The world ends in water in this tense post-apocalyptic novel.
On the far-future island of Tides, eroding from chronic catastrophic floods, the survival of each of its 496 inhabitants depends on the relative importance of their jobs. The higher their status, the farther they stand from high tide at “formation”—when each citizen crowds onto a platform and prays not to drown. Coe, who lost her hand to sea monsters under mysterious circumstances, prays hard; her job as Craphouse Keeper will make her especially vulnerable when she turns 16 and loses the protection of childhood. When ineffectual King Wallow falls ill, rebellion rises, and Coe finds herself attendant to spoiled Princess Star. Coe’s friend, Tiam, is chosen as the next king. Love is a liability in cutthroat Tides, but Coe hates imagining him with Star. When anarchy breaks out, Coe must abandon rivalries to save Tiam and find safety in a secret mountain. Suspense rises with the water as characters reveal their flaws and loyalties, and key words—which only Coe can read, kind of—are obsolete riddles that engage readers’ attention until the answer becomes plain. Coe’s voice is tough but eloquent, saturated with the bleakness of Tides and her hopeless romance. Though the story fizzles under an unexplained major plot convenience, the briny yet hopeful ending arouses anticipation for the sequel.
An atmospheric, uneasy tale of survival. (discussion questions) (Post-apocalyptic romance. 12-16)