My first book review! New Wave: Book One in “The Islands of Anarchy” Series by Jennifer Ann Shore

New Wave by Jennifer Ann Shore

I recently had the pleasure of reading New Wave: Book One in “The Islands of Anarchy” Series after a friend recommended it to me. Admittedly, I’ve fallen off a bit with my reading goals this year so this was the perfect opportunity to jump back in. And while action and adventure stories aren’t typically my go-to, I gave this one a try and it did not disappoint.

First things first: the cover of this novel is beautiful. I bought it in paperback because I knew I wanted to have it on my bookshelf.

Right from the prologue we’re transported to Mol’s world, a serene archipelago overrun by an oppressive Authority. We follow her through a typical day on Island Seven where we quickly learn the differences between her world and ours, made most obvious by details about the horrific conditions of her homeland and the specific terminology she uses to reference different aspects of the regime. Though unfamiliar to us, it’s clear that this is all Mol has ever known.

For me, personally, it was so refreshing to see a female protagonist in an action and adventure story like this — to the point where I actually found myself surprised by some of Mol’s words and actions at first. As I continued reading, however, I realized that the parts I found jarring in the beginning would honestly probably be considered pretty standard behavior for a male character in a similar role. I think I just wasn’t used to this type of representation in a female character. Once I identified this as the root of my hesitation, I quickly joined her team and let the story take me where it would.

This book isn’t necessarily action-packed but it definitely has a good mix of action and romance, as well as a lot of character-driven plot. Some sections are heavy on dialogue and description, especially towards the beginning of the book, but even during those parts, I was quickly flipping pages to take in everything about this new world.

Throughout the story I found myself not only rooting for Mol, but also believing in and caring about the people close to her like Julian, Luca, the women of the Elite, and even some of the guards. Shore’s writing really shines in scenes where she’s developing relationships between her characters. I enjoyed watching them interact with each other and, because of this, the ending, for me, felt very Lord of the Rings-y; a gang of misfits has banded together to embark on a new leg of their journey — trusting one another despite not knowing what they might find.

There are a few things I’d like to know more about, so I’m glad that book is part of a series. We’re teased with a few flashbacks from Mol’s childhood but I’d like to know more about her parents and their experience under the Authority. I also have some hesitations about her relationship with the Commander (#TrustNoOne), so I look forward to either being pleasantly surprised or eagerly devouring the drama.

New Wave is a strong debut from a first-time author. It held my attention until the very end and I’m already looking forward to diving back into Book Two.