The Tyrhennians struggle to survive in the dried out basin of an ancient ocean. Inez knows no other world than this endless cycle of heat and brine, but listens to the stories of a distant land of great cities and endless seas.
She never believed them, until the day her brother is injured by a strange craft crossing the desolate plains. So she discovers that the stories are true. But as she tries to find her brother in a strange city she realises that she is not the only person from the salt plains here. Others from the Arid Lands have infiltrated the city – and they have a plan.
This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was an enjoyable read. It’s told from the perspective of Inez, a young woman (maybe teenager?) searching for her brother after he runs away angrily. As the synopsis mentions, he’s injured, and is picked up by people flying a strange craft that she doesn’t have a name for. She stows away, and when the craft lands, her brother is taken somewhere. She’s left to figure out how to find him in a strange place filled with people and technology she’s never seen.
Along the way, she gets caught up in a conspiracy led by strangers also from the Arid Lands. Not all of the strangers are friendly, and their plot, when revealed, turns out to be pretty sketchy. There were a few times when I wasn’t sure if Inez would do the right thing, or follow her heart (yes, there’s a love interest, and while he’s mostly a nice guy, he has a few moments where I thought she’d be better off without him.)
What I liked about Inez was her determination to find her brother and return him home. I love sibling stories like that. I also loved that she never gave up, even when those around her threatened to, and she often bolstered them enough to keep them going. She was smart and resilient.
But there were times when I also didn’t understand Inez or her decisions. Early on, she was determined to hide from the strangers rather than draw their attention, but the reason behind why she chose to do that was never explained. I would have loved a little more explanation as to why she was so afraid. And later, when things turned and she was caught up in a few fights, she had the tendency to stand in place and scream, rather than do anything that might help her friends or allies. I’m not a fan of the damsel in distress thing, so maybe my frustration with her is due to my personal preferences as a reader.
Overall, I liked the plot of this one; there was plenty of intrigue and danger, questionable characters, and the overall theme of finding and rescuing family. It’s a standalone, and a fairly quick read with a solid ending.