by Nichola Reilly

published on June 24, 2014
by Harlequin Teen


Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam — but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.


DNF at 40%

Drowned, by Nichola Reilly, is the first book in a while that I have not finished, and below, I will tell you why.

It's hard to get into a book, to sit back and let it envelop you, when you can't deal with the main character. At all. Because let me tell you: Coe has a major Mary Sue Complex.

"Can she be talking about me? It's hard to believe that someone so ethereal and special ever thinks about me."
This isn't all. Let's keep going, shall we?
"At first I think I must have misheard him, that me just have been asking someone else. Why would he want me to scavenge with him?"
Don't worry, there's more:
"'Don't listen to Wallow,' he says to me. 'Don't listen to any of them. They underestimate you.'
"'Right,' I mumble.
"'You're better than any of them. If brains were muscles you'd be stronger than all of them.'
 "I turn away from him to hide my blushing. Why is he telling me this?"
And more:
"He's placing his trust in me. Me."
And more:
"'I'm . . . me?' Surely she is mistaken."
And more!
"'Me?' I sputter. Who would recommend me?"
By now, this is getting a bit ridiculous:
 "She blinks. 'No mind. It is a beautiful color. I am jealous.' Of me?" . . . "Why are you . . ."
And all these are only within the first 20% of the book! But, still, let's go on:
"'But I must know I can place my trust in you.' Me?"
And on:
"'Did anyone ever tell you, Coe Kettlefish, that you are positively stunning?'
"'Stunning?' I ask. No one has ever called me that before. 'You mean . . . frightening?'
 "He laughs. 'I mean beautiful.'
"Beautiful! No matter how hard the waves pound against the sides of the platform, even if I get carried out to sea today and the scribblers make me their evening meal, I know I won't be able to stop grinning like an absolute fool."
 And, sigh, on:
"Why, if he's in that much pain, does he want to see me?"
And, finally, I am so unfortunately annoyed that I can't find it within myself to go on. So I DNF'ed this sad little character in this depressing little book and decided to move on. Drowned would've been a worthy read were the main character not so insufferable: the world was creatively spun, the plot engaging for the most part. But some barriers are just too high to climb. Coe was one of them.

One thing to add before I go: if you've noticed, like I did, that some of the characters have odd names (Coe? Tiam? Huh?), know that Reilly has explanations for them, which I found interesting. ("When my mother named me Corvina [for which "Coe" is a nickname], she must have known who I would be. Named after a smelly, slimy, disgusting fish.") ("Tiam used to be a very popular name here. It was once considered to be a lucky name, for it pays respect to the goddess Tiamat, who rules the sea and controls its chaos.")


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