Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival. Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever. Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.
Drowned (Drowned #1)Featured
From page one, Coe's character, history, and inner thoughts and longings captured my attention and imagination. Although the world-building is at times difficult to comprehend and imagine in my mind, overall, the picture painted is a bleak one indeed, and completely fitting for Coe and her dying world. In spite of most people on the island forgetting how to read and write, and even how to love, Coe remains very human and continues to have dreams and care for others in spite of telling herself it is futile. She was very easy for me to connect to, and the difficulty she must endure was hard to bear when I began to care for her and her loved ones. There was just something about her that endeared her to me; she felt like a changeling, like a small elf-child that was both helpless and strong and enduring at the same time. Her mess of hair and scabby body and the stench that surrounded her because of her job in the craphouse just made her seem more like a child that I would want to wrap up in my arms to love and hold and protect. Her love for her father and hope for his survival shone out of her like a beacon to those around her whose humanity still remained.
That might be why, eventually, we see that many are drawn to this spunky character. The love of her life (in her mind), Tiam, was almost immediately rooted in my mind, and in spite of wondering at times where he stood as far as "sides", in the end he was just such a great mixture of strong and innocent that I couldn't help but love him as Coe did. Other characters, like Finn, Fern, and Star, were also quite perceptible to me. Some characters, like the king, were more difficult to perceive, but overall the cast of characters were intriguing and pulled at my heartstrings.
The plot grew and grew more and more, until finally I realized, "Whoa! There's a lot more to this than I thought!" True to my normal book-reading habits, I didn't read the blurb and read this without knowing what it was about. I find this helps me to just dive right into a story, and I think that is the best way to go with this book (hence my strong lack of details about the story itself). I loved how well the author conveyed a sense of urgency and despair, and how at times a "Lord of the Flies" element came into play, and the contrast between the "commoners" and the "royalty" was eventually revealed to be different than what Coe imagined. There were many unexpected twists and turns (I normally can see them coming a mile away), and the writing just flowed over my mind until I became part of Coe's world.
Finally, something about the setting and Coe herself and Tiam...just made this book, for me, have the BEST KISS SCENE EVER. Okay? Yeah. You may or may not agree, but whoa. It was a reminder of that thrill a girl has with her first kiss.