On the moon of Knyadrea, the sea yields intelligent life. For a species shaped by tides, change is the only constant.
Little can be hidden in the glare of a spotlight.
Charismatic and innovative, Oklas Sayve has risen to prominence in Apidecca, the moon’s capital city. A politician and college director, he has the resources to effect the changes he envisions for the world. But the sovereigns he serves oppose him at every turn and his status cannot protect the low-strata students attending his college. After a young knyad is wrongly linked to insurgent activity, Oklas must find a way to smuggle her out of the city while hiding his involvement from the authorities.
A spark in the dank depths.
Below the grand Assembly Chambers, a knyad in a mask sculpts, grasping for scraps of beauty in her shrinking world. Years ago, Prismer made a costly mistake and now has only her job at the projection booth and a few special interests to fill her days. But it is not her sculptures that draw the attention of a powerful client, and she is soon met with a request to undertake a dangerous mission. Will she answer the call and risk losing the little she has left?
Mysteries surface. A supernatural substance is used in corrupt ways. As identities shift and predicaments are reshuffled, what alliances might be forged?
This was an interesting book. The political situation on Knyadrea was prominent in the storyline, as both main characters are caught up in it. Oklas as a minister and the head of a college, and Prismer as an employee at the Assembly.
Prismer was intriguing. Her story was really sad, and I empathized with what she’d gone through. I wanted to see her succeed, and I certainly didn’t want to see anyone else in this story suffer as she had.
I liked Oklas as a character and found him very relatable. He was trying to change things for the better, particularly when it came to certain clans. He was an idealist, and inventor, and a lot of fun. But there is a relatively heartbreaking scene midway through that really got to me. I would love to discuss it more, but to avoid spoilers, I can’t (if you have read Far Removed and want to chat, I’d love to talk more about the book with you!) I’ll leave it at this: the scene upset me enough that I had to step away for a while. That doesn’t happen to me often, so I consider it a mark of a very well-developed character and storyline.
Anyway, let’s talk about the worldbuilding…
Knyadrea is a tidally-locked moon with a heavy reliance on its oceans. It orbits a large bluish planet (I imagined it was a gas giant, but I don’t recall if it was ever specified), and is affected gravitationally by another nearby moon.
Its people, the knyads, are semi-aquatic. They begin life in the sea and eventually wash up on the shore somewhere. They refer to themselves as tidelings at that stage, and don’t fully develop until they reach land. They’re fairly humanoid as juveniles and adults, but their DNA seems to harbor characteristics of maybe coral polyps? (I’m not entirely sure, but it’s definitely some sort of cnidarian sea creature.) I love when an author comes up with a new species that is based on the biology of something unusual like that.
The politics of Kynadrea were prominent throughout the book as well. There are different “strata” in society, and some clans (those in power) predictably favor their own people over others. They are also pretty ruthless when they want to remove someone who opposes or threatens them in some way, but I won’t go into their methods here (you’ll have to read the book to learn more.) The oppression made for a dark and dystopian atmosphere.
Overall, this was a great read, and despite the darkness in so much of the story, I thought it ended on a hopeful note. I look forward to reading book two.