Hello and welcome to my stop on the Whispers from the Depths blog tour, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. Thank you to the publisher and the author for providing me with an e-ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Book: Whispers from the Depths
Author: C. W. Briar
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
Release Date: February 19th 2019
Uncommon Universes Press
Joyful and blessed are Voice-bearers, for the Heavens have set them apart.
As Whisperers gifted with the Voice, Betka and her people are enslaved. Only they can control the dangerous spirits that haunt the waters, but they are forced to serve under cruel taskmasters. Betka has little hope of freedom from her service or her own bitterness.
They toil for the goodness of others.
A powerful water spirit terrorizes the castle where Betka’s sister is serving. Betka is assigned to the crew sailing to face the foe, and she fears for the only family she has left.
Rage is found nowhere in them.
In the beleaguered, flooded castle, a new threat awaits—a magic more powerful and horrifying than anything they have ever seen. Loyalties will be tested, and enemies will become desperate allies.
Betka is their only hope of escape—if she can subdue the wrath that endangers them all.
She who wields the waters for revenge drowns herself tenfold.
- Plot: 4/5
- Characters: 4/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Overall: 4.5/5
Whispers from the Depths was a dark fantasy novel that captivated me throughout. It wasn’t a story with a happy ending but it still ended on a note of hope and the promise of better things.
The Whisperers were a group of people gifted with the ‘Voice’ that allowed them to communicate with the water sprits that resided in rivers, lakes and seas and therefore had the ability to manipulate water. They were not able to harm other people using their power without causing an even greater harm to themselves and their purpose was to share their gift with the world and help people, to always give without ever expecting anything in return. Many years ago, the Whisperers were esteemed and respected but they were invaded by a group of people with different beliefs who enslaved them and treated them abominably.
Betka was a young, enslaved Whisperer who lived in fear and did her best to keep her head down despite her hatred for her captors. She had been taken from her family and enslaved along with her sister Tosna when she was very young and that traumatic event fuelled her bitterness and desire for revenge. However, as she was a Whisperer, even the thought of revenge or causing others pain was enough to cause her discomfort and minor pain. When the castle where Tosna was stationed was under attack from an angry sea-spirit Ylvalas, Betka became determined to go there with the crew sent to deal with the issue to make sure her sister survived.
Briar was brilliant at developing characters because even the most vicious characters felt multi-faceted and it was hard to completely hate them. Rorlen and Denogrid treated Betka and Asi (the other Whisperer who came on the journey) terribly. They physically and verbally abused them. The other crew members like Kuros were more tolerant to them and treated them more humanely. Despite their horrible treatment, Asi was ever forgiving and carried on helping and caring for them as if nothing had ever happened. Betka, however, was full of revenge and throughout the book we experience her conflict between exacting her revenge on them and forgiving and forgetting like Asi.
The way they were trapped in the castle, unable to escape and pursued by an evil water spirit hell-bent on killing them really built up the tension and created an almost cinematic reading experience. Rorlen and the other crew members were forced to overcome their hatred towards Betka and Asi because they were the only ones able to keep them alive. I liked how their grudging acceptance of the two women because it was necessary to survive evolved into a tenuous respect by the end of the book that would hopefully grow and flourish in the future.
The book was generally about the importance of forgiveness, although I didn’t think it was fair how the Whisperers were expected to just accept such horrible treatment and forgive those who enslaved them. However, that forgiveness did earn Betka and Asi measure of respect and esteem in the end. I’m not sure what I think about the ending of the book but generally it was an amazing and engaging book that I would definitely recommend to others. I think C. W. Briar is a talented writer and I look forward to reading more of his books in the future.
About the Author:
C. W. Briar writes fantasy that’s dark but hopeful, filled with wonder and humor along with suspense and creepiness. His favorite stories are the ones that make him both smile and perch on the edge of his seat. By day, he works as a systems engineer, testing or even riding on trains, airplanes, and helicopters. At night, when not writing, he prepares fancy dinners and shows off his awesome corgis. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and lives in Upstate NY with his wife, three kids, and secret stashes of chocolate.