A stormsinger and pirate hunter join forces against a deathless pirate lord in this swashbuckling Jacobean adventure on the high-seas.
Launching the Winter Sea series, full of magic, betrayal, redemption and fearsome women, for readers of Adrienne Young, R. J. Barker and Naomi Novik.
Mary Firth is a Stormsinger: a woman whose voice can still hurricanes and shatter armadas. Faced with servitude to pirate lord Silvanus Lirr, Mary offers her skills to his arch-rival in exchange for protection – and, more importantly, his help sending Lirr to a watery grave. But her new ally has a vendetta of his own, and Mary’s dreams are dark and full of ghistings, spectral creatures who inhabit the ancient forests of her homeland and the figureheads of ships.
Samuel Rosser is a disgraced naval officer serving aboard The Hart, an infamous privateer commissioned to bring Lirr to justice. He will stop at nothing to capture Lirr, restore his good name and reclaim the only thing that stands between himself and madness: a talisman stolen by Mary.
Finally, driven into the eternal ice at the limits of their world, Mary and Samuel must choose their loyalties and battle forces older and more powerful than the pirates who would make them slaves.
Thank-you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC prior to publication.
I have read each book that H.M. Long has released, which up until Dark Water Daughter has been a series of standalones within a norse-inspired world, starting with Hall of Smoke. H.M. Long excels at crafting the atmosphere of the stories she writes, and the dark stormy setting of the Winter Sea is fantastic. The world-building is incredible, I love the magic of the gistwolds (spelling may not be correct, I did read this via audio) and the connection to the Other and how that manifests. There is another aspect to the magic system that I loved but it’d spoil the ending, so you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
World-building – 5/5 stars
Dark Water Daughter follows two main POV characters, Mary Firth and Samuel Rosser. Mary is a stormsinger, tied inherently to the Other. With her voice, she can control the wind and the waves of the unpredictable Winter Sea. Mary had never left her home prior to this adventure and there were actually a couple of flashbacks to show how she ended up getting to where we are at when the book opens. Samuel is a pirate-hunter whose quest brings him across Mary’s path early on. Samuel also has a connection to the Other, but I won’t spoil exactly how that shows up for him. He also has an incredible depth built up with both his past and family connections. Both Mary and Samuel have their reasons for chasing down pirate lord Lirr and their separate journeys weave around one another until they ultimately end up at the Stormwall together. This weaving around one another made for a really natural unfolding of the story that I enjoyed. I instantly connected with both of the characters, their complexities, motivations all felt so fully developed.
People – 5/5 stars
This is a quick fast-paced plot, both parties chasing down or luring Lirr depending on the circumstances. At times, I felt like some things went too quickly and didn’t get quite enough explanation. Towards the end there were some conveniences that I felt hadn’t been set up enough. That being said, the story was incredibly engaging and I blazed through this one.
Plot – 4/5 stars
Up until about 85% of the way through, I’d say the prose and pacing flowed incredibly well alternating between Mary and Samuel in natural places. Then the changes between the two POVs became more jarring and the continuity of the story started to fade. I did struggle towards the ending of this one. Ultimately, the ending turned it around and it finished really well and set up the sequel perfectly but some points were rocky for me.
Pacing – 3.5/5 stars
I read this via audiobook, and the narrators do a stunning job; Moira Quirk voices Mary Firth and Samuel Roukin voices Samuel Rosser. Moira Quirk lends her voice to The War Eternal series by Rob J. Hayes and The Unlocked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir. Samuel Roukin is the narrator for the Sun Eater series by Christopher Roucchio, among other things.
Overall, I think this is H.M. Long’s strongest work yet. I’ve been following her on social media for some time, and she has said that she came up with the first idea twenty years ago, and that passion for the story really shines through. I’m glad that Mary and Samuel’s story has made its way to a wider audience. Dark Water Daughter is now available in the UK and in less than a week on July 18th, it will be out in both the US/CAN. I highly recommend picking this one up, especially if you’ve read and enjoyed other works by H.M. Long.
Rating – 4.5/5 stars