“Epic, musical, and tender.” Kirkus Reviews
Can’t You Hear It, Talia? Can’t You Hear the Waves Singing?
Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.
It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen Dahr,that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods’ historyand her ownthe more the waves call to her, and it's her destiny to answer.
JOANNA RUTH MEYER lives with her dear husband and son in Mesa, Arizona, where it never rains (or at least not often enough for her!). When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching piano lessons, drinking copious amounts of tea, reading thick books, and dreaming of winter.Visit her at joannaruthmeyer.com, and follow her on Twitter @gamwyn.
12/01/2017School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Days after suddenly discovering that she is heir to half the world, 16-year-old Talia is banished by her rival to the remotest area of the land, Ryn. On the ship to their exile, Talia's mother becomes convinced that the sea is out to kill them both. She jumps overboard in an attempt to save Talia, leaving her daughter to face exile at the estate of a morose Baron. As part of her banishment, she must marry the Baron's youngest son, Wen. While she initially finds Wen rather lackluster, she and his older half-brother Caiden are instantly attracted to each other. Both of the boys' mothers died mysteriously, and Talia finds a locked tower and temple that may have played a part in their deaths. She and Wen grow closer searching for answers, aided by Wen's mystical abilities. Talia comes to believe that her mother, along with all the dead, are held captive under the sea by the death goddess Rahn, and that she alone can save them. But will she and Wen survive the showdown? This is an ambitiously complicated plot with multiple settings for readers to keep track of, including locations that evoke the Middle East and Europe and their histories. Stilted dialogue and curses referencing the old gods land heavily. VERDICT An additional purchase for libraries with die-hard fantasy readers. Readers would be better served by Rae Carson's "Girl of Fire and Thorns" trilogy.—Lee De Groft, Jamestown High School, Williamsburg, VA
A rightful empress, exiled before she takes the throne, finds that her destiny lies under the ocean.Almost as soon as Talia learns that she's the dying emperor's biological daughter, a usurper banishes Talia and her mother thousands of miles across the sea. On the voyage, Talia's mother seems to go mad, scribbling gibberish onto paper and leaping to a watery death. Having come from a Middle-Eastern-ish desert-and-city culture of brown-skinned people, Talia arrives on a distant island of white people—and finds herself nonconsensually betrothed. Bereft, stunned, displaced, she listens to the music coming from the sea and delves into reading religious myths she doesn't believe in—only to slowly, horrified, discover her destiny. In this Gothic-touched and unabashed love letter to Tolkien, Meyer weaves singing and ancient myths (or are they history?), offset in italics, with archetypal relics, beings, and curses—a massive tree, an ancient jar of starlight, ancestors, gods, eternal punishment at the bottom of the sea—through an epic adventure to a homey ending. Along the way, Talia's understanding of herself is challenged over and over, she finds love, and she fulfills the destiny that is somehow also completely her choice. Fans of Alison Croggon's Pellinor series will be besotted.Epic, musical, and tender. (Fantasy. 12-16)