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Oceans of Shelter by J.A. Waters

Nalan's people seek singers of god-power, but Nuette just seeks home and parents. 

Galania. A kingdom that stretches from oceans in the west to seas in the east. Its people hum with the energy of a new age. Technology is thriving as scientists harness the powers of gods for new creations. Cities glow with light that does not flicker and nations grow under the thumb of a network of continental planners.

And in the midst of newness is a 13 year old girl, Nuette Syimga. As the daughter of a potter and plumber, theirs is a simple life despite the busy city of Deutro’s rising power. Yet, that life is not without its worries.

Nuette and her parents are believers in Kalshen, a god that has fallen from the favor of Galanian citizens. Where once the belief was tolerated, changing times are leading to disrupted lives. The Syimga family find themselves unwelcome in their own home, and they must face mounting risks to ensure the safety of their daughter. Nuette will be thrown from the comforts of home and then she faces difficult choices to keep her parents alive.

Note: Oceans of Shelter contains some graphic violence.

An ongoing series, with new episodes sporadically

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Listed: Jan 30, 2016

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An intriguing tale that transmutes the contrived into charm.

By Patrick Rochefort, member

Feb 1, 2016: The Good: Oceans of Shelter is a story that loves language, and the rhythm thereof. Prose is crafted as much for those values of rhythm and cadence as for the power of the words, and it lends a genuinely magical air to the tale.

The (not actually) Bad: The initial dialogue in the story feels terribly, eye-rollingly contrived, with a great deal of rhyming and stilted dialogue that felt too artful and precious to suit the setting or characters. THIS PAYS OFF IN LATER CHAPTERS. Bear with it. Turns out the magic system revolves around song and rhyme, and when the context for it becomes plain, it casts a whole new light on the tale.

The (actually) Bad: All the forgivable part above aside, the early dialogue is still stilted as all hell. It does improve pretty fast, though. Parts of the story have sacrificed clarity and power of emotion for the sake of preserving that sense of rhythm and cadence to the language, and some plot turns come out of nowhere, and frustratingly without much credibility.

The Ugly: Not much ugly here. A few misplaced ‘now’/’not’s, but the work appears to have been thoroughly proof-read and edited.

Overall: 3.5 stars, based on the first 5 chapters of the story. I’m looking forward to reading more, because the use of rhyme and song to evoke magic is really very interesting, and there’s enough hooks in the plot so far to keep me interested.

Watch for very good things to come out of this story, as the writer improves. This story definitely has charm, and with a little less pretension and a little more heart on its sleeve, it’ll go far.

5 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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