A rightful empress, exiled before she takes the throne, finds that her destiny lies under the ocean.
Almost as soon as Talia learns that she’s the dying emperor’s biological daughter, a usurper banishes Talia and her mother thousands of miles across the sea. On the voyage, Talia’s mother seems to go mad, scribbling gibberish onto paper and leaping to a watery death. Having come from a Middle-Eastern–ish desert-and-city culture of brown-skinned people, Talia arrives on a distant island of white people—and finds herself nonconsensually betrothed. Bereft, stunned, displaced, she listens to the music coming from the sea and delves into reading religious myths she doesn’t believe in—only to slowly, horrified, discover her destiny. In this Gothic-touched and unabashed love letter to Tolkien, Meyer weaves singing and ancient myths (or are they history?), offset in italics, with archetypal relics, beings, and curses—a massive tree, an ancient jar of starlight, ancestors, gods, eternal punishment at the bottom of the sea—through an epic adventure to a homey ending. Along the way, Talia’s understanding of herself is challenged over and over, she finds love, and she fulfills the destiny that is somehow also completely her choice. Fans of Alison Croggon’s Pellinor series will be besotted.
Epic, musical, and tender. (Fantasy. 12-16)