Talia doesn’t believe in the old gods and the legends that her mother used to tell her beside the fire. But just because she doesn’t believe, doesn’t mean they aren’t real.… Ancient curses and buried prophecies rise up from the depths in Joanna Ruth Meyer’s Beneath the Haunting Sea. What better way to start off the new year than with a brand new book from a debut author, right? It’s the perfect time for fresh voices and new perspectives. Beneath the Haunting Sea comes out tomorrow, January 9th. Find it at your local retailer, or scroll to the bottom of this post to buy it online and support the blog by using my IndieBound affiliate link.
Sixteen-year-old Talia has been raised in the luxury of the Emperor’s court in the kingdom of Eddenar. But when her rival seizes power, Talia and her mother are exiled to the distant sea-side estate of Ruen-Dahr. On the voyage across the Northern Sea, Talia can hear something calling to her from beneath the waves. When she arrives at Ruen-Dahr, the baron’s son Wendarion claims to hear the music of the ocean, as well. Together, Talia and Wen scour the old myths for clues as to their parts in an epic saga that spans centuries. But when Talia discovers what her destiny is, will she be ready to face it?
What I really loved about this book was the way that Joanna Ruth Meyer created her own complex mythology to serve as the background for the story. The legends she creates are vaguely Norse-esque (the author has admitted to being inspired by J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Silmarillion), so they’ve got a slight sense of the familiar while still being fresh and original. In the book, Talia is almost as unfamiliar with this mythology as the reader is, so we get to follow along as she digs through old memories, hidden tomes, and her mother’s incoherent ramblings to piece the stories together.
Part of this mythology is an interesting take on the undead. Talia learns of a watery underworld where drowned souls are gathered in a net brought to a grand hall. There, they are chained together and forced to dance for all eternity—essentially underwater zombies! When someone close to Talia dies, she must struggle whether she can truly bring someone back from these watery halls or if freeing them from their torment is the best she can do.
If you liked this review, you can find Beneath the Haunting Sea in stores tomorrow, or click the link below to buy it online from an independent bookstore and support The Gothic Library in the process.