Member Reviews

“We’re all pirates, lass.”
I’d gone from one ship full of criminals to another. I clutched the rope and murmured a weepy, “Damn.”

Plot: 5/5

Opening chapter gave such hard core pirates of the Caribbean vibes and I was hooked. The plot moves at a very good pacing that didn’t have any lulls, the peaks of action are well spaced.

Characters: 5/5

“I’d won a chance at freedom, but I might be throwing that away, staring into the large, dark eyes of Samuel Rosser.”

I love Mary she’s smart and fierce, eager to learn what she needs to to survive. Her character growth is so well done. She’s already far into her roguish journey at the start of the book but now she has direction.

Samuel is such a complex character. He’s already a very defined character and his growth arc is more about admitting what wants and going for it.

Before Mary and Samuel even really met I was thinking okay now when will they kiss? I love their instinctual care for each other, even when they aren’t on the same sides.

Writing: 5/5

Long has fantastic voice and each POV has distinct personality. There is incredibly strong and unique world building and magic development. Never before have I cared about epigraphs in books but I read every single one of these. They added to the story and world building perfectly.
This story has winter vibes which isn’t something I knew I loved in a book. I am obsessed

Overall: 5/5
The perfect book for every fantasy lover, HM Long has earned a dedicated with this book.

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The premises of Stormsingers and an intricate magic system was really exciting, and the first part of the book was interesting even when it dumped a lot of information quickly on the reader.

However I felt the other parts were a little lackluster and at times found myself skimming pages of dialogue and filler scenes that did not add a lot of meat to the plot. I also struggled to differentiate between Mary and Samuel's POVs as they were so similar.

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The best thing since Pirates of the Caribbean! I was completely enthralled by this story. The world is totally immersive and the characters are so endearing. The depth of the story world, magic system, politics, history, and lore is impeccable. You will be swept away into this adventure on the seas. The world feels familiar enough to be grounded into and yet intriguingly unique and magical.

I loved seeing Mary come into her power and embrace her true self. I loved getting to experience Mary deciding her place in life and taking her own path. We get to learn about the world and everything in it right along with her. And I truly felt like I was along for the ride with everyone. Sam is absolutely adorable and such a sweetheart. I just loved him. Their budding relationship is so freaking cute and had me in my feelings.

The pacing is expertly crafted. There are several converging plotlines and multiple POVs that make the story that much more engaging. We follow several different ship crews and explore all of their dynamics, with their differing motivations and overlapping interests. There’s found family and warring factions, all while blurring the lines between good and evil, who's fighting for what side, and various levels of piracy. Adventure, treasure, otherworldly beings and power - what more could you even ask for?

I loved every minute of this story! I could not put it down and I can’t wait for the next installment in this series. The writing and fantasy craft are fascinating and I have already ordered the first book in this author’s previous series because now I just want even more from her! This is a top must-read fantasy of the year and I recommend it to everyone. You absolutely have to read it! I know you’ll be captivatingly lost in this story just as much as I was.

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The Dark Daughter is an amazing transportive fiction. I loved the little anecdotes/descriptions at the beginning of each chapter giving up a view into this world and its unique lore. What's not to love with an intriguing fantasy full of pirates and magic and characters you can't help but root for. This is such an immersive book full of characters you are desperate to learn more about and follow along on their adventures. I can't wait to see what's next in this series.

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It has been a minute since I've read a full fantasy book so it look me a little while to really get into this because I couldn't keep the world building straight, but once I wrapped my head around it I was fully invested.
This book and world building is like no other fantasy I've seen before and is written so beautifully. I mean fantasy with pirates AND magic? Perfection from the start. The dual POVs made it easier to learn about the world and story without any info-dumping. There is the broad array of characters (three ships and ports worth) that I generally expect from fantasy (especially when adventuring is involved) and the author does a great job of making them each individual full characters who are easy to keep track of while making sure they all add to the plot and richness of the story.
The book is complex, rich, and well layered and I hope there are more in this series to come.

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H. M. Long is an author who transports you into a world with her intricately detailed world-building. You can feel the wind and can even smell it - it’s so immersive. It’s also the beautiful little details for me. I loved the idea of the dragonfly lanterns 💖.
Among pirates there’s folklore, magic and other worlds. A fantasy readers dream! I would recommend this book to anyone who has a soft spot for dashing rouges. The multiple point of view worked really well - you didn’t know who to trust throughout. I loved both main characters.
Pacing built up throughout and the plot is amazing.
Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for an E-ARC. This is a voluntary review of my own thoughts.

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I requested a digital copy in order to sample the prose on my phone (since I don't have a eReader) before requesting a physical copy for review. My review will be based on the physical ARC I read (if I qualify)

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H. M Long has done it again and created an utterly transportive and atmospheric world, complete with a unique magic system and a high stakes adventure.

Dark Water Daughter brings something new and fresh to the world of pirates, that I honestly didn’t know I needed. I couldn’t put this book down, I was completely immersed in a winter world, where pirates battle pirate hunters, storm-singers can control and affect the weather and creatures can travel between planes.

Never predicable, filled with adventure Dark Water Daughter will keep you immersed between the pages.

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I really enjoyed Long's previous work, especially 'Hall of Smoke', so I was already excited to see what she would come up with in her new series. Add to that pirates, living ships and cool magic and it sounded just like a dream come true for me specifically. And damn, this book is AMAZING!
Honestly, I think it's my favourite by Long, and I cannot wait to dive into the rest of the series.

'Dark Water Daughter' tells the story of Mary Firth, a young stormsinger, which is a mage capable of controlling the weather through song. A sort of siren, if you will, which is just a concept I absolutely adored. Mary is not very experienced when it comes to her powers, and she doesn't know much about the world as she lived most of her life in one place, so when she finally does leave this place when she's supposed to be married off, she's faced with a whole set of new, overwhelming experiences. And because stormsingers are very valuable in this nautical world, both the navies of warring factions and the pirates and privateers on the seas want a piece of her kind, turning them into commodities if they don't manage to escape.
Stormsingers aren't the only mages, though. There are different magical powers, with the other two most prominent ones being the Sooths - people that can cross into the Other, even predict the future - and Magni who can control people's thoughts and actions. Samuel, our second protagonist, is such a Sooth, though one who is constantly at risk of losing himself in the Other.
Mary and Samuel are both great, complex protagonists and I was equally interested in both of their povs. There is a very slow burn romance between them - though it's too instalovey for my personal tastes - but romance is never really focused on in this book. I did have to roll my eyes a few times at the fact that Mary is basically surrounded by Hot Guys and expresses her attraction to all of them to some degree, and only the evil people are kind of on the uglier side, but you know what, I don't even care that much because everything else is just so great. The side characters are amazing and I felt attached to all of them, which made me actually care about all of their fates, raising the stakes for the story.

The writing is gorgeous, but I expected nothing less of this author. She really improved when it comes to pacing though. This one is fast and evenly paced, leaving room for slower moments between the characters, but never at risk of becoming boring. The world building is woven into the story, there is no plain infodumping. Every chapter begins with little snippets out of an encyclopedia, giving more insight into the world, but it never felt like Long was using these intros to dump some more lore on us. All you need to know is learned organically through the story, with some added information to deepen your understanding. It's wonderfully done. One of my favourite parts of the lore are probably the ghistings, ghost-like beings living in the Other and inhabiting trees in the plane of existence our protagonists live on. The idea of their trees being cut down to form figureheads for ships, with ghistings now turning basically into living ships, is so fascinating to me - especially with the darker aspects connected with the idea basically trapping being in figureheads because like this they are of use to mankind. I generally like that Long doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of her magic system and the society she presents. It's complex and intriguing at every point.

All in all, this is an incredibly exciting, well-written, perfectly paced adventure story with lots of swashbuckling pirates, mysterious ghosts, a scary villain and all around amazing characters. 4,5 stars, happily rounding up to 5.

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Thank you Net Galley for this arc! Overall, this was a solid good first novel in what I assume will be an epic fantasy series! It really gave me pirates of the Caribbean epic saga vibes.. I would heavily emphasize this is not a romance novel although I imagine it will be a larger component in the future novels - it is a pirate fantasy genre through and through and very plot driven. It was a bit long and felt like the ending was slightly rushed but I still enjoyed it and found it to be a quick read. I'd recommend! Also - love supporting canadian authors :)

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This was such a great start to The Winter Sea series, it had everything that I was looking for in a fantasy novel. I loved the pirate elements in the book and thought it worked well overall. I was engaged with the story and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. The characters were interesting and worked in this universe. I can’t wait to read more in this series and from H.M. Long.

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A unique adventure set in a fantastical world of pirates, tree spirits, nautical magic, and winter winds. I enjoyed the alternating chapter perspectives and have to say I grew to like Samuel’s chapters more than Mary’s. Sadly Mary felt a bit flat to me as the book progressed, whereas she started off with a strong, smart voice and fierce yet vulnerable character. To me, the book doesn’t have the depth or character complexity of Barrow of Winter, but readers who enjoyed Hall of Smoke for its old gods and weird magic will enjoy this novel.

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Dark Water Daughter may be my first introduction into Long's writing, but it certainly won't be the last. In fact, I feel like hitting myself over the head because I have the first two books of her previous series on my shelf and, after reading this, I can't believe I haven't picked them up yet. Everything from the atmosphere to the characters, the romance to the adventure was just *chefs kiss*, and I can't wait to return to this world, and hopefully the characters in the next book.

Mary Lirr is a Stormsinger, someone able to call storms and disperse them through song, but her skill is one she has left untrained after her mother warned her never to let anyone know what she could do. One fateful day see's Mary use her Stormsinger magic to save her life, something that sets her on a path filled with Pirates, new friends and new enemies alike, but a path that might just allow Mary to uncover who she truly is. Samuel Rosser is a disgraced Naval Officer serving on a ship that sails the sea's hunting pirates. He wants nothing more that to get back his good name, but once he meets Mary, he starts wanting for other things. These two may feel drawn to each other, but they are both holding secrets, whether they know it or not, and soon they will have to decide their side in an upcoming battle between forces neither could imagine.

I loved so much about this story and Long has shown herself to be a master storyteller. She weaves in clues throughout the story, dropping hints here and there, just enough to allow us to feel we have a grasp on where the story is going, but not enough to give the big finale away. Her writing style is atmospheric and incredibly lush, making it easy to get swept away into this world of pirate's and magic. Everything from the characters to the ships themselves are effortlessly brought to life and I adored reading about the world, it's history and magic almost as much as I adored the characters that inhabited it. It's a story filled with adventure, romance and danger and thanks to Long's writing the scenes, no matter if they were on sea or land, jump off the pages and played almost like a movie in my head.

The story is told from the POV's of both Mary and Samuel- Mary the untrained Stormsinger who quickly finds herself in over her head in this world of pirates, never sure who she can trust, and who is simply using her to further their own goals. She's feisty, but also just someone who longs to belong somewhere in this world. Samuel, the disgraced Naval Officer & Seer, someone with the ability to see potential danger, as well as having the ability to track other's like him through a place called the Dark Water. Both of these characters are a little broken, are dealing with their own trauma's and aren't exactly the most trusting of types, but they are also incredibly strong willed, righteous in their beliefs and I enjoyed seeing them grow through the story, not just in their magical ability, but in themselves.

The world building was phenomenal and Long manages to give us plenty of depth to the world, history and magic without it ever coming across as dumpy. Through the story we learn there are three main types of magic - Stormsingers, Seer's & Magni. Stormsingers are able to control the weather, bringing wind into the sails of ships or creating hurricanes to destroy them. Seer's are able to look to the future for potential danger as well as enter the Dark Water, a magical world attached to their own filled with dangerous creatures. And Magni, those with the ability to persuade others, bend them to their will and make people do things they otherwise wouldn't. We see all three of these powers in use throughout the story and Long certainly makes them as epic, dangerous and creepy as they should be. Some of my favourite scenes through the book were the one's we get to see the magic in use, especially the Stormsinging and all three of these add to the danger and atmosphere of the story. The other main source of magic we read about are beings called Ghistings, creatures that live in tree's and, if that tree is used to create a ship, become a part of that too, almost a protector, keeping the ship and crew safe through bad weather or attacks. I'm not going to mention too much about these because of spoilers, but they play such a large and important role in the book.

The romance in this story was sweet and slow burn. I loved seeing Mary and Samuel come into their own throughout the story and rejoiced every time we got a scene with them both in. They do spend a large part of the book apart, but never fear because the longing and pining and constant thoughts of each other were enough to see me through until they met up again. They both seem to think that they are no good for the other, the secrets they carry and their pasts making them wary to start anything new, but as the story progresses and they learn more about themselves and each other, they start to see things in a new light. But we don't just get treated to romance, no we get treated to a whole bunch of relationship styles, familial, friendships and I loved how Long shows the both complications and simplicity of them.

I'm sure you've guessed by now, but if not... I loved this book. It's definitely making it onto my top reads of the year and you can bet that I will be picking up Long's previous series as soon as I can. If you love books filled with atmosphere, tortured male love interests, strong willed female MC's, world building and magic systems that jump off the page and adventures on the high sea's, look no further.

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a DNF at 30%. I thought this was for sure going to be a winner as I am a fan of both HM Long and pirates, and the idea of winter pirates is neat. Unfortunately this just didn't come together for me. The magic system was interesting but I couldn't stand either of the main characters and I found myself actively bored and skimming before the halfway mark.

I've read all of Long's books to date and will continue doing so, but this series isn't for me. Giving this 2 stars because the atmospheric writing was on point.

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Thoroughly enjoyable mix of magic/fantasy and swashbuckling piracy that draws together all the strands of the various characters in a satisfying way. And although some of the character relationships felt a bit hit and mis at times I was totally drawn into this book. Good tension, exciting adventure. Roll on the next one!

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DNF. I got about 2/3rds of the way through this and lost interest. It's a great premise and the description sounded interesting. I found the characters rather bland and boring though. Someone else said they couldn't really tell the difference between the 2 POVs and that's exactly it. They seemed very similar in thought and motivation.

The description said something about a Jacobean setting, but it reads more like Victorian. Everyone is sort of prim and proper.

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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 from the other early reviews I've come across, I seem to be in the minority opinion here. It seems like, in all aspects, this book just wasn't for me.

The synopsis really intrigued me, especially when Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy was being used to describe the premise. The beginning of this novel started out strong - I was intrigued and eager to understand the way this world and the magic system worked. 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 were Stormsingers (those who can control the weather), why some people were Sooths (those who can venture into what is called the Other), and why some people didn't have any magic at all. I also just found myself very bored - at some point, I got sick of feeling so in the dark about so many things and felt like the plot progression was clunky and not well-developed. Additionally, some of the plot points just felt a little too convenient.

This book was also written in dual POV, however, both POV's just felt the same to me. I often found myself confused as to whose POV I was reading. On top of that, the characters just seemed to be jumbled within my head, and I could never seem to remember who was who, and what each character's motives were.

Again, I want to mention that this book has been getting some truly incredible reviews, so if it sounds like something you might be interested in, I truly urge you to pick it up. Though I really wanted to enjoy this one, I just think that there were too many things that, sadly, didn't work for me.

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DNF at 25%. It was a fast paced start but I found the magic system confusing and the narrators blended into 1 voice.

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Thank you so much to the publisher and to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book is SO well written! This is certainly one of the most intelligent and compelling books I've read this year. I appreciate that the author doesn't dumb down the narrative or prose, and instead trusts that her readers can keep up with the intricate politics, world-building, and maneuvering involved.

This is a nautical flintlock fantasy with dual POVs - the FMC and MMC. Long does a masterful job weaving their worlds into the same orbit and making the character growth, dialogue, and events believable. A definite recommend, and the start to a promising series!

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*Thank you to Netgalley and Titan books for the e-arc in exchange for my honest review*

I have read every book HM Long has written and I have enjoyed every one but this one was truly special. It is the best yet. I don't know if it is because it reminded me of when I was that young girl who loved pirates and the sea (& therefore pirate of the Caribbean) or because HM Long did such wonderful job creating an enchanting tale. I think what makes this read even more special, as a reader, is knowing this story evolved from one she wrote when she was a young girl. The prose was so atmospheric and descriptive, it was almost as if I could feel the cold and the whip of the wind beside the characters or hear the song as Mary sings.

Everything about the storyline feels very rooted in its world (pun'll catch why when you read). The characters feel fleshed out and so well developed. I love how they interacted with each other.

The alternating POV between Mary and Samuel was well executed. Sometimes with dual POV books I find I prefer one narrator to another but they both were equally as engaging. I absolutely ADORE Mary. She is extremely courageous and cunning despite having grown up sheltered from the world. Samuel really is THE BEST of men. Charles, oh Charles...can't wait to see where your story goes. And Mary's mother and the other pirates were equally as entertaining to read about.

The fantastical element to this story was so original. I will not going into it because you just need to read it. It is hauntingly beautiful.

Overall, this read was fantastical, atmospheric and adventurous. I cannot wait to dive back into this world.
Thank you for sharing your stories with us HM. I love them all.

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