A shipwreck brings a brave new world in this Tempest retelling.
Moss and Pa are the last two humans, stranded on an island until Pa’s Experiment with magical stormflowers can restore the drowned world. Fishboy Cal arrived a few years ago, first a playmate and now a budding romantic partner for Moss, but he rejects Pa’s post-apocalyptic narrative and yearns to escape. Moss is ethnically ambiguous—she is tan-skinned and green-eyed, with dark curly hair—in contrast to Pa, who is white, but their reactions to dark-skinned Cal frustratingly replicate the latent imperialism of Shakespeare’s play: Moss (Miranda) and Pa (Prospero) name him Callan (Caliban) and teach him English but still consider him “Other.” Now 14 years old, Moss worries about her pollen-addicted, depressed Pa, her aging dog, and the pangs of puberty. When a storm brings blond-haired Finn—received as a “real” boy—Moss questions Pa’s creation myths and grapples with her resurfacing memories. Christopher (The Killing Woods, 2014, etc.) streamlines the Shakespearean tale, eliminating secondary characters and subplots and rendering the magic on the island ambiguous. Replacing Elizabethan English with an inventive modern (but peculiarly overhyphenated) form keeps the language poetic, florid, and descriptive, if still alien.
As wild and refreshing as an ocean storm, if similarly tumultuous. (Fantasy. 12-18)