Cover Image: Dark Water Daughter

Dark Water Daughter

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I wanted SO badly to love this book like everyone else seems to, but I just can’t get into it. I know it is very well loved and has great early reviews so I do hope to give it another try in the future.

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A big thanks to NetGalley and Titan Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Arrrrgh! I really need to stop reading pirate books. But at least this was a good one, despite it not being quite my cup of tea.

Dark Water Daughter by H.M. Long is a fantasy novel that follows Mary Firth, a stormsinger with the power to calm hurricanes and destroy armadas. But not everything is fine and dandy for Mary as she is in servitude to the horrid pirate lord Silvanus Lirr. To spite him, she offers her powers to his arch rival, Samuel Rosser is a disgraced naval officer serving aboard The Hart, an infamous privateer commissioned to bring Lirr to justice. He will stop at nothing to capture Lirr, restore his good name and reclaim the only thing that stands between himself and madness: a talisman stolen by Mary.

This novel had a solid start, and a good premise. I liked most of the character. But once again I am fooled by my nemesis of pirate books. I blame Adrienne Young for making me give them another chance.

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My gratitude to NetGalley and the publishers for a free eARC of "Dark Water Daughter" by H. M. Long.
This is the first instalment in a new series,"The Winter Sea".
In my experience as a reader my main goal to find new and fresh stories to explore.
Seafering adventures are always exciting for me.
In this situation I do not think I am the right audience and this is not only due to the Romance, a genre that keeps dissapinting me 80% of times.
The main issue for me was that I have seen this magical ellements before. The control of the weather while sailing with the magical powers of singing in Rebecca Roanhorse's "Between Earth And Sky" series and the alive wooden figureheads of ships in Robin Hobb's "The Livrship Traders".
While there are enough differences, this magic system did not motivate me to continue with this book.
But while it did not worked for me, I think this work would be ideal for those who want to transition from Young Adult Fantasy to Adult Fantasy.

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Thank you to Netgalley and Titan books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review*

I want to start by saying that this was one of my most anticipated books of 2023 even though I’ve never H.M Long book before. I was excited to start my reading journey after hearing nothing but good things. And seeing all the early reviews coming through for Dark Water Daughter got me even more excited. Especially since early reviews were comparing this as a more adult version of Daughter of the Pirate King which I love and adore. However, after reading Dark Water Daughter I seem to be in the minority and realized very quickly this book just wasn’t for me.

Now let me start this review with my Pros. The synopsis of Dark Water Daughter really intrigued me, so great job marketing team. Another Pro I have for Dark Water Daughter was the beginning of this novel. Dark Water Daughter started out really strong. I was immediately drawn in and instantly made me think of the Pirates of the Caribbean gallows scene where they all start singing “Hoist the Colors”- that very first chapter throws you in to action and your eager to continue on and rooting for our main character Mary. But after those first 6 chapters the book falls flat and drags the rest of the way through.

Let’s start with the Cons. As I mentioned the pacing was painstakingly slow. Which was devastating because the beginning started so well. The pacing did pick up towards the end but to have about 75% going at snail pace had me forcing myself to keep pushing through to finish. My next Con the magic system. When the magic system was first introduced I was excited I wanted learn more about the Stormsingers & Sooths. However, I found that none of my questions were truly answered. Even by the end of the book, I didn't understand why some people had magic and why some people didn't have any magic at all.

My last Con of Dark Water Daughter has to be the Dual POV. Which I’ll admit is not always my strong point. However, all the male POV felt the same to me. I often found myself confused as to whose POV I was reading. And constantly had to flip back to remember which male POV I was reading from. On top of that, there were so many characters that I couldn’t keep them apart and had to constantly flip around to remember who they were and what their motivations were.

I feel like all I did was bash this book, I want to remind anyone reading this review that just because this wasn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean it won’t be yours. Clearly based on other early reviews people are loving it and I’ll leave it up to you as a reader to find out for yourself if this is something you’d be interested in. Even though Dark Water Daughter didn’t work out for me, I still want to thank again Netgalley and Titan for granting me access to read and review this book.

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This is one of the best books I've read, not just this year, but in my whole life. There's everything you could want: pirates, action, well developed characters, magic, and a dash of romance. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO PICK UP THIS BOOK???

The beginning reminded me of The Pirates of the Caribbean which was when I knew I'd adore this. I kinda knew just from the cover and blurb but that solidified it. It's such a good opening that pulls you in right away.

Mary was a lovable character from the start, we watch her grow from a sheltered girl who never left her village, into a powerful Stormsinger. I so enjoyed taking this journey with her.

Samuel is the other PoV character, who's a disgraced navyman and Sooth. I took a quick liking to him as well and I think his PoV complemented Mary's well.

The two of them together had great tension, and they always seemed like an endgame ship to me, but we'll see. I liked Mary with Charles too, but I won't be upset if they end up as friends.

I also loved all the other characters, Demery, Anne, Fisher, Widderow, Athe, the Ghistings, even Lirr (yes I know, bad guy bad). It's hard not to when they're all so wonderfully written.

I am not a very big fan of Benedict though, he needs to do A LOT to be redeemed in my eyes.

As for the plot, it was so fun, and I love how magic was interwoven with it, if that makes sense. Like the plot wouldn't exist without the magic, they're bound together much like some other things in this book.

And it feels so natural, all of it. The flow of the story, the writing, etc, I felt like I was on a ship, being gently rocked by the sea as I read. Even though the seas here were not gentle, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

You can just tell the author put a lot of love in this story, it really comes through. And I CANNOT wait to read the next book(s), I NEED IT/THEM NOW!!!!!

Pleaseeeee go read this book if you like any of the above mentioned things and thank me later.

*Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review*

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Ahoy there me mateys!  This first book of a series had pirates, pirate hunters, women that sing to storms, and magic tree dwelling creatures.  Nautical flintlock fantasy should float me boat but this did not.  I abandoned ship at 75% (348 pgs).  I read that much in order to find out the major conflict and answers about the magic but was super disappointed when "answers" start to appear.  The magic system seemed fun but ultimately didn't make much sense.  The world building was also underdeveloped and the politics felt nonsensical.  The pacing was extremely slow with very little action and lots of character angst.  The clothing descriptions seemed never ending and also extremely impractical for life spent in a winter sea.  

The main character, Mary, is the storm singer who doesn't know how to control her talent but seems to have extra special powers.  Everyone is out to have her skills onboard.  She seemed super naïve and in lust with any cute male that came along.  Mary also was a bit flat with no interesting inner dialogue or motivations.  Her eventual love interest, Samuel, was not much better.  He is magically "twisted" and misunderstood.  He doesn't seem to use his skills for any real purpose.  Frankly, they both were hard to cheer for and annoyed me.  The misunderstanding between the two would be resolved by some actual conversation.  Also, in general, the characters all seemed to blend together.

I love a good sea yarn but this wasn't it.  Arrrr!

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Wow, the writing in this book was really beautiful. I prefer something with a lot of action right away, instead of a lot of flowery language, but I think a lot of people are going to love this one. Especially because it is about pirates.

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I love this author's writing. She is able to describe things in such a beautiful way. I really enjoyed the story and the world that it takes place in. The magical part of this was just so cool and unique. I loved that there was so much lore that we got to learn throughout the entire book. It was just really cool. I liked the characters. They weren't new favorite characters of mine, but they were still really cool to read about. I do wish the book was a bit more romance heavy. I just didn't feel the romantic tension between the two at all throughout the book. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and look forward to the next one.

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Before I begin, thank you Netgalley and Titan Books for allowing me the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Dark Water Daughter in exchange for an honest review!

Welcome to my 5 star reads list, Dark Water Daughter!! You are greatly welcomed and sit among some other great titles.

In all seriousness, if you’re looking for an epic fantasy high seas adventure, look no further. Dark Water Daughter will take you deep into her arms and not let you go until long after the last page has been turned. I am completely enraptured by the world H.M. Long has brought us. Its as mysterious and dark as the deepest parts of the ocean, mystical and enchanting as beloved fairytales, and epic and adventurous as our most favorite swashbuckling tales.
Let her sweep you away in this tale. I promise, you will not regret a second of it.

But let’s dive in further to discuss. As a fantasy story, I will look at the world, its magic system, the characters, and the over arching plot and prose. As always, I will strive to be as spoiler free as possible!

The World -
H.M. Long has created a world that feels like Pirates of the Caribbean but in winter. We have multiple established cultures that ring faintly of inspiration the multiple empires and countries that sailed the seven seas and our imaginations. And yet, its unique. This winter take on high seas adventuring gives the tale a fresh and new spirit.

The Magic -
I absolutely love the system H.M. Long has created. It’s not entirely unique, but it fits so beautiful well in this world. The way she describes The Other, its creatures, the magic of Stormsingers, and other gifted characters leaves zero room for confusion on this important part of her story. Its beautiful and fantastical. It sets the tone for the story. I desperately want to come back to this world, just to learn more about what else one can do within the realm of her magic.

Characters -
There’s not a single character I hated. And that’s saying something. I loved them all. Each character had their own mysteries and tales that were expertly unveiled before our eyes, perfectly planned to keep one hooked into this tale. Mary, the main character, has a stunning arc of growth and maturity. From page 1 to the end, her character never felt off or out of line with what we know of her. Her thoughts, actions, and dialogue all make sense and drive the story wonderfully.
Samuel, the second main character, is the same as Mary. Well plot out character arc, nary a deviation from what we know of him. Both of them are so well written it was never an issue for me to switch between their point of views.
The secondary characters filled the world and breathed so much life into it. In a book that can easily feel saturated in blue, the secondary characters brought so much color and support to the main plot - to Mary and Samuel’s stories.

Plot and Prose-
H.M. Long tells this amazing tale through three lenses. The first is Mary’s POV, the second is Samuel’s POV, and the third is little inserts between chapters that tell the tale of a Girl from the Wold. Scattered through out are also excerpts from tomes explaining the magic system, the types of gifted people, and general knowledge about the world. These excerpts are placed strategically to coincide with reveals in the following chapter, helping one further understand the depths of what is happening. The switches between POVs never felt jarring to me and always flowed naturally, allowing the tale to continue without pulling the reader away.
The plot hooks its teeth into you early on and does not let go. H.M. Long does a masterful job of revealing just enough to keep you hungry for more and delving ahead.
There’s never a point that felt dull, or slow. The pacing felt good, solid, never too much all at once and never too little that it dropped me out of the book.

This really is a masterful tale and I highly HIGHLY recommend adding this to your Summer Reads TBR.

Again, thank you Netgalley and Titan Books for gifting me the e-arc for this amazing tale. I will eagerly await more from this author!

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⚓️A harsh land ruled by winds and winter. The seas impassable for most of the year. The wold, a land of magic and power. The strength of the earth and the speed of the wind. Where it exists humans can only accept, but they fear it. Mary Firth has grown up flirting with its edges. A wild girl meant to live and roam the land. Her mother - as strong as the wind itself. A stormsinger indentured to the navy. Free until war begins again. Her parting words to Mary - don’t ever sing.

🌊This book is filled with pirates and high seas battle. Both of the POVs were so gripping and the characters felt very real ( which also means very fallible, I definitely was screaming at both of them at some points ) There was a great balance between action and world building, the magic system itself was so beautiful. I definitely would love a movie adaptation of this one.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for sharing a copy of this ARC!

I have gone back and forth for several days thinking about my review of Dark Water Daughter. This book is an incredibly unique pirate-themed story that involves elements of fantasy, magic, swashbuckling, and treasure-hunting, with a sprinkle of some ghostly side characters. I was immediately hooked on the story after reading the first chapter that sets up our heroine Mary's story. From that moment on, however, I struggled to make it through the book.

The writing is impeccable and H.M. Long is an expert at crafting an incredibly atmospheric story. The book seamlessly moves throughout the POVs of Mary and our main male character, Samuel. The plot has all of the elements that I find interesting...but something just did not connect for me. The romance was not developed fully, and I spent a lot of the book trying to decipher exactly who Mary's love interest was.

Overall, this is still a good book and if you enjoy themes that include pirates and magic with a little dash of romance, you should give it a read.

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4.5/5 stars.

The full review is up on FanFiAddict:

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”I was stripped bare in a world where I did not belong. A world of monsters and visions, where past and future had little meaning.”

A swashbuckling good time to say the least! The world building in this book is so intricately detailed; I could practically feel the winter chill on my skin. The plot is complex, the characters are developed, and the author is not afraid to delve into the darker aspects of the Other. The only reason I’m not giving this 5 stars is due to the pacing lagging just a bit in the middle, and I was hoping the romance would develop a little more steadily in this installment, but overall this was a compelling read. I can even see myself giving it a higher rating upon a reread with the audiobook when it is time to prepare for book 2’s release.

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Listen, this is one of those fantasy books that are going to be a part of my new personality, okay? It is SO GOOD and I cannot wait for this series to continue!

Dark Water Daughter lives up to its premise of Pirates of the Caribbean meets wintery high seas and is chockfull of rich worldbuilding, magic, and a fascinating otherworld. It made me think of Stranger Things more than a few times. The lore within this world is well done, with well placed reveals that coalesced into a thrilling conclusion that has me ravenous for the next book!

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Dark Water Daughter is everything I dreamed my first voyage into the world of pirate fantasy books would be.

The storm magic, the character development, the world building, the action ?!

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First of all… that cover art? Stunning. Simply stunning. I am a total judge a book by its cover person. I will make exceptions but none were needed for this one.
Second of all… the magic system? So unique. So cool. I was obsessed with it. I loved the fact that Nature was so intertwined and a crucial part to how the magic worked. Long did a good job sprinkling in necessary information about the magic and world so that it never felt like we were bombarded and learned as we read.
Ho boy. I love when an author can make me fall in love, hate/despise, root for a character. Sometimes I find it very hard to get behind the characters, and sometimes I just hate how a character is written. I can't even enjoy the dislike for them. Bonus for making it so that I didn’t want to root for the villain of this tale and found nothing redeemable about him.
It was very easy to fall in love with most of the characters. I think James and Fisher were probably my favorite characters. I loved their interactions with Mary and Sam and how their relationships grew throughout the story.
I don’t think I have previously read a seafaring fantasy/adventure story? And even if I had, they got nothing on Dark Water Daughter. The description and imagery Long creates sucked me. To the point where I felt seasick at points. Simply incredible.
This was a solid five star fantasy read and I don’t know what will top it next. I am looking forward to book two in the series.
Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for the eARC for an honest review.

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A stormsinger and pirate hunter join forces against a deathless pirate lord in this swashbuckling Jacobean adventure on the high-seas.

H.M. Long is a master of her craft and has, once again, delivered a delightful story. I look forward to the rest of the series.

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This book shot its way up to easily being one of the best books I've read all year. I can't imagine this not being in my Top 5 by the end of 2023.

The world building, the storm magic, both the ship combat and the on land action, the CHARACTERS...Dark Water Daughter does everything right. No notes. Not a suggestion or a complaint to be had.

Chapter one immediately hits you and sucks you in so well and the book manages to keep that energy going. I never wanted to put it down. Which is not to say that it's non-stop, fast-paced, action and adventure; the pacing in this book is impeccable, like everything else.

And if I haven't made it clear enough how much I LOVE this book, let me tell you that it completely took over my life because for about two weeks straight I listened to nothing but the Assassin's Creed: Black Flag (the pirate one) soundtrack* and when I finished the book I immediately reinstalled the game because I desperately needed to keep the pirate vibes going.

I cannot wait for this series to continue. Book 2 has immediately become one of my most anticipated releases of 2024. In the meantime I guess it's time to go through H.M Long's backlist to keep me busy.

*Listening to the AC: Black Flag soundtrack in the background is the objectively correct way to read this book. As someone who generally needs either complete silence or plain white noise to read, when I decided to pop that soundtrack on in the background it changed the game. 10/10 cannot recommend enough.

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This was incredibly cool book. A fantasy pirate adventure story? It's not normally something I would gravitate towards, but a lot of people I trust have been talking about this nonstop and I had to give it a try and I'm so glad I did.

Our POV characters are Mary, a stormsinger whose voice can control the weather and Samuel, a disgraced Naval officer who are thrown into each other's paths in a rich fantasy world with echoes of the best parts of Pirates of the Caribbean.

The magic system was just so fun to discover while I was reading but I just love a great story that melds personal character stakes so well with harrowing physical challenges. The writing was fantastic and visceral and I felt like I was on these ships as they raced in the perilous winter sea in order to achieve their various goals. There are betrayals I legitimately gasped over and some beautiful scenes I'm still thinking about.

I have to say, this is very much NOT a romance...BUT my romance-loving heart was very much into the very longing looks that Mary and Samuel give each other even when they are at cross purposes. I feel like we are in for the juiciest of slow burns and I am ready.

I recommend anyone who loves high-stakes adventure and whose heart rate still picks up when they hear that Hans Zimmer Pirates' score gives this book a chance. You won't be disappointed.

Thank you SO much to Titan books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Dark Water Daughter did a good job of pulling me in with a combination of classic pirate story tropes and more unique worldbuilding elements. Both Mary and Sam have interesting narratives that tie into the magic, and there are some suitably sinister antagonists. I didn't find the climax as exciting as I was hoping - maybe just a little chaotic and drawn out - and it wraps up far neater than I expected for what I understand to be just the first instalment. Also, H M Long seems to have a consistent reluctance to depict queerness in her books - I'm not asking for in-depth representation, but I do expect modern fantasy (particularly second-world) to do a bit better than absence. So not quite as good as it was shaping up to be, but still an compelling nautical adventure.

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