"I tasted the sea.
I tasted salt, and brine, and the ocean breeze.
I tasted the sunlight on the waves, and the shadows of the undertow.
And beneath it all, I tasted magic.
I tasted power."
I'm always drawn to stories that are linked to the sea in some way. So, it was only natural that when I spotted 'Arms of the Ocean' by Jamie Webster and M. Dalto, that I'd be curious about it.
Centering around Tristaine, a young woman left as the only caretaker for a drunken father, the story is a bitter one.
Sloane, her brother, is married and long gone from their childhood home, visiting briefly and infrequently. Their family abandoned by her mother when she was only five years old, Tris barely has memory of her and her days are filled with her father's needs. Her only peace, her only true happiness.. comes from the moments she spends at the edges of the sea.
When something unthinkable happens, she makes an irrevocable decision.. but the sea has other plans for her. Soon, she's drawn into a world she never could have imagined. A world filled with love and loss, honor and betrayal, and secrets she never saw coming.
I feel like this is a good book that had the potential for greatness. I don't know if what held it back was the result of the authors working together, or if that was actually a strength. But someone has a lot of potential.
From a creative standpoint, the concepts are interesting. They play both with established themes known in the fantasy genre and utilize some of their own, more unique elements.
The world-building, while not expansive, is definitely intriguing and they definitely left themselves the possibility to continue telling this story in the future. While I didn't love it, I did enjoy it and I'd absolutely pick up a sequel if they were to release one.
Imriel however.. I did love. Read the book, you'll see why. Nyx and Loch also deserve special mention. Loch is certainly the book's main source of humor, but he's not one-dimensional at all.
There are things I think could have been done better. Could be in the future, if the authors do another book.
Throughout the story, there are numerous dramatic moments. Some more emotional, some more physical. Some are beautiful and some are brutal. But I didn't really feel any of them. I felt as if someone was telling me a story with hazy recollection.. through a soft lens.
What I mean by that is.. the approach to these moments is almost romanticized. Even the violence comes across as sort of dreamy instead of vivid. It lacks immersion for me.. and therefore any real sense of what the characters are feeling. Yes, we're told how they're feeling. Shown, sort of.. but like on an old tv with a breakdown of realism between us and the characters.
Anyway, that's a matter of preference. The book is still well-written, the story unravels slowly and precisely. The authors telegraph some things a little too clearly and very early on by over-emphasizing the foreshadowing, but it's still worth the read.