by Emily Tesh
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Pub Date 18 Aug 2020 | Archive Date 18 Aug 2020
From Astounding Award Winner and Crawford Award Finalist Emily Tesh
A Buzzfeed Summer 2020 Must-Read
A Book Riot Must-Read Fantasy of 2020
The conclusion to the World Fantasy Award-winning Greenhollow Duology
Drowned Country is the stunning sequel to Silver in the Wood, Emily Tesh's lush, folkloric debut. This second volume of the Greenhollow duology once again invites readers to lose themselves in the story of Henry and Tobias, and the magic of a myth they’ve always known.
Even the Wild Man of Greenhollow can’t ignore a summons from his mother, when that mother is the indomitable Adela Silver, practical folklorist. Henry Silver does not relish what he’ll find in the grimy seaside town of Rothport, where once the ancient wood extended before it was drowned beneath the sea—a missing girl, a monster on the loose, or, worst of all, Tobias Finch, who loves him.
Praise for Silver in the Wood
"Exquisitely crafted. . . . This fresh, evocative short novel heralds a welcome new voice in fantasy."—Publishers Weekly
"Find a quiet place in a nearby wood, listen to the trees whisper, and thank the old gods and new for this beautiful little book, of which I intend to get lost in again and again."—Book Riot
-Ongoing author support for Emily Tesh, including outreach to fans of Silver in the Wood and other gaslamp fantasies
-Group promotions with other queer romances, as well as targeted book mailings to booksellers, librarians and influencers
-Extensive coverage on Tor.com, which averages 1 million unique visitors and 3 million pageviews per month, with 360K newsletter subscribers and over 213.5K social media followers
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 97 members
Silver in the Wood blew me away so hard that it genuinely made me a little angry that I hadn't written it. It was beautiful, wistful, and felt like a piece of proper, old, dark English folklore. Drowned Country has much more of a vibe of Victorian Weird fiction - there's more of an adventure, more movement, and more of a dramatic nature in having Silver as narrator rather than Tobias. While I loved the exploration of the story, and the continuation of the relationship that took its first hesitant steps in the previous book, it didn't speak to me in quite the way that Silver in the Wood had. I think I just really adored the Wood setting, and Tobias's character, both of which are less prominent here, as the characters travel further afield, and we don't see much of Tobias until the end. That being said, this is still a five star read for me - lyrical, smart, and very true-feeling. It also provides a really gorgeous and satisfying ending to the overall story. I highly recommend both books!
It's not a huge secret that Silver in the Wood was one of my favorite reads last year. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw there was a sequel coming out! Oh, to be able to spend a little more time with these characters in this wonderfully magical world. Well, I'm happy to report that I wasn't disappointed!
Drowned Country carries on the story of Henry and Tobias and picks up a few years after the end of Silver in the Wood. Overall this story is not only about love but about how to love. Falling in love is easy enough but what comes after is the hard part of being in a relationship--communication and care! It's not enough just to love someone and this is a lesson that Henry Silver has to learn over the course of this story. First off, I love Henry. He's so dramatic and full of emotions--quick to change mood but what he feels he does not feel lightly. He tends to throw himself into things body and soul, sometimes to his own detriment. Let's not forget how he ended up in this position in the first place. And Tobias is as steady as ever, a perfect compliment to Henry. As much as I do love Henry, let's face it, he done messed up here. And this book is Henry learning how love without selfishness.
In this story we get to spend a little more time with Henry's mother Adela and I just adore her. She is so used to her son's dramatics she has no patience for his behavior. She also knows just what to do to bring him out of his funk. Because he's definitely been in a funk, hanging around a crumbling Greenhollow manner like some sort of Miss Havisham of the woods. Even Bramble has had enough it. Luckily, Adela comes to the rescue and gets her son to help out on an investigation involving a missing girl. I can not express how much I love Adela, I only wish we could spend even more time with her, she definitely is a woman of many adventures and I'd be happy to read them at some point. But here we're also introduced to a new character, Maud Lindhurst--a young woman who also likes adventures and stepping outside of societies expectations for her. I'll admit that Maud is a hard character to like as she comes off so single-minded here, but I love how perfectly capable she is! In a way this is her story and Henry is along for the ride (dragging a reluctant Tobias behind him). And it's through her story and the world they discover that Henry begins to learn some truths about Greenhollow and himself.
I thought everything in this tied together really lovely. And the world here was once again filled with magic that has a terrifying edge to it that just's so perfectly evocative of the darker side of the Fae--loved it! 4.5/5 stars.
NOTE: This review will go live on my blog on 8/11/2020
When I first picked up Emily Tesh's SILVER IN THE WOODS I did not expect it to blow me away like it did. I fell completely in love with her writing, with the beautifully crafted lore and the hesitant and gentle relationship between Silver and Tobias. When I heard that there was going to be a sequel I couldn't believe it. I couldn't wait to return to the world of the Hallow Wood.
In contrast to SILVER IN THE WOODS, DROWNED COUNTRY is told from Silver's perspective. He struggles with the responsibilities of his new life, as the house and grounds are swallowed by the Wood. Meanwhile, Tobias has moved to a small seaside town to work for Mrs Silver. Tobias and SIlver haven't spoken for two years, but then a century-old vampire kidnaps a young woman. And suddenly Mrs Silver and Tobias need someone to play bait for their trap...
I would not have thought it possible, but I loved this book even MORE than the first one. Silver is such a wonderful narrator, and the narrative voice is full of the endearing, flutter-brained aloofness that we got second-hand in the first book. Emily Tesh's descriptions remain absolutely stunning as we move away from Greenhollow to Rothport, and the drowned forest beyond the shore. This book manages to not only capture the perfect feeling and atmosphere of the first book, but at the same time manages to be something completely different and new. A perfect second book in this duology!
I received a digital ARC of Drowned Country by Emily Tesh in exchange for an unbiased review.
My initial reaction to Emily Tesh’s first book, Silver in the Wood, boiled down to “more please,” so I was very excited when I found out that a sequel would be published this year. In the Drowned Country, we’ve jumped ahead from the events at the end of Silver in the Wood and Henry Silver finds himself living (sulking) alone in his crumbling house until his mother bullies him into traveling to a seaside town to hunt a vampire. The main problem with this (aside from interacting with his mother) is that it forces him back into working with Tobias Finch, whose relationship with Henry is far colder and more strained than when we left them in Silver in the Wood. What starts as a simple hunt for a vampire abducting local youths turns into a dangerous expedition into Fairyland itself, with Henry and Tobias in far over their heads against an unimaginably powerful foe.
I thoroughly enjoyed Drowned Country and I was thrilled to be back with these characters, but the reading experience of Drowned Country was very different from Silver in the Wood. The first major change is that Drowned Country is told from Henry’s perspective rather than Tobias’s. I was a little disappointed by that at first, but I also felt like I knew Henry’s character much better by the end of the book. Henry and Tobias’s relationship is still a major focus, but the feel of that part of the plot is very different. Where Silver in the Woods was wistful in tone and sometimes achingly sad, it had a thread of hope and renewal through it that kept it feeling lighter. Drowned Country is darker and in some ways almost bitter. Instead of the hopeful beginning of a new relationship, we’re seeing the aftermath of a failed relationship, where neither party is fully comfortable or sure how to proceed after a breach of trust. Emily Tesh’s descriptive skill is still exceptional and even when I was mad at a character, I was always drawn in by the narrative and Tesh’s turns of phrase.
The shorter version of this review: welcome to Emily Tesh’s Drowned Country, brought to you by Henry Silver’s consistently bad impulse control and poorly thought-out decisions. Come for the angst of a functionally immortal, emotionally immature avatar of a primal forest, stay for the beautiful language, the clever twists on folklore, and Tobias Finch’s long suffering need to take care of everyone in general and follow Henry Silver in particular into whatever new danger he just deliberately jumped right into. This duology is amazing and I highly recommend Drowned Country for anyone else who finished Silver in the Wood and then despaired because Emily Tesh didn’t have any other books out.
I really enjoyed this follow-up novella to Silver in the Wood, perhaps even more than the original. I loved the setting of the gothic seaside town and the drowned forest and it introduced a great new character who I adored and a fun spooky plot.
I loved this, and feel so privileged to have been able to sink into it several months early, because this was precisely the kind of story I needed to soothe the ache of not being able to go on a planned trip to the UK to explore ruined abbeys and ancient forests and dramatic coastlines. Both of these little novellas are essentially a love letter to folklore and to the secret histories of landscapes, while managing to also be a wonderful love story. Together they pack quite the thematic and stylistic punch: so many fascinating ideas in so few (beautifully chosen) words.
Really really loved this lushly written mythology and folklore-laden tale of the woods, the Green Man, and an adorable couple’s quest to find Fairyland.
Drowned Country is a follow-up to Silver in the Wood. Tobias Finch has left the wood, leaving Silver behind to... well, mostly mope, actually. It's a bed of his own making and he has to lie in it: it's slowly revealed that he managed to drive Tobias away, despite the deep affection between them. But he has a chance to make things right: Silver's mother returns to the wood to get him, in order to help with a particular case of supernatural shenanigans she and Tobias are dealing with. There's a vampire roaming around, a young girl is missing, and they require Silver's particular talents.
It's a little disorientating to start where we do, but it makes sense: it allows a slow unfolding of how exactly Silver could mess it up so badly. We're also in Silver's point of view now, and get to see Tobias from the outside; that's rather enjoyable, and the close-third POV is livelier and a little more human in outlook than the close-third to Tobias from the previous book. It gives everything a little more depth, and a different colour; the light has changed in the forest, though the trees are all the same.
It's not a simple adventure, and the relationship between Tobias and Silver isn't the sole driver of the plot. Instead, we get a little glimpse of other things deep and strange.
And of course, you still have to love Silver's mother.
The two novellas are very easy reading, and beautifully written. Very worth it!
Link will not be active until 4th August per Tor's usual rules on not posting the review until two weeks before publication.
Going in a sequel, you always hope it gives you the magic you experience in its predecessor and Drowned Country did just that..
It defies words. It is a stunning sequel about the raging fire of obsession, the simmering flames of duty, and full of precious characters.
This is a slow burn of a story. I read one of the other reviewers describe this story as having its own music. It dances and sways to its own rhythm and prose. Much like the beat of the forest, you get the sense that there is a deep thrumming that exists from page to page. It adds a deep atmospheric quality to the narrative. The only issue is that it is a very specific type of story. It has an almost misty type quality to it that is like viewing a story through a keyhole.
Tesh wove a lovely and romantic but restrained love story around the green man myth. Instead of just a myth steeped in legend, Tesh humanizes the green man with backstory. Tesh explains how the green man experience time, yet tries to humanize himself and not get lost with the woods. Once again Heart of Flames is full of world building. Introducing new myths and creatures in such a short amount of time. I can only hope Tor someday publishes these novellas in one full length novel because story deserves to be much more noticeable on my bookshelf.
This was just as beautiful as the first book in the series. It uses mythology so perfectly, but what really makes these novellas rise above the rest is Tesh's ability to explore relationships of all types. I don't know what could happen next, here, but I hope something does because I don't want to leave them behind.
This is entirely as good as the first one. I love this sweet, simple, forest-green story. I cannot wait for what Emily Tesh does next.
After surfacing from the spell of the related novella, Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh, I could not stop thinking about the opportunity to return to the leafy paths of Greenhollow Wood in Drowned Country. I have never been so eager to be lost in the woods.
Drowned Country is a story of epic love, and the complexity of the burden of love too. Set within an ancient mythic forest, every character seems to have an archetypal echo. Yet they battle with the boundaries of their power so entangled in human flaws. The deep love between Henry Silver and Tobias, both enigmas to each other, is not just their love story, but the timeless ever told tales of the wild man of the woods, green man stories and the kings and queens of fairy.
In Drowned Country, more of Greenhollow's folklore is unearthed to readers, from supernatural dryads and demon lords to the human folklorists who have both kept and destroyed the history and stories of the forest. Perhaps the most fearsome power of all is Henry Silver's mother, who despite being quite mortal, seems to have the most formidable control of all.
The seasonal cycle of dark and light in the forest and the recurring patterns of folklore and myth whirl the reader along with Henry Silver, Tobias and company, as they venture across the threshold of the wildwood into faery to find a missing girl, Maud Lindhurst. There are unforeseen and epic consequences. Although an expedition tale, I love the pace of this story that pauses for delightful dialogue and description of Greenhollow's forest glades. It's a tale told in the mystery of old forest-time, over aeons and day.
I could read so much more of Greenhollow Wood, and Tobias and Henry Silver. I hope that Drowned Country isn't the last time the thorny thickets and brambles beckon readers through a gap and into this world of wild gods.
The forest of Greenhollow feels like a personality in itself, alive and interacting in the story. In this way Drowned Country reminds me of powerful mythopoetic stories of portal woods, such as Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. Lovers of the likes of Neil Gaiman's Stardust or Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke will particularly enjoy the dark brooding menace of fairy in this adventure beyond the mortal boundaries of Greenhollow Wood.
What a lovely follow up to the first novella! Tesh writes such tender emotions, I was almost crying at the end of the story. It's a quiet read and a lovely one. A perfect book for a rainy afternoon or late night. I wouldn't read this as a standalone, although there isn't anything stopping you, other than some large spoilers for Silver in the Wood.
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