Member Reviews

***4.0 Stars***

This was a fantastic swashbuckling story with intriguing unique magic and beautiful world building. I really enjoyed my time with this book. Mary is a storm-singer witch who tumbles into bad situation after bad situation until finally finding her feet and starting to discover herself, while searching for her mother. There are also a lot of pirates, pirate hunters, other types of magic and very limited romance.

The cover is fine, Pretty standard. Kind of dark. Not my favorite, I think the title draws me more then the cover.

I would recommend this to anyone who is into fantasy with a dash of pirates and lots of ships, likes unique magic systems or has read other books by H.M. Long. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

***I received an Arc of this book from Netgalley and Titan Books in exchange for my free and honest review***

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It pains me how much I did not like this. The exposition was so clunky and the first few chapters felt like one long run on sentence. I am a First-Person-POV-Ride-or-die-girl, HOWEVER, this story (regarding the way these characters internal monologue for most of the time) should have just been written in 3rd person or a phantom narrator. I have always leaned towards more of the "show not tell" styles of writing and the entire first 20% was telling and not showing. I would include a few quotes to demonstrate my point, however, as the book hasn't yet been released I will refrain. I have enjoyed H. M. Longs other works, like Hall of Smoke. I am just so stunned by how far this book deviated from my expectations.

One thing I did enjoy is that the audiobook has separate narrators for the FMC and MMC which is nice as the POVS swap back and forth between the two.

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I seem to be in the minority after reading the early reviews for this book. The premise was promising and the beginning had me thoroughly immersed in the tale that was unfolding. Unfortunately it soon started to unravel. Even when I had finished this book I still had so many unanswered questions. It was written in two POV'S but they soon became melded into one. For me a confusing and dull read. The start of a new series and I will not be reading more.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the Arc in return for an honest review.

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There's something opulent about receiving this ARC by the publisher while I'm traveling across the Pacific shoreline that makes me feel like I could be fading between here and the other.

Pirates, magic, and fading in and out between worlds - Dark Water Daughter opens in a 17th century world with secret Stormsinger, Mary, facing her imminent death on the gallows, in a worst-case mistaken identity. A Dandy fellow on the gallows offers her a taste of freedom if she can create a distraction so they may escape. Refusing to have her story end as fast as it opened, she finally uses her long hidden power to call a storm to bring their escape. Tearing to the shoreline, she is offered the choice to hit the water or take her chances in the woods. Taking the hand of a conman, she enters into a world of cruelty, adventure, and a cat and mouse game on the high seas.

Thumb up: My first exposure to Long was knocked out of the park by "Dark Water Daughter" and it was a cruel, epic, and rip-roaring adventure filled with pirates, magic, and betrayal.

Thumbs down: It did take a bit for me to find my footing with the storyline, I am also still left my head scratching at how traveling through the Other works. However, this is a great world that I thoroughly enjoyed with a mix of otherworldly creatures, a fun magic system, and a cast of swashbuckling grey characters.

Was it a nail biter? A beautiful escape that I can truly picture as I stare out at the sea. 4/5 ⭐!

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DARK WATER DAUGHTER is the start of a brilliant, icy, flintlock, high seas fantasy. It is full of high stakes action sequences on land and on ship as battles and natural dangers beset the cast. There's betrayal and world altering secrets to be uncovered.

I absolutely loved the world. Being a flintlock fantasy, it's set in a world similar to our "Golden Age of Piracy", which means we get to see the Navy, the outright pirates, and those in the grey area of privateers. It brings up such interesting dynamics, particularly when governments decide a pirate might be useful or not to them.

However, this is not tropical seas pirate fantasy, which is the most common one I find. The series title is The Winter Sea and that perfectly encapsulates the coldness of these waters. You won't find desert islands with palm trees and sapphire waters here, but icy waters, stinging rain, and plenty of mist. I loved how different this made it feel.

The historical detail was also great. It's a secondary world, so it had its own country and cultures created, but there are plenty of touchstones to make the 17th century analogue clear. The clothing, manners, and mindset especially impressed me - mindset is possibly the hardest to do because it can be so different to our modern societal mindset, but it has clearly been researched here. Its little things like hip pads for silhouette and the way people address each other that make a world feel real and cohesive.

The magics of the world were really fun too. The big headline one is of course Mary's stormsinger powers, but the ghistings, Samuel's sooth abilities to find people and to occasionally glimpse the future waveringly, as well as abilities like magni (influencing minds) create a landscape of powers that can be exploited. The magni abilities in particular are very unsettling thanks to the unscrupulous people using them - there's on very flesh-creeping scene with them.

I liked how the book's plot doesn't get Mary and Samuel aboard the same ship, which I think felt expected early on, but is another way this book feels very different to other high seas fantasies. They have their own ship(s), which are different sorts of vessels (pirates, grey area). Their stories are intrinsically linked, meeting again and again as their goals and actions keep drawing them together. This means it feels like one cohesive story but the separation for stretches gives them space to deal with events on their own, to show who they are without comparison.

Also there's no romance! I think it's being set up for later books, but here the thinking about each other occasionally didn't come across as romantic interest. It felt more like trying to find this person who was a means to an end or worrying about a close escape.

The book has a very large cast, thanks to the fact ships needed a lot of people to work then and we spent time aboard several ships. They felt well rounded and I enjoyed spending time with them. I look forwards to spending more time with them in later books.

The entire story is interspersed with extracts from books and dictionaries, and retellings of Mary's backstory told as if it were a fairy tale. The extracts were great at setting up key world building terms in a way that meant the characters rarely had to explain concepts they already knew to one another. I really liked the tone of the backstory, that lilting feel that explained how Mary ended up where she was at the start.

This is the start of a new series, but the book feels very much like a standalone. The primary conflict is resolved and there's nothing major hanging over at the end plot wise. I was particularly surprised (in the best way) with how the villain ends the books. It is so satisfying, but there's certainly a feeling of a larger world and more conflict and adventures to come in later books - and I really want to read those coming books now!

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Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for sending me a copy in exchange for a review.

I really loved this book - the world, the pirates, the magic system running through the people but also the nature - all of it was so good.
I loved Mary so much, she was so feisty, and unapologetic in herself.
Samuel was a little slower to unfold his back story, but I was 100% invested in finding out about him.

The ghistings were fascinating, and the ships were truly a whole character on their own. Oh, I just loved it all!

My only gripe (and it's all me, not the book at all) but I kept having to remind myself that the atmosphere and weather was winter - snow, ice, cold. I think because I'm used to consuming the pirate genre within a hot, Caribbean setting and I was reading it during a heatwave in the UK.

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Dark Water Daughter begins delightfully fast paced, drawing you in right away with an escape from certain death. The World is vast and immersive, drenched in magic and creatures. I loved the descriptions of the Ghiseau and the complexities of them in the World. There is of course Plots and Pardons, rugged pirates, oathbound heroes, twisted twins and a slow burning hint of love.

I will certainly be reading more of HM Long now.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this in advance in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you NetGalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Dark Water Daughter is the love child of Pirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Island, and something a little more swamp-magicy but with a specifically 80’s fantasy/action flick feel. Pirates? Check. Ambiguous treasure? Check. Funky magic? Check. A dashing hero and a feisty heroine? Check. A cast of side characters that really reel you in and make you almost more invested in their story than the MC’s? Double check.

This was such a fun, interesting and compelling story. I love Long’s writing (this was my first book from her) and found this incredibly easy to get into. The characters were funny and diverse, the storyline was interesting and well executed, and the magic system was fascinating.

I wish there had been more information on the lore/magic system delivered throughout the story as I was super curious about it all and found myself a little unfulfilled. I also think some of the characters, specifically our to MC’s could have been fleshed out a bit more. This didn’t rely on exposition (which I love - show don’t tell) but I also think it slightly underdelivered on some of the deeper character arcs which left Mary and Samuel feeling a bit superficial at times.

All of that being said, I had a lot of fun with this book and fully plan to get a finished physical copy once it comes out in Australia. I also plan to read much more from this author! If you love pirates, magic and action-packed adventure, this is definitely a story for you!

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I think this is one of my new favourite books. Everything was 10/10.

The world building in this is amazing. I love the way everything came together with the story and the world. The use of exerts from books in the world, songs and stories. Just incredible. The whole concept as well was just so cool and interesting. It’s set out at sea for the majority and is in winter. So think dark, stormy seas with snow and bone chilling wind. If you want to hold of till winter to read this, it would be so worth it for the vibes.

The characters were amazing too. I love Mary and Sam so much, Mary is one of my favourite characters I've ever read. She's smart, clever and strong. She takes every opportunity she can to learn and grow, she's forgiving of overs but not to a fault. I just loved her so so much.

Sam is amazing too, there's so much depth to him and he's going through so much that he learns to live with/ find the best way to be himself. His character just has so so much depth. The strained relationships he has with his brother and his internal monologue about how to act is just so raw and shows his growth so well.

From the moment the two characters were introduced, I just wanted them to be together.

This was just honestly ever I've ever wanted from a pirate book. You've got supernatural and magical mysteries, politics, strained alliances, betrayed and just great character relationships.

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This was such a great fantasy adventure story. It seems to be the year for brilliant sea faring fantasy (I also loved <i>The Adventures of Amina al Sirafi</i>) and if that's the case, I say bring it on if they're going to be of this calibre. <i>Dark Water Daughter</i> follows Mary, whose mother has always forbidden her to sing lest she give herself away. Stormsingers are rare and many Captains, both piratical and legitimate, wouldn't baulk at chaining one to a mast to sing the seas calm. Avoiding death by hanging, Mary gives herself away and finds herself in those very straits. Meanwhile, Samuel, a pirate catcher, has a mission of his own. His path and Mary's are about to clash...

Firstly, the worldbuilding here was spectacular. It was largely set in fantastical locations but there was a real sense of 17th smuggling/ pirate/ age of sail to the world. The author then organically added to this with 'wolds' - places where trees from the other world grow over into ours and magical creatures are more likely to exist. This is tied into everything from ship building to sailing to rivalries between sea farers not to mention the agendas certain creatures have themselves.

The characters were all well rounded and engaging. Mary is likeable, adventurous and morally a little flexible when it comes to survival. Samuel is just the loveliest, decentest person imaginable. Grant - I actually really liked Grant even though he's a terrible coward and not over burdened with a sense of right and wrong. The supporting cast is equally fantastic.

The writing is clear and engaging, conjuring up a real sense of place. There's action aplenty as well as twisted schemes. Overall this was a brilliant read. I enjoyed every minute of it and can't wait for the next one. Highly recommend.

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One of the best things about starting a new Fantasy Book is diving into a new whimsical world. H.M. Long delivers not only a plot filled, character rich story, but the world is so vivid it unfolds before your eyes! I can't decide if I should declare this my favorite read of the year now or wait... it's a high probability.

This story kicks off a new series for H.M Long, author of The Four Pillars Series, and it's one of the strongest starts to a series I've ever read. The first few pages will have you completely hooked as we meet Mary, a Stormsinger who is about to be hanged for something she didn't do. Oh and by the way, if you're wondering what a Stormsinger is... it's the most bad ass magical power ever. She can control weather with her voice! Obsessed! The book has amazing magic, betrayal, intrigue, action... pirates, high seas, and Samuel! We meet Samuel as he seeks out a talisman that will save his world.. only problem is that Mary has her hands on this talisman because she stole it.

H.M Long is a master at developing characters and this book might have my favorites! So many amazing women, and also a great villain's!

I am anxiously waiting for the next book!

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A fun, quick-paced, and exciting story with interesting magical world-building and likeable characters, Dark Water Daughter is a high-seas adventure. Also, the cover is really really pretty.

Like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Dark Water Daughter is very successful on the front of merging the historical with the magical. While it’s clearly a fantasy world, it retains that kind of Victorian/gaslamp feel of our Western history. It blends well-known aspects of the time period - balls, clothes, weapons, taverns - with its own world-building complete with fantastical creatures that inhabit ships (much like sentient A.I. in space ships), far less sexism, and four types of mages. I enjoyed the way the magic functioned in the story (the ghistlings were super cool), though I would have preferred a bit more realism on the ships front. I really love boats, so much so that I honestly enjoyed reading Moby Dick. So, for me, I could have used a bit more ship stuff, but if you’re not a weirdo like me and are looking for a high seas book where the ships are just vessels for the action, then you will love this. It's a lot of fun! The action scenes and descriptions are excellent. I had no trouble following what was going on.

The characters were good. I didn’t love any of them, but Mary and Samuel are likable leads, and the supporting characters are interesting, both the villains and the good guys. The thing is, though, I wanted a bit more to them at times. The story moves so incredibly fast that we never really see what the characters are like when they aren’t running, trying to lie/outwit one another, or in some sort of peril. As such, we don’t really get any introspection about them, aside from Samuel’s occasional brooding. Mary is strong, brave, and tough, but she’s never really vulnerable to the reader. I’m also quite picky when it comes to first-person narration, and this is one of those novels where third would have worked better for me, I think. Most of that is just personal preference on my part, though!

While the story does set up for a bit of a love story, that’s not a big part of the novel, so if you’re looking for romantasy or spice, this doesn’t have that. If you don’t like love story subplots, though, you’ll enjoy this.

Likewise, if sails-at-full-trim narration, dual POV, and intrigue are your deal, you will likely adore this. There are a lot of things to get excited about, specifically the world-building, but be prepared that you’re entering a tsunami of words that are churning like a maelstrom.

Because I prefer more of a slower-paced story and my fantasy with a bit more politics, I didn’t fall head over heels for Dark Water Daughter, but it was great for a few fun dates.

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4.5 stars

Ahh!! I really, really enjoyed Dark Water Daughter! It was Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End meets Shadow and Bone, in my opinion. I thought the world building was so unique and well fleshed out. I loved all the encyclopedia entries before each chapter. It provided so much depth to the world without it feeling info-dumpy. Mary is such a wonderful character. I loved her so much. This is honestly such a solid pirate novel. It was action packed from the get-go. It did get a little hard for me to follow at times, just because I felt like there was always so much going on. I am SO excited for book two. Thanks you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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An atmospheric, dual POV, wintery fantasy pirate adventure with a powerful female main character.

If you haven't been introduced to H.M Long's brand of storytelling yet, this is a perfect entry point. The pacing is fast enough to keep us wondering what's going to happen next, but slow enough to make us feel the snowflakes on our skin, hear the storm outside the window and taste the beer from the port tavern.

We're introduce to Mary when she's lined up with other criminals waiting to be hung. She has been mistaken for a vicious highway woman. The man beside her promises to help her escape if she can cause a distraction. Little does anyone know, Mary is a stormsinger, a magical talent that can control winter storms. From there we follow Mary as she journey's to rescue herself and find her mother.

We also follow Samuel Rosser is a disgraced naval officer who is tracking the most notorious pirate the seas have seen, Lirr. His path often crosses with Mary's as fate pushes them together. Interestingly, Samuel also has a magical talent, which is connected to Mary's. There's no romance in book 1, but there's a solid foundation for what might be in book 2.

Talking about book 2, H.M Long has shared that book 2 is already in the works, although the name hasn't been released yet. I had so much fun on this adventure, I can't wait to go back!

Thank you to NetGalley and Titan books for the advanced reader copy. I follow H.M Long on TikTok and Instagram, because her content is on point and she often recommends other amazing fantasy, action and female-lead books. Find her @hmlongbooks.

This book is best read in a port-side tavern, drinking a pint of ale, while someone sings bawdy folk songs. Remember to wrap your cloak tight around you, and if you don't have one, steal one from a good-looking disgraced navel officer.

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Pirates, but make it winter. I never thought that was something I needed, but turns out I did! I loved the characters, May was fierce and willing to do whatever was necessary to survive and I was rooting for her the whole time! And Samuel was so fascinating, he's learning more about himself and his magic and what he really wants out of life. I liked the side characters as well, and how even though they are pirates they aren't unnecessarily cruel (except for the villain, of course). I will say that at times I thought that the book was progressing a little too slowly, especially in the middle where it seemed like there was a lot of pages with not a lot of things happening, but the magic and characters were so interesting that I didn't mind too much. Speaking of the magic, this is one of the most unique magic systems that I've read recently, with the Ghistings and the different types of magic users like Sooths and Stormsingers. Some of my favorite scenes included the magic, especially the Ghistings! I do wish there was a larger focus and explanation on the magic, specifically about the Other and how the magic works but I have a feeling that will come with the second book, which I'll definitely be reading!

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Title: The Winter Sea - Dark Water Daughter
Author: H. M. Long

The Winter Sea - Dark Water Daughter by H. M. Long is a spellbinding novel that immerses readers in a captivating world of magic and mystery. Set against the backdrop of a wintry landscape, this book weaves together elements of fantasy and folklore, creating a truly enchanting reading experience.

Long's prose is lyrical and evocative, painting vivid descriptions that bring the setting to life. The wintry atmosphere is palpable, evoking a sense of cold and isolation that adds depth to the story. The author's attention to detail is commendable, as she explores the intricate workings of the magical elements within the narrative.

The characters in The Winter Sea - Dark Water Daughter are beautifully crafted and multi-dimensional. They possess depth and complexity, with their struggles and desires driving the plot forward. Long does a remarkable job of capturing the essence of their emotions and motivations, making them relatable and compelling.

The blending of fantasy and folklore in this book is masterfully executed. Long seamlessly incorporates elements of myth and legend, creating a rich tapestry of storytelling. The interplay between the human world and the magical realm adds layers of intrigue and suspense, keeping readers engaged from beginning to end.

One aspect that stands out in The Winter Sea - Dark Water Daughter is the exploration of themes such as identity, sacrifice, and the power of storytelling. Long delves into the complexities of these themes, weaving them seamlessly into the narrative. This adds depth and resonance to the story, making it more than just a tale of magic and adventure.

Overall, The Winter Sea - Dark Water Daughter is a mesmerizing read that will transport you to a world of enchantment. H. M. Long's beautiful prose, well-developed characters, and skillful blending of fantasy and folklore make this book a must-read for fans of the genre. It is a story that lingers in the mind long after the final page is turned, leaving you eagerly anticipating more from this talented author.

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I feel a bit of a loss of words with this book. It's one of those books that will stick with me for a while. It was unique with action, adventure and its fair share of heartwarming moments too. Each character was well-rounded with their own motivations and personality with their own character arcs fitting of their story. The world-building was interesting and unique while the magic system was in a class of its own. And who can say no to a good piratey adventure?

I loved both Mary and Samuel and how their relationship unfurled. Sometimes, I feel like slow-burn romances end in an unnatural and forced conclusion yet this one felt just right. The way things ended left me excited to see how the relationship further develops in later books of the series.

I loved how this book had a satisfying conclusion yet still questions left unanswered for later books as well. I am definitely excited to see where the rest of this trilogy goes!

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This was honestly everyting I was expecting and more. Absolutely loved the characters and this is going to be a really good start to a series!

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Dark Water Daughter was a mixed-bag read for me. On the positive side, I loved the premise and the fantasy elements, and the world building was handled perfectly throughout. It was an intriguing fantasy tale with enough freshness to hold my interest while still hitting all the trope buttons. However, what stopped this being a top read for me was the fact that I never fully connected with the characters. I didn't come to deeply care about any of them, and the relationships felt a bit forced and, in the case of the romance, a little sudden based on the small length of time those characters had spent together on the page. That character disconnect kept me from being completely immersed in the story, despite enjoying the plot. As such, I am giving this book 3.5 stars. It was good, but I wished I could have cared more for the characters. It's definitely worth checking out though if you enjoy fantasy with a fresh twist.

As per your preferences, I am holding my review until publication month. It will go live on my blog and Goodreads on 3 July 2023, at which time I will also share across social media.

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Absolutely burned through this book in a couple of days...I mean, Pirates & Magic...what more can you want!? Really enjoyed "Dark Water Daughter", like all of H.M. Long's books with each new book I see her writing getting better and better.
From the whole idea of Stormsinger's to the Other World, Navy Captains to Pirate Captains, the love of a daughter, the loss of a mother, the adventure and chaos in Dark Water Daughter was a fun ride!

I look forward to many more adventures with Mary, Samuel, Tane, Demery and more!

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