Plot/Idea: In Suddarth's imaginative novel, Thomas finds himself the only survivor on a sinking vessel and tasked with saving mermaids from a plague. A fantasy with an LGBTQ+ romance at its heart, Song of the Dark will captivate young readers.
Prose: The novel vacillates somewhat awkwardly between Thomas's experiences at sea and his time several months before at the Blackwater Academy, where he grapples with his feelings for another student and with his family's dark legacy. Thomas's offhanded dry humor is a highlight, while the mermaids in the story are beautifully described.
Originality: Mermaids and sirens are familiar fodder, but they inhabit a unique world here–one that is intriguingly woven into the narrative focused on Thomas and his challenges.
Character/Execution: The dramatically different events unfolding between the two timelines can leave readers questioning how the past and present ultimately coalesce. While the fantastical circumstances at sea are fascinating, ultimately, it's the romantic storyline that may leave the strongest impression on readers.
Date Submitted: August 01, 2023