The Drowning Eyes

March 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm (Reads)

eyesThe Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster


The Drowning Eyes has everything that the Sick and Rabid Puppies deplore: women; strong women; people of color; strong people of color; bisexuals; strong bisexuals; strong bisexual women of color. It makes my heart happy that this is a story that will likely send them into a tizzy.

The story is about pirates on a quest to take a woman who is the last Windspeaker north to retrieve the source of their magic. On their way they battle pirates, fight storms, evade capture, and come to understand each other. It’s an adventure story at heart, but its themes help make it something a bit more. It’s unfortunate that the story didn’t have more of an effect on me, though.

Foster has the skills to build her world and to summarize action and setting with a minimum of words, but the rest of it was lacking. Mostly it’s that the characters aren’t engaging. Tazir is too abrasive to be likable, and Shina is too mousy. She perks up toward the end, but in the beginning, she’s too uncertain to afford any sympathy. Foster also attempts to write snappy dialogue, but it feels too modern and colloquial for the world she creates. Were this a satire, it would be more appropriate, but the story doesn’t feel like a satire; it feels like Foster is telling us a serious story, and the dialogue is a failed attempt to inject humor into it. The plot is interesting, but it’s not enough to make up for the characters, and in the end, it’s hard to care about the quest they’re on.

This is a worthy read for people who are looking for more representations of minorities in their fiction, but I can’t help feel like it could have been so much more. This isn’t the first of the Tor novellas that disappointed me (I didn’t even finish The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps), but as good as the recent reads have been, this one was too much of a let-down.

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