Review copy provided by Tor.
There’s a lot of discussion of grittiness swirling around fantasy and getting under my contacts lately. Wait. That metaphor ran away with me. Let me start again. So: grittiness. Yes. Sea Change has it. A lot. The example I gave to a friend in e-mail is that when someone in this book breaks a glass bottle, it shatters and gets little pieces of glass in someone’s skin, and they have to be picked out carefully. The grit here is pretty literal. There are viscerally unpleasant things going on here, and they’re neither stylized nor ritualized. S. M. Wheeler is not trying to buy anything cheaply here. She pays full price for all of it, and so do her characters.
That’s all about tone, though. As for the plot…best friends are at the center of it, not love interests, and there’s a kraken and a skinned witch and some gay bandits and complicated family relationships, and…yeah. It is full of a number of things. It is not attempting to be anything but itself. I will definitely be interested in where Wheeler goes from here, because this is the gritty/dark edge of what interests me, but some authors are worth poking the edges for.