They came in the night as she dreamt, in her berth, on a ship sailing home to del Mar. After, they would be all Reyna thought about: two carracks painted scorpion black. No emblem on either forecastle, no pennants flying above the mainmasts to hint at a kingdom of origin.
Never a good sign.
As the granddaughter of a famed navigator, seventeen-year-old Reyna has always lived life on her own terms, despite those who say a girl could never be an explorer for the royal house of St. John del Mar. She is determined to prove them wrong, and as she returns home after a year-long expedition, she knows her dream is within reach. No longer an apprentice, instead: Reyna, Master Explorer.
But when menacing raiders attack her ship, those dreams are pushed aside. Reyna’s escape is both desperate and dangerous, and when next she sees her ship, a mystery rises from the deep. The sailors–her captain, her countrymen–have vanished. To find them, Reyna must use every resource at her disposal . . . including placing her trust in a handsome prince from a rival kingdom.
Together they uncover a disturbing truth. The attack was no isolated incident. Troubling signs point to a shadowy kingdom in the north, and for once, the rulers of the Sea of Magdalen agree: something must be done. But can Reyna be brave enough to find a way?
*ARC provided as a part of the blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*
Song of the Abyss follows the story of Reyna, an apprentice mapmaker, as she braves through the seas to find her kidnapped friends and family after her ship is mysteriously attacked in the dead of the night, with the help of Levi, the Captain of the Navy of the country of Lunes that her country, St. John del Mar has a bit of frenemy relationship with.
This is the second book in the Tower of Winds duology, but can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first book, An Isle of Blood & Stone, and did not find it difficult to follow this book. After looking up stuff online, I know that Reyna, who is the 17 year old protag of this story was a 9 year old in the first book and that she was a somewhat important secondary character in it. So, this is more like a spinoff than an actual sequel, which is why you shouldn’t have trouble following it if you haven’t read the first book.
I liked the characters in this. Reyna is awesome. She’s definitely the best character out of the bunch and I absolutely adored her! She’s kickass and trying to smash the patriarchy for which I have a deep respect for her. Sexism was very deeply rooted in this book, and it annoyed the heck out of me, but Reyna was a befitting reply to those idiots, even if I hated the continuous stream of “you’re good at [xyz] for a girl” comments that followed her everywhere.
The writing style of the book is really good. We get a lot of lush descriptions that wowed me throughout the story. The way Lucier has built her world is amazing. It’s absolutely beautiful. If it were a real place, I would definitely go visit St. John del Mar ASAP!
The hugest issue I had this book was the pacing. It was the downfall, at least for me. Like, the book was really very slow to pick up in the first few chapters even though we dove right into the action from the word go. Yet, things mellowed down and the first 70-80 pages were slow. It picked up a little pace after that and things got really interesting, but then the last few chapters were rushed. So, basically, a lot of the book was unevenly paced and could have been better. Also, while I liked the fantastical elements, they weren’t woven into the book properly and could have been written in better to make them feel like more of a part of the story and not stuff added in later to make it more interesting. The romance was a little too tropey for my liking, but still well written.
All in all, this was a very relaxed book with not a lot of high stakes and a lot of gorgeous descriptions along with an amazing MC. Definitely not for everyone, even if a good read overall.
Makiia is the author of historical fiction and historical fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a “powerful and disturbing reading experience” by Publishers Weekly, and was a finalist for Germany’s top book prize for children, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. Her second novel, Isle of Blood and Stone, was inspired by her love of Indiana Jones movies and old, old maps. She lives with her family in North Carolina.
Win (1) of (3) finished copies of Song of the Abyss by Makiia Lucier (US ONLY)