Book Review: The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster

26883560The Drowning Eyes

Emily Foster

3/5 stars

Release Date: January 12, 2016

Publisher: Tor

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

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.

Review:

I’m really disappointed with this novella. After hearing so many good things I expected to love it – the premise is exactly what I love reading in a fantasy book. I was confused for most of the novella, although the ending was definitely better than the beginning. Reading the first chapter, I felt bombarded by several characters, like opening a book on a random page. There were too many voices being introduced at once. I actually considered DNF-ing it, but decided to push through, since this is a short book.

What I understood about the world and Windspeakers was interesting, but I didn’t feel like enough things were explained in the beginning and middle. For example, Windspeakers are either referred to as wet-eye Windspeakers or stone-eye. Wet-eye means your natural eyes. When Windspeakers are fully trained they undergo a surgery to remove their eyes and replace them with stone eyes. This blinds them, but also increases their power. This wasn’t fully explained until near the end. It was also not explicitly stated whether stone-eyes are blind, until the end. I assumed this, but did theorize that magic could keep their sight or something like that.

Ultimately the author’s vision did not fully translate in the writing. Maybe it’s because this is a novella, so there are less words to use or just the writing. Who knows? I’d still recommend this because I liked what I saw of the world, but maybe request it from the library first. This is a quick read so if you don’t like it, your time isn’t too wasted. I feel The Drowning Eyes would have been better as a bigger book – allowing more time for the reader to bond with the characters and world.

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