Review: Storm-Wake

By Lucy Christopher
Published July 31, 2018 by Chicken House/Scholastic

Storm-Wake is an interesting book, and it’s beautifully written, but I never felt a connection to it. It’s a reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and it initially stays quite close to the plot of the play. A young girl named Moss and her father, Pa, live alone on a deserted island where they were shipwrecked some years before. Pa tells Moss that Storm-wakefloods have claimed the rest of the world and that they’re safe on their island. The island is covered in flowers that Pa tries to use for magic to cure the rest of the world.

One day, a boy comes out of the water and joins their family. They call him Callan, and he seems not quite human. He looks like a boy, but has webbed hands and feet and scale patterns on his skin. Moss and Cal grow up together, but Pa begins to not trust Cal, thinking that Cal may be stealing Moss away from him. Then when Moss and Cal are teens (their ages are never specified, but they seem to be older), two more boys come out of the sea and threaten the fragile peace of the found family.

The first half of the book meanders along. Not much happens. Pa eats flowers that seem to drug him. He may be sick. Moss and Cal explore the island. Pa gets mad at Cal. Years pass. When two boys shipwreck on the island, the pace of story picks up, and Moss begins to question her relationship with Pa. Has he been lying to her? Is he mentally ill?

I enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, but the initially slow pace made it hard for me to feel connected to the story or the characters. Even when the story became more compelling, I was never that absorbed in it. I can’t decide whether I feel it should have been a shorter book that focused on the action in the second half, or a longer book that explored the odd family dynamics in more detail. That said, Lucy Christopher’s writing is beautiful.

I received an ARC from Amazon Vine.

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