Review: The Drowning Eyes

Emily Foster

Original Publication: 1/12/2016

Rating3 STARS

Fantasy | 144 Pages | Published by Tor

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Mini Review: Strongly recommended for fans of Fantasy. The characters are interesting and diverse, the adventures are dangerous, and the magic is awesome, as in literally awe-inspiring.

Breshea’s latest blog post at Black And Writerly, titled “Black Girls Can Be Magical Too” gave me a swift kick in the behind that reminded I need to read more fantasy novels with black female protagonists. Off the top of my head, I can only recall ever reading two books that fit this mold: Shadowshaper and Kindred. While such books are not as plentiful as I’d like, they do exist. Fantasy and Science Fiction are my favorite genres, so there’s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be reading these kinds of books.

Emily Foster’s “The Drowning Eyes” is a thrilling pirate fantasy novella set in a world that I wish we could explore further. The story follows ship captain, Tazir, and her quartermaster and first mate, Chaqal and Kodin. They’re waiting at a dockside bar looking for travelers who want a quick and safe passage across perilous waters. Enter Shina, pictured above.

Let’s talk about Shina for a second. She is very young, timid, and a literal force to be reckoned with. Shina holds a dangerous “magical” power within her, the power of the Windspeakers. I will allow you to discover the mysteries and wonders of the magic on your own, but just be aware that it involves storms and it is fascinating.

Anyway, Shina was, suspiciously, willing to pay exorbitantly to travel as far away as possible, and the crew readily accepted. What did it matter that the story she was telling was very likely false? They were getting paid forty thousand qyda! Perhaps the crew should have heeded their suspicions. But that would make for boring plot! The perils and adventures that Shina entangles them in are much too fun to read.

I give the story a 3 Star rating only because there was so much potential for a richer, grander tale in this world. I enjoyed reading about the complex relationships of the four main characters and particularly appreciated that gay characters were represented in this fantastical adventure, which doesn’t happen often in the genre. I must recommend “The Drowning Eyes” to all fans of the Fantasy. The eBook is ridiculously cheap and it’s a quick read, so you’ll finish it in a couple of hours. There’s no excuse for you not to read it! However, be warned that this is not a story for children. Unless, of course, you are OK with your children’s reading containing violence and swearing.

Thank you, Breshea, for reminding me that black girls are magical too.

P.S. – Can I just say how excited I am for the new Hermione!? Noma Dumezweni will be playing Hermione in the London production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I couldn’t be happier.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Drowning Eyes

  1. I am definitely going to read this! I never thought about this topic before, so I am very glad you highlighted it. When I think about black females in fantasy, they’re usually an evil or crazy witch of some sort. This sounds much better! Also, I am SUPER excited about Noma’s casting, and I was especially excited about J.K.’s response to it all. Also, your blog is currently my favorite book blog :). In case you can’t tell from my comments.

    1. My favorite blog as well. Your book reviews are such a joy to read. I intend to write about black heroines one day. Glad to know somebody is doing so already. I should read this book ASAP. Fantasy is my forte

      1. Yes, please write these stories!
        POC writing about POC is so important.
        I do appreciate when white authors write POCs as leads in their stories, as was the case with The Drowning Eyes, but I do prefer for POC to write about their own experiences and tell their own stories.

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