The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster is a novella fantasy about a girl on the run and the three sailors who help her despite being rather suspicious of the odd storms that keep appearing around them. I’ve been looking forward to this novella ever since I saw that gorgeous cover and I’m so happy that it completely lived up to my expectations! If you have been looking for a novella to try or already love novellas, definitely check this one out for fun magic and a diverse cast.
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Drowning Eyes from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster
Published by Tor.com on Jan. 12th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 144 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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When the Dragon Ships began to tear through the trade lanes and ravage coastal towns, the hopes of the archipelago turned to the Windspeakers on Tash. The solemn weather-shapers with their eyes of stone can steal the breeze from raiders' sails and save the islands from their wrath. But the Windspeakers' magic has been stolen, and only their young apprentice Shina can bring their power back and save her people.
Tazir has seen more than her share of storms and pirates in her many years as captain, and she's not much interested in getting involved in the affairs of Windspeakers and Dragon Ships. Shina's caught her eye, but that might not be enough to convince the grizzled sailor to risk her ship, her crew, and her neck.
- The apparently only kind of magic in the world of The Drowning Eyes is weather magic and it is pretty tightly controlled. Young children are brought into the temple as soon as their power is identified since they must be taught to carefully control it otherwise they are likely to release horrible storms on an area that heavily relies on sailing ships. I love weather magic, especially when it requires the wielder to use the various factors we know lead to different weather patterns to get what they want to happen.
- As you can see from the cover, the main character and in fact all of the secondary characters are what we would consider of African descent. I loved seeing a cast that was completely non-white, given the fantasy genre’s tendency to be rather the opposite.
- In addition to the above pleasant surprise, it took me a few chapters to confirm to myself that the two female secondary characters were dating and that the female captain was in fact discussing her ex-wife because same-sex relationships are completely normal in this world :D.
- Normally I rely on sci-fi to make me think about difficult questions and struggle with what I would do, so it was great to encounter a fantasy that raised similar questions with no easy answer. I honestly don’t know what I would choose in Shina’s position….
- The world described in these brief pages has a lot of promise. I’m once again impressed by how much world-building can be fit into just over 100 pages! I clearly need to learn to sail and go visit.
- There are a couple of places where the time jumps forward without convenient indications and it took me a few paragraphs to realize that this character was in fact several hours ahead of where we last left off.
- I am not very well educated about what is normal and acceptable for people who are blind, but I am under the impression that face-touching by blind characters in books is ridiculously over done and rather inappropriate. Therefore, I was disappointed to see that portrayed in The Drowning Eyes, though you could make arguments that it was an intimate enough situation for it to make sense. I don’t know, I’d want to hear an opinion from someone more knowledgeable.
The Drowning Eyes is a great dose of short fantasy when you want a complete and action-packed story with beautiful magic and an intriguing world in just a couple hundred pages. I’m once again wishing that this was the start to a series, maybe if I ask really nice ;-).
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster
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