Pryce (Unnatural Selection) employs unconventional storytelling to keep the surprises coming and maintain an ominous tone with jabs of terror. Occasional diversions, such as a parallel story in which Jake’s ex-girlfriend Ellie and her crew chase a rogue whaling vessel using sonic harpoons, always veer back to the action. The narrative is wordy in places, but Pryce smoothly blends subtle humor with quick, hip writing and references to popular culture, and respectfully draws on Jake’s Hopi and Irish heritage. Readers will eagerly follow Jake’s journey into the weird and feel sympathy for his cause.
Pryce packs the story with meticulous descriptions of mutated fish, trapped sea turtles, and the tragic raft of plastic and garbage circling in the ocean, contrasted with the valiant efforts of those who strive to make a difference. The abrupt cliff-hanger ending is frustrating, but readers will eagerly look for sequels. With unexpected turns and plenty of trippy strangeness, this escapade will chill readers to the bone.
Takeaway: Conservationists and SF fans will relish the detailed science and fast-paced adventure of this quest to save the planet.
Great for fans of Joan Slonczewski’s A Door into Ocean, Jack Vance’s The Blue World.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+