘Lennie is a bit of an elusive cat,’ Ronan mused, ‘He will be back down soon though, and probably in a better mood. He’s always anxious to catch up on what he missed while traveling. But he’s one of a kind. Invaluable, really.’”

 There were so many great characters to choose from and discuss from this story. By the end of the book I felt like I couldn’t talk about anyone but Lennie. Lennie was respected but often despised so much by Dom and the others. He is very introverted, preferring to spend time with his technology then interact with people. He also has a sarcastic and snobbish personality that causes Dom to fight with him all the time. Which is mostly due to their conflicting opinions on how to handle Cassius. But his character was refreshing, the voice of a modern person, one that often was speaking the things I was thinking in the back of my head. Without spoilers, I will say that there is one scene in particular towards the end of the book that had me loving his character. He is who he is at face value, but there is so much more that has yet to be learned about the person he doesn’t let others see. 

“Welcoming the full light, he was a safe harbour to come home to as I explored the rough seas of my own lived experience. Better yet, he was a shipmate, a co-captain, more than willing to ride the waves alongside me as they came.”

Tides of the Sovereign does a great job of weaving history and lore into modern times. It is a slow paced, detailed book. Everything that is talked about could come back and mean more than what it did when first discussed. I found myself looking forward to figuring out the connections and guessing how important certain details will end up being. The plot itself is a mixture of slow and fast scenes, giving space for character growth and relationship building. I personally love a book that can give me both an adventurous plot and great relationship dynamics, Tides of the Sovereign does this beautifully. If you are looking for a detailed fantasy book with great characters, action, and romance this is the book for you. 

Deeply, Ashten