Author: A. M. Dellamonica
Genre: Crossworld Fantasy
One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.
The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.
Sophie doesn't know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered… her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.
But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don't know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world...or is doomed to exile.
This was a good start to a crossworld fantasy series full of people who spend more time on ships because the land to water ration is vastly in the latter's territory. This book suffers a bit of first-book-syndrome because while it throws the main character into a whole new world, it doesn't take the time to explain the world and its history. The author only gives enough information about the Sophie's surroundings and her connection to the world to satisfy the plot narrative of the story. I really wish she'd gone more in depth because I would have loved to have known Stormwrack's history and its people.
It was thrilling to read the political narrative because it embroiled the story with Stormwrack's less-than-adequate methods of policing their laws. I found the many loopholes in their faith in others' words to be particularly fun to watch unravel.
The characters--and what little of the world-building there was--were the highlight of the story because their relationships were well-established, and fun to follow and see develop. Sophie was an able main character because with her background of routinely taking risks in her field as "marine videographer", she knew how to handle herself in a world that was mostly ocean. She thrived in it. Her relationship with the other characters was sometimes filtered through the lens of her insecurities which were very human and humbling. As a reader, I wanted to see her grow more confident and in a way her brother was able to help draw her out.
The cast of characters in Stormwrack that make an appearance in this book were pretty fantastic to read about because they all have their individual mysterious backgrounds that is further shrouded by their world's history. Therefore, while I liked reading about these characters, there were many times where the missing world history couldn't fill in the gaps of the characters' personalities.
The ending, though, was spectacular and left me wanting more of the series and its characters.