Ancient grievances, long-held grudges, and dangerous magic combine in this sweeping fantasy perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Rachel Hartman. 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?
About the Author
Makiia Lucier grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam and holds degrees in journalism and library studies from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She is the author of A Death-Struck Year, Isle of Blood and Stone, and Song of the Abyss. www.makiialucier.com Twitter @makiialucier.
Read an Excerpt
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 pennant flying above the mainmast to hint at a kingdom of origin. Never a good sign. She had not meant to fall asleep. Her cabin was the size of a leading stone, her berth within the only comfortable spot. She had taken a chart to study there and had dozed by the light of a candle. A rough shaking woke her. In that dazed state between sleep and wakefulness loomed a face, inches from her own. “Quiet,” Gunnel ordered before Reyna could scream. The gruffness of her voice suggested she too had just woken. But Gunnel wore her sword on her back and two daggers in her belt, something she hadn’t done since they had boarded this ship seven days ago. “Good, you’re dressed. Up, up. Quickly, Reyna!” Reyna rolled from her berth and dropped lightly onto bare feet. From overhead, so peculiar she thought she must still be dreaming, came the sound of a man singing. A gentle, soothing tune, soft as a child’s lullaby. “What is that?” she said. “Sea raiders.” Reyna’s grogginess vanished, replaced by a deep, thrumming fear. “Where is the captain?” “Captured.” Gunnel pointed directly upward. “With the others.” Reyna crossed the cabin in two steps and threw open her sea chest. There were rules that must be followed, for an occasion such as this. The top half of the trunk was filled with maps and portolans, each rolled and secured with twine. She crushed an armful to her chest and spun around. Gunnel, a sea captain’s daughter long before she’d become Reyna’s guard, had anticipated her next move. The older woman shoved open the window so that the maps could be flung into the darkness and open sea. It’s fine, Reyna told herself. Fine. Those had been copies of copies, the originals safe on del Mar. Better she lose them than let their trade routes be known to the enemy. Whoever the enemy was. As they emptied the chest, the light from the candle cast shadows onto the walls. Gunnel explained what she knew; it turned out to be very little. “There are two ships to our west. Both much larger than ours.” “We had no warning?” There were lookouts aboard theSimona. How had anyone managed to come so close without setting off the alarms? “None.” Reyna’s map carrier lay on the table, a leather tube three feet in length. She uncapped it, glanced inside, and felt her heart spasm in protest. These maps were not copies, but the result of twelve months of labor. A year of her life. And she was expected to destroy them. What would Uncle Ginés do? Or Lord Elias? She knew the answer, which only made her decision more agonizing. Above, the strange humming continued. An eternity passed before she replaced the cap and slung the strap over her head. The carrier lay against her back. Gunnel looked down at her with a disapproving expression. Quite a ways down, for she stood a good three inches above six feet, unnaturally tall even among her people. She indicated Reyna’s carrier. “It’s a bad idea,” she said. “Yes. I realize.” If Lord Braga learned she had kept these maps, and they were stolen as a result, he would suffer a seizure. He would banish her from the Tower of Winds. He would string her up by her feet and toss her over the cliffs at Alfonse to die slowly, her eyeballs pecked away by the gulls. And she would deserve it all. There were rules that must be followed, for an occasion such as this. She left the carrier where it was. Gunnel shrugged as if to say, It’s your bed, before pitching the last of the charts out the window. “Listen to me,” she said. “There’s something wrong with the men.” Reyna shoved her father’s dagger in her belt. “They’re injured?” “No, something is wrong here.” Gunnel tapped the side of her head impatiently. “I heard footsteps outside my cabin, and when I opened the door, they were shuffling past. Like cattle. And their faces . . .” Her brows, unkempt, sprouting everywhere, drew together. “There was nothing there.” Gunnel was not making sense. “They had no faces?” Reyna asked. “Of course they had faces!” Gunnel hissed. “Don’t be an idiot. They looked like . . . like your parchment before you begin painting.” Blank, Reyna realized. That was what Gunnel meant. “But how? And why were we missed? And who is that man singing?” “I don’t know, and I don’t care to find out. Not a sound from you.” Gunnel reached for the door just as Reyna snuffed the candle with pinched fingertips, plunging them into darkness. Luck was on their side. The door hinges, well oiled and silent, did not give them away. Reyna followed Gunnel down the narrow, stifling passageway. They crept along the edges like mice. Ahead, torchlight trickled in through the open hatchway. The humming had stopped. A man spoke in a language she thought was Coronad at first, until she realized she could only make out a smattering of words: Yes. Lame. No. The inflection was guttural, like Coronad, but not. A dialect? From her shipmates she heard nothing. No begging or threats. Not a word of protest. Were they dead already? Killed while she slept in her berth? As they tiptoed beneath the hatchway, a man stepped into view on the deck. Reyna and Gunnel moved as one, flattening their backs against the wall. Don’t look down. Please do not see us. Sweat trickled between Reyna’s shoulder blades. After a minute, she chanced a glance upward, long enough for her to see a man caught half in shadow, half in light. Younger than she’d expected, bigger than she wished. His face, wide, with sharp cheekbones, bore the toughness of a Coronad and was heavily pocked. A knot of hair, perfectly rounded, perched atop his head, a feminine style that contrasted sharply with the assortment of weapons hanging from his vest and belt. Axe, whip, daggers for every occasion. Perhaps strangest of all were the ear covers draped around his neck. The night was warm and pleasant. Why would anyone need to keep their ears covered in such temperatures? He exchanged words with someone out of sight, then reached up and sliced a finger across his throat, an ominous gesture that needed no interpretation. At least one shipman would lose his life tonight. Gunnel touched her hand lightly. A sign to move on. Swallowing the sickness that crawled up her throat, Reyna followed her to the captain’s quarters, which took up the entire width of the stern. The room was far more richly appointed than hers. The massive oak bed could sleep six captains. A wire-fronted bookcase held years’ worth of charts and logs. She started there, clearing the shelves and throwing everything into the water. Working fast. With every armful, she ran by the desk, where a taper flickered cheerfully beside an untouched supper and a full glass of red wine. The captain had not had time to eat. Outside, it was as Gunnel had described. Two ships dwarfed their own, nearly impossible to distinguish in the night. Gunnel beckoned Reyna over to another window. “Do you know where we are?” She moved aside so that Reyna could see. Reyna tipped the last of the charts overboard before peering out. The lights of a city glimmered in the distance. A large city, and to its west . . . Oh. So that’s where we are.She could not fail to recognize that particular lighthouse. It was the brightest beam in the known world. “That’s Selene.” Capital city of the kingdom of Lunes. They were only a four-day journey from del Mar. Gunnel nodded, eyes traveling upward as the sea raider’s voice rose. He issued what sounded like a command. Another man answered. Reyna asked, “Do you recognize them?” Gunnel listened a bit more. She looked confounded. “I don’t believe it. I think they’re—” A loud thump from the deck. The sound of a man falling. Whatever Gunnel might have said remained unspoken. “Never mind that now. Pay attention. Ginés says you’re a fine swimmer. A strong one?” Reyna met her eyes and understood what was intended for her. Gunnel had not led her to the captain’s quarters to destroy his maps. Gunnel was a Coronad; she would not care too deeply about protecting del Marian trade routes. Unlike the other cabins, this one had windows large enough for a person to climb through. Reyna stuck her head out one of them and looked down. It was good it was so dark, for if there were sea monsters below, she could not see them. And if she happened upon one, well. Too late to do anything about it then. She would have lived a short life, but an interesting one. At least the water would be warm. Reyna pulled her head back in. “I can swim,” she answered quietly. Jaime had taught her. “What about you?” “I never learned,” Gunnel said. Deep lines bracketed her mouth. “We both know what’s in these waters. I think you’re safer out there than in here. But it’s your life. Your choice.” Reyna was a young female on a captured ship. It was not really a choice. “I’ll go.” Before she could change her mind, she swung onto the ledge, arms braced by her sides, bare feet dangling over nothing. Her heart thundered in her chest. She looked back at Gunnel. They had known each other weeks only, but in that time Reyna had come to consider this woman her friend. “And I’ll bring help. I swear it.” “Use the worms if you can.” Grim-faced, Gunnel checked the seal on Reyna’s carrier. “Best to avoid the castle if you want to keep those maps.” “I will.” She would find a del Marian ship. In a harbor of that size, there was bound to be one. Gunnel’s gnarled hand covered Reyna’s own. She squeezed hard. “I promised Ginés I’d keep you safe. Do not dare make a liar out of—” A shout. A dark figure stood on the hatch steps, looking beyond the passageway directly at them. He scrambled down the rest of the way, yelling. From above came the sound of many running feet. Reyna said, “Gunnel!” Gunnel shoved her. Reyna pointed her toes downward and tucked her arms in tight, making herself small, and when she entered the water, it was without a whisper; it was without a sound.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Id like to preface this review by stating that although this book is a sequel t0 the Tower of Winds, it is not necessary to read the first book prior to this one. Although the del Marians often elude to events that happened in the first book, the storytelling in this one is not dependent on that and the story does truly stand on its own. Reyna is a mapmaker for the kingdom of St. John del Mar. During one of her adventures, her ship is overtaken by a mysterious group led by a distinctive leader with an interesting sword topped by a chrysanthemum. The men aboard her ship, seemingly in a trance, transfer themselves to the ships that had overtaken them and Reyna escapes into the unforgiving sea, finding her way to the kingdom of Lunes where she meets a handsome stranger, Levi, who turns out to be a Lunesian prince. After a small coup, she escapes back to St. John del Mar where she puzzles out who could have possibly taken her crew. While home, Lord Elias and her childhood friend Jaime, two very important people in Reynas life, take a ship of their own to investigate these pirates or slave tradersand fail to return, seemingly gone the same way. It is up to Reyna to band together with Levi, whose own brother, Asher, was taken the same way. They must search for their lost loved ones in a distant, isolated, and lush kingdom once thought to be legend, and figure out what this leader did with them before the people they love are lost forever. Overall, Song of the Abyss was pretty good. The first half of it is where most of my issues stem from, and its mostly just because its super slow up until Levi and Reyna travel. I admittedly struggled to get into it because it seemed like there was a lot of people judging Reyna as only being pretty and not recognizing her value as a scholar. Although this is kind of how the world worked in any other time setting, it was nonetheless a bit of a distraction from the adventure itself. There was also a little bit of insta-love, will they/wont they, which I can take or leave that could have been written better. Maybe thats a little nitpick-y, but I just wasnt into it. However, the last half of the book really started to amp up and the totality of the story was completely redeemed for me, starting with the maelstrom, which caught my attention and made me snap to attention and took my imagination for a ride. The remainder of the book took place in a once-mythical kingdom and their culture, which seemed to be a mix of Egyptian, Ancient Chinese, and Ancient Central American cultures. This is where palace intrigue, and world building sunk its teeth into me and I couldnt put the book down until I was done. The world, the characters, and the various locations are all described in detail and the main characters are fleshed out nicely. If you need to top off your summer reading list, I recommend this satisfying fantasy that will take you on an interesting adventure. Thank you to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this young adult fantasy novella eARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . . I absolutely loved the first book in this series, isle of blood and stone, and was very excited to get a copy of this companion novel. And I loved it! I read this in one sitting and was completely immersed in the story. The highlights of this one included: The world-building - Seriously I loved getting more information about del Mar and the other surrounding countries. I still absolutely love del Mar's culture of exploration and the sea. I still love the function of maps in the society. The main character - I loved that this was the story of Reyna who we met in book one when she was nine. She has grown up and has spunk and tenacity. Hooray for woman power and challenging the status quo. Arrrr! Visiting old friends - I loved getting insights into how character's lives from the first book unfolded. They were certainly not the focus but I those tidbits I did get made me smile. The tone - Like the first, this book is marketed as a young adult but can certainly be read by all ages. The plot - this starts out with a lot of action and doesn't stop. It was great that lots of women were the focus of the story. I did like the romance in this one too and was glad that, like in the first book, the romance was not the focus. Instead the focus was were it should have been - on saving their friends. I also liked how the characters worked together and needed each other's talents to save the day. The bad guys - The main bad guy in this book was a lot less cookie-cutter than in the previous book. He at least had motivations. The ending - Some unexpected things happened at the end of this book and it made me happy. I loved it! There were a few downsides to this book. I could have used more insight into the secondary characters. I especially wanted more about Blaise cause she was awesome. I would have loved more answers about the fantasy creatures introduced in this book. And I also would have liked more insight into the culture and politics of the countries outside of del Mar. That said, I did love what I got. This companion book is the last in the series according to the author's Goodreads page. But I have to admit that I hope she writes another story set in this lovely world. Besides the ending of the novel hints at another potential mystery. Aye, more please! If ye haven't read this series, then I highly recommend it. Arrrr!