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Flowers for the Sea

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Flowers for the Sea is a dark, dazzling debut novella that reads like Rosemary's Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler. We are a people who do not forget. Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp. Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pre Flowers for the Sea is a dark, dazzling debut novella that reads like Rosemary's Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler. We are a people who do not forget. Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp. Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine. Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek.


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Flowers for the Sea is a dark, dazzling debut novella that reads like Rosemary's Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler. We are a people who do not forget. Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp. Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pre Flowers for the Sea is a dark, dazzling debut novella that reads like Rosemary's Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler. We are a people who do not forget. Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp. Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine. Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek.

30 review for Flowers for the Sea

  1. 4 out of 5

    Char

    It's been two days since I finished this novella and I still don't know what to say. Pregnant on an ark, seventeen hundred forty three days at sea, this is the story of Iraxi. Is she a queen or a peon? You'll have to read this to find out! Zin E. Rocklyn skillfully weaved this story in so few words, it's hard to believe. There's a lot going on in this thin little paperback and I'm finding it difficult to say much without spoiling everything. The prose here is dense and powerfully descriptive. It It's been two days since I finished this novella and I still don't know what to say. Pregnant on an ark, seventeen hundred forty three days at sea, this is the story of Iraxi. Is she a queen or a peon? You'll have to read this to find out! Zin E. Rocklyn skillfully weaved this story in so few words, it's hard to believe. There's a lot going on in this thin little paperback and I'm finding it difficult to say much without spoiling everything. The prose here is dense and powerfully descriptive. It was so nasty on that boat, I could smell it. I could feel the filth on my skin, the dampness in the air. Fangs from the sky and tentacles from below the water line. The sea permeated every part of this story, and it was filled with, and home to...almost everything. Iraxi is the strongest, most powerful woman I've read about in some time. She and her offspring will most likely haunt my dreams for years. Her anger now lives in my heart and I already know I'll be back to read about her again and I'm fervently hoping that we hear more from her in the future. My highest recommendation! *Thanks to Tor for the ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  2. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **3.5-stars rounded up** For me, this reading experience was very similar to my time spent with The Deep by Rivers Solomon. My first reaction upon completion with both novellas was, what in the heck did I just read? Followed shortly thereafter by thoughts such as, that was gorgeous writing, this is beautiful and important, and finally, I wish I had a better understanding of it. Flowers for the Sea is Dark Fantasy novella centering around Iraxi, a headstrong, powerful woman trapped on a claustrophobi **3.5-stars rounded up** For me, this reading experience was very similar to my time spent with The Deep by Rivers Solomon. My first reaction upon completion with both novellas was, what in the heck did I just read? Followed shortly thereafter by thoughts such as, that was gorgeous writing, this is beautiful and important, and finally, I wish I had a better understanding of it. Flowers for the Sea is Dark Fantasy novella centering around Iraxi, a headstrong, powerful woman trapped on a claustrophobic-feeling ark sailing the high seas. For a good portion of the story she is struggling through the last moments of, what seems to be, an unwanted pregnancy. Iraxi's emotions take center stage as she works through anger, pain, revenge and motherhood. It's a lot. A story set at sea, with a sea creature aspect, this is an intriguing premise and the writing shows so much promise. I would love to read more from Zin E. Rocklyn; hopefully at some point in a longer format, so I can really settle into their style and ideas. Thank you so much to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with an Audio-ARC to listen to and review. I am really happy I had the opportunity to check this one out. It was memorable! I do highly recommend the audio for this one, as the narrator's voice is completely enchanting!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    1.5 stars rounded up I had hight hopes for this one but ultimately it didn't really work for me. Flowers for the Sea is I guess a take on cosmic horror in novella form, following a pregnant woman surviving on a ship after her home has flooded. Except she really doesn't want to be pregnant and maybe isn't carrying a human child. The premise is interesting, but I wasn't a fan of the execution. Flashbacks weave into the present weave into dreamscapes that make the narrative difficult to follow. The 1.5 stars rounded up I had hight hopes for this one but ultimately it didn't really work for me. Flowers for the Sea is I guess a take on cosmic horror in novella form, following a pregnant woman surviving on a ship after her home has flooded. Except she really doesn't want to be pregnant and maybe isn't carrying a human child. The premise is interesting, but I wasn't a fan of the execution. Flashbacks weave into the present weave into dreamscapes that make the narrative difficult to follow. The depictions of pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood are very gruesome and disturbing. And as someone who has had a couple of children including a traumatic birth, I found myself irritated by inaccuracies and strange choices, especially when real childbirth can be horrific enough. Like you're going to have sex while in active labor??? And have no pain before immediately delivering? I don't know, I just couldn't get into it. I'm not opposed to using the horror genre to explore these topics and think it can be done in a compelling way. This reminds me a bit of Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon, but while their execution really worked for me, this didn't. It's also quite short and doesn't feel like there was enough time to really tell the story the author is trying to tell here. So if this sort of thing interests you, I might recommend checking out Sorrowland instead. I received an advance copy of this book for review via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    Flowers for the Sea, by Zin E. Rocklyn blends dark, dystopian fantasy with isolation horror in this chilling debut. The story centers on Iraxi, a pregnant woman among a displaced people adrift at sea on an ark going nowhere. In one hundred pages, Rocklyn foregoes world-building in order to zero in on Iraxi's experience; a woman with no options. Her homeland is gone, she's in the middle of the ocean, and her fate is not in her own hands. Not to mention she's pregnant, facing imminent motherhood no Flowers for the Sea, by Zin E. Rocklyn blends dark, dystopian fantasy with isolation horror in this chilling debut. The story centers on Iraxi, a pregnant woman among a displaced people adrift at sea on an ark going nowhere. In one hundred pages, Rocklyn foregoes world-building in order to zero in on Iraxi's experience; a woman with no options. Her homeland is gone, she's in the middle of the ocean, and her fate is not in her own hands. Not to mention she's pregnant, facing imminent motherhood not of her own choosing. A real nightmare. Iraxi's range of emotions are the focus of this tale. Since this book is so short, there is a real risk of reviews giving too much of the reader's discovery away. The comparisons to The Handmaid's Tale and Rosemary's Baby are accurate but I think this is an experience best enjoyed by going in dark; no expectations. A powerful tale of the threats against female agency set against a dystopian dark fantasy backdrop at sea. A debut not to be missed.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    If you follow the bookish people on social media, I bet you’ve seen people praising this book here, there, and everywhere. There’s a reason for all of the praise. This book isn’t one you finish and forget. It’ll stick with ya whether you want it to or not and that is the mark of an excellent read if you ask me. Flowers for the Sea is a gorgeously told tale of rage, isolation, and all the unearthly hells that the sea and sky have up for offer in this bleak universe created by author Zin E. Rocklyn If you follow the bookish people on social media, I bet you’ve seen people praising this book here, there, and everywhere. There’s a reason for all of the praise. This book isn’t one you finish and forget. It’ll stick with ya whether you want it to or not and that is the mark of an excellent read if you ask me. Flowers for the Sea is a gorgeously told tale of rage, isolation, and all the unearthly hells that the sea and sky have up for offer in this bleak universe created by author Zin E. Rocklyn. The sea is angry, the sky is angry but most of all the heroine of this tale is angry. And justifiably so. She is stuck on a godforsaken sea vessel as the world dies. She is heavily pregnant with a child that she fears may not be 100% human. Who knows? This world has been turned upside down. At any rate, she doesn’t want it and she has no say in the matter. She is surrounded by people she despises, people who despise her, people who have made her an outcast time and time again. They may live what’s left of their miserable lives on this horrible ship. But her rage simmers and she keeps going out of pure spite. She is an incredibly written character. There is a lot packed into this thin novella. The prose is filled with suffocating anger and descriptions of the dank, disgusting, rotting ship and the people who inhabit it. There’s a lot left to the imagination as the author never spells it all out for the reader and this made me eager to keep turning the pages, to attempt to soak it all in and figure it out. I don’t want to say too much about this novella and honestly, I can’t spill out the words without spoiling the things that every reader should discover on their own. If you’re a fan of nightmarish worlds and powerfully strong women who persevere despite the odds, and a killer ending this is one you’ll want to add to your reading pile. CW: (view spoiler)[mention of miscarriages (hide spoiler)]

  6. 4 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    Flowers for the Sea is a compelling and horrifying gothic fantasy novella about rage, revenge, and eldritch horrors. - Follows Iraxi, a commoner who refused a prince aboard an ark at sea with unspeakable monsters circling the ship. Iraxi is also pregnant - and is the only person able to carry a baby to full term - and she suspects that the child she bears may not be human. - I liked the mix of dark fantasy and post-apocalyptic setting with dystopian imagery and atmosphere. The atmosphere in this Flowers for the Sea is a compelling and horrifying gothic fantasy novella about rage, revenge, and eldritch horrors. - Follows Iraxi, a commoner who refused a prince aboard an ark at sea with unspeakable monsters circling the ship. Iraxi is also pregnant - and is the only person able to carry a baby to full term - and she suspects that the child she bears may not be human. - I liked the mix of dark fantasy and post-apocalyptic setting with dystopian imagery and atmosphere. The atmosphere in this story is immediately compelling and eerie, the characters on the ark unable to escape. - Wouldn't spoiling too much, I think this story is about maternal rage, dissonance with one's body during pregnancy, and an unfettered desire for revenge. - The eldritch horrors that await were terrifying but so fascinating! I felt like I was holding my breath for most of the story. *I've left this unrated because it wasn't really my thing, but I think, objectively, it was a good book. Content warning: childbirth, death of loved one, sex, descriptions of gore and body horror I was provided an eARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Boston

    As short as it is, Flowers for the Sea certainly packs a punch. The prose is gorgeous and incredibly detailed. The story itself is weird (in a good way) and satisfying. My main problems lie with my ability to follow what was happening and what had happened in the time before this story. I don’t think it was bad, just confusing to me hence the rating. *Thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

  8. 5 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    Star review in Library Journal, October 2021: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?revie... Three Words That Describe This Book: captivating, disquieting, all senses engaged Many reviews say how you can't say much about this book in a review beyond the set up in the plot summary, I didn't understand until I finished. This is correct. There is so much here in 100 pages. All five senses are engaged when reading. It is both spare and lyrical, dense and easy to follow. Like the very best of stories it allow Star review in Library Journal, October 2021: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?revie... Three Words That Describe This Book: captivating, disquieting, all senses engaged Many reviews say how you can't say much about this book in a review beyond the set up in the plot summary, I didn't understand until I finished. This is correct. There is so much here in 100 pages. All five senses are engaged when reading. It is both spare and lyrical, dense and easy to follow. Like the very best of stories it allows you to feel actual feelings but also leaves you desperately wanting more. Dark fantasy that laps at the edges of horror-- tentacles from the sea and razorfangs from the sky Draft Review: Dark Fantasy and Horror work in tandem, gently overlapping at first, before violently colliding, in this captivating and disquieting novella. Iraxi lives with the remnants of humanity on a ship, helplessly floating on the sea surrounded by the dual threat of tentacled monsters from below and “razorfangs” from above. It has been 1,743 days since the land flooded and became uninhabitable. Iraxi is the last of her people, “nims,” who have a magical connection to the sea, but their power is no longer revered. The story is framed around Iraxi’s final days of pregnancy up to just after she gives birth, a pivotal moment for these survivors as no one has been able to birth a live baby on board and most have died trying, coupled with flashbacks to Iraxi in the before-times. Told in language that is both lyrical and spare, employing immersive but efficient world building, Rocklyn engages all five of the reader's senses, allowing them to physically experience the dread, claustrophobia, and fear but also the wonder, awe, and hope; and all in only 100 pages. Verdict: This is an astounding story that will leave readers breathlessly begging for more, much like other critically acclaimed Tor.Com novellas such as Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma and Black God's Drum by P. Djeil Clark.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    This was a short and haunting read. I've never seen a depiction of childbirth quite as gruesome as this one. Iraxi is living on a ship that has spent months at sea in a community barely surviving where she is still considered an outcast. She is pregnant with a baby that is considered a new hope for all but the baby is the last thing she wants. I wish we would've gotten a little bit more about the Lovecraftian inspired monsters that lurked beneath the deep. It felt like this novella was a set up This was a short and haunting read. I've never seen a depiction of childbirth quite as gruesome as this one. Iraxi is living on a ship that has spent months at sea in a community barely surviving where she is still considered an outcast. She is pregnant with a baby that is considered a new hope for all but the baby is the last thing she wants. I wish we would've gotten a little bit more about the Lovecraftian inspired monsters that lurked beneath the deep. It felt like this novella was a set up for a larger story and that it ended right as the real story was beginning. I can easily see this concept being expanded to a full length novel. Overall it was still an entertaining and very descriptive read. I received an arc from Tor in exchange for review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I preordered this book 6 months ago after it was mentioned in the SF&F group and I read this in the description: "Flowers for the Sea is a dark, dazzling debut novella that reads like Rosemary's Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler." Uhh, yes please. Then I promptly forgot about the book, and having preordered it. I am not a preorderer. I can count on both hands with fingers left over the number of books that I've preordered in my life, so, when this book, or novella, appeared in my kindle a few weeks I preordered this book 6 months ago after it was mentioned in the SF&F group and I read this in the description: "Flowers for the Sea is a dark, dazzling debut novella that reads like Rosemary's Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler." Uhh, yes please. Then I promptly forgot about the book, and having preordered it. I am not a preorderer. I can count on both hands with fingers left over the number of books that I've preordered in my life, so, when this book, or novella, appeared in my kindle a few weeks ago, I was like "What the heck is this?" I quickly remembered once I reread the book description though, and then I got excited to read it. And now I've read it, and... yeah. I wouldn't say that Rosemary's Baby is an apt comparison... but it's not NOT apt? It just depends on what you take from Rosemary's Baby, I guess. They do both deal with unusual pregnancies, but to me, that's where the similarities end. For me, Rosemary's Baby is less about the baby than it is about the gaslighting and the abuse and the cult and the rape and the manipulation and use of Rosemary herself. It's HER story, to me. The story of the plot to use her to obtain the baby she carries. The baby is just the end goal, one that she has no part in aside from incubator. But in Flowers for the Sea, those external to our main character have no part to play in her pregnancy (other than sperm donation, obviously), or how it develops - all of that is dependent on who Iraxi is, and her own heritage and history and destiny. It's all about her - not external forces acting on her, as with Rosemary. Anyway, all of that being said, I really did like this. My disagreement with the description comparison isn't a negative, it just set an expectation for a story that the author didn't write. I liked the story she DID write though, quite a lot. It's visceral, gritty, raw, and so, so angry. We don't have all of the history, all of the context, but what we do have is enough. This is the kind of story that only offers a bit of itself, but makes you want to examine and re-examine for more. All of the edges are hazy and undefined, but the points are sharp as needles.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    Woahhhhhhhhhh... what did I just read?! For the majority I had no clue what was going outside of the pregnancy and eventual birth. But the writing is so lyrical that I was mesmerized into smelling the nastiness of the ark, the flesh, the hunger, hearing the water flush against the walls, the tearing of Iraxi, the taste of pain, betrayal and the salted air. UFFFFFFF. This dark fantasy novella is worth every single word. While it is dense in writing in a short 112 pages, Rocklyn powerfully brings u Woahhhhhhhhhh... what did I just read?! For the majority I had no clue what was going outside of the pregnancy and eventual birth. But the writing is so lyrical that I was mesmerized into smelling the nastiness of the ark, the flesh, the hunger, hearing the water flush against the walls, the tearing of Iraxi, the taste of pain, betrayal and the salted air. UFFFFFFF. This dark fantasy novella is worth every single word. While it is dense in writing in a short 112 pages, Rocklyn powerfully brings us right inside Iraxi's head and I loved seeing her rebellious nature change throughout. This definitely is graphic in nature and at times I just wanted the birthing to end already but damnnnnnnnnnn Iraxi.... I feel you. Anger, motherhood and revenge. Let's get ON IT. I fear anything else I say could potentially spoil it but I absolutely loved the powerful ending and while this may not be a story for everyone, I am highly satisfied with that ending. I'm gonna need to go check out this author's backlist. "We are a people who do not forget."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Robinson

    Review to be published in Apex Magazine later this year and shortly after publication.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Isabel

    I'm into it I'm into it

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah B

    Hmmn...this one has left me a bit confused truthfully. I am unsure how to rate it. The writing is good and very descriptive but the story also has left me with more questions than answers. I think maybe this needs to be expanded so we can see more clearly exactly what is going on? But without a doubt this is a story about bitter revenge set in a dying world ravaged by a flood and strange creatures. I do admit I find myself more interested in the creatures than the human characters. And I have no Hmmn...this one has left me a bit confused truthfully. I am unsure how to rate it. The writing is good and very descriptive but the story also has left me with more questions than answers. I think maybe this needs to be expanded so we can see more clearly exactly what is going on? But without a doubt this is a story about bitter revenge set in a dying world ravaged by a flood and strange creatures. I do admit I find myself more interested in the creatures than the human characters. And I have no idea if it's supposed to be that way? I found myself confused by the human characters too. Like a prince was mentioned early on in the story. Was one of the male characters living on the ship with her the prince? It's never stated clearly so I have no idea. Also another character was described once by the word "halfling" so does the author mean the world has actual hobbits or does she mean he's not fully grown? I have no idea and these things do affect my view of the story. Basically I would like to know the answers, as nothing bugs me more than not understanding something properly. Some people might want to know this story contains a birth scene? Plus some other very weird stuff. The weird stuff is great! And I would like to know what happened next after the end of this story. It would be intriguing to see this world expanded and to see more of it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

    Review to come :)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I don’t want to say much about the story since it is quite short, and I think doing so would veer dangerously toward spoiler territory, so we’ll just focus on the writing. In just over 100 pages, Rocklyn manages to create a surprisingly complex small-scale society, well-developed characters, and a rich, engrossing story. Iraxi is wonderful. She is a complicated woman who is by turns vulnerable, tough, and combative. Even before the story gets going it is abundantly clear that she is nobody to fu I don’t want to say much about the story since it is quite short, and I think doing so would veer dangerously toward spoiler territory, so we’ll just focus on the writing. In just over 100 pages, Rocklyn manages to create a surprisingly complex small-scale society, well-developed characters, and a rich, engrossing story. Iraxi is wonderful. She is a complicated woman who is by turns vulnerable, tough, and combative. Even before the story gets going it is abundantly clear that she is nobody to fuck with. Flowers for the Sea was my first foray into Rocklyn’s work, but it most definitely won’t be the last. I have The Night Sun already queued up on my Kindle, so I’m going to be hitting that soon. They’ve got a real talent for evocative prose, tension building, and satisfying storytelling. This novella is absolutely gorgeous. Flowers for the Sea is a beautifully written bit of fiction. It will stay with you long after you turn the final page. It is a beautiful, dark debut novella from an author whose work I have to imagine will be absolutely flying off the shelves.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heather Horror Hellion

    I don't even know where to start. This book was incredible. We meet our main character and she's struggling on a ship, surrounded by a bunch of folk that are not her biggest fan. You really think "Wow, her life sucks" but let me tell you that's only the tip of the iceburg. We get to learn her history and it's heartbreaking. The other characters you will either like or despise and for me it was the second, but who am I to judge how you feel about other characters. Just know all of them are so incred I don't even know where to start. This book was incredible. We meet our main character and she's struggling on a ship, surrounded by a bunch of folk that are not her biggest fan. You really think "Wow, her life sucks" but let me tell you that's only the tip of the iceburg. We get to learn her history and it's heartbreaking. The other characters you will either like or despise and for me it was the second, but who am I to judge how you feel about other characters. Just know all of them are so incredibly well written, flawed, and beautiful in their own right. The story is fast paced and it ends on such a high note and you are going to feel deeply. This is one of those books that I will be buying a physical copy of for my collection.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Iraxi has left her homeland to journey on the sea. She's pregnant, and everyone looks at her for the savior of their species. But something is different... I really enjoyed this story, even if I was confused for a good bit of it. There's a lot left to the reader's imagination; not a lot of backstory is really explored. I do always love a good sea creature story. There's not much else I can say about this story without entering spoiler territory, but I do recommend this to anyone who loves cosmic h Iraxi has left her homeland to journey on the sea. She's pregnant, and everyone looks at her for the savior of their species. But something is different... I really enjoyed this story, even if I was confused for a good bit of it. There's a lot left to the reader's imagination; not a lot of backstory is really explored. I do always love a good sea creature story. There's not much else I can say about this story without entering spoiler territory, but I do recommend this to anyone who loves cosmic horror, a good sea monster, and conspiracies. Thank you to Net Galley, Tordotcom, and Zin E. Rocklyn for the chance to read this advanced review copy! Flowers for the Sea releases on October 19th.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Booktastically Amazing

    The more I think about it, the less I'm sure of WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED HERE. Okay so, this book. What was it? No clue. It was gorgeously detailed and with enough gruesome parts to make me interested in the rest of the story but like... What was the rest of the story? It's about time I go to sleep because I'm pretty sure this was a fever dream and tomorrow morning I'll most likely find out that I typed all this in a dream. Seriously, I am so confused right now. The more I think about it, the less I'm sure of WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED HERE. Okay so, this book. What was it? No clue. It was gorgeously detailed and with enough gruesome parts to make me interested in the rest of the story but like... What was the rest of the story? It's about time I go to sleep because I'm pretty sure this was a fever dream and tomorrow morning I'll most likely find out that I typed all this in a dream. Seriously, I am so confused right now.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    The writing in this one is fantastic. It is atmospheric and visceral. In terms of the plot, I really wanted more since it took me quite a bit of time to figure out what was going on.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    I listened to the audiobook of this from NetGalley. This was definitely not what I expected, but still very interesting.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I don’t understand why this book is considered horror/dark fantasy/ cosmic horror. There wasn’t much cosmic about it except for maybe the description of Iraxi’s child. There’s not much back story. Why is she carrying this creature child? How is her child a creature when the father is human? There are a lot of plot holes and gaps in the story. Something that really bothered me was the depiction of pregnancy in this story. I’m not entirely sure if the author has children, or has experienced pregnan I don’t understand why this book is considered horror/dark fantasy/ cosmic horror. There wasn’t much cosmic about it except for maybe the description of Iraxi’s child. There’s not much back story. Why is she carrying this creature child? How is her child a creature when the father is human? There are a lot of plot holes and gaps in the story. Something that really bothered me was the depiction of pregnancy in this story. I’m not entirely sure if the author has children, or has experienced pregnancy, but a lot of the information surrounding it was inaccurate or lazily researched. Also as a mother of 3, I know for a fact no woman wants to have passionate sex while experiencing active labor, and that’s with a human child, nevermind some cosmic creature shredding your insides. I also find it weird how often the author mentions the main character’s vagina scent. It’s odd. Characters are flat and not interesting. I was confused the entire time about this messy love triangle that didn’t make sense. There are barely any horror elements in this novella and honestly I feel like the plot was thrown together just To set up for the final scene. There’s not a lot of information on who Iraxi is, or why she’s having a hybrid baby/creature that can speak full sentences at its birth. Overall a very messy story. The cover is beautiful and the writing is good so I’ll leave it at a 2 star. Thank you to TorNightfire and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Valerie - Cats Luv Coffee

    Iraxi has reason to be angry. She's stuck on a ship in a flooded world, surrounded on all sides by those who despise her, and monsters of air and sea who are waiting to end her. She's pregnant with a child she doesn't want in a new world where no one has yet to carry to term. She's not even sure the child is human. Her hatred burns her from within, leaving no room for anything else. Her anger is like the water that filled her world, rising swiftly and submerging everything in its path. I am insi Iraxi has reason to be angry. She's stuck on a ship in a flooded world, surrounded on all sides by those who despise her, and monsters of air and sea who are waiting to end her. She's pregnant with a child she doesn't want in a new world where no one has yet to carry to term. She's not even sure the child is human. Her hatred burns her from within, leaving no room for anything else. Her anger is like the water that filled her world, rising swiftly and submerging everything in its path. I am insistence personified, and the spite I draw is my sustenance... This is a novella that will speak to all your senses. Not only is Iraxi's rage all-consuming, but the descriptions of the ship and its people will also engulf you. Seventeen hundred forty-three days at sea. She is locked in this place surrounded by rotting wood, the sea lapping at it from all sides, mildewing in the salty air. The stink of bodies and fluids and blood all around. Unable to even escape to fresh air due to the razorfangs from the sky and tentacles from the depths. This narrative will envelop you in its depictions like a dark, oily dream from which you can't awake. While the eldritch creatures encircling the ship would typically be the focus of a novella, Rocklyn beckons us to sit with Iraxi in her boiling resentment and fury. We experience her loathed pregnancy, the debilitating changes to her body, and eventually the horror of her labor and what comes after. If you are looking for a dark and disturbing visceral tale, Iraxi's account will whisper bleakly to you. Flowers For The Sea is ghastly and gloriously weird and well worth the read. Website | Twitter | Pinterest

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (The best boyfriends are book boyfriends)

    Thank you Netgalley and Tor Forge for this incredible arc! I love a good novella especially in the horror genre and this was thrilling. Iraxi is an interesting character with a lot of inner conflict, especially because she is pregnant and has a different view about her state than expected by others. She is on an ark seemingly lost at sea and, not only that, but there are elements or creatures that are part of this world whose descriptions are very unsettling. The whole story had me guessing to wh Thank you Netgalley and Tor Forge for this incredible arc! I love a good novella especially in the horror genre and this was thrilling. Iraxi is an interesting character with a lot of inner conflict, especially because she is pregnant and has a different view about her state than expected by others. She is on an ark seemingly lost at sea and, not only that, but there are elements or creatures that are part of this world whose descriptions are very unsettling. The whole story had me guessing to what was really happening because Iraxi's character was going between this dream state of sleep, particularly due to the pregnancy, and her role on this ark, which at times seems to be to have a successful pregnancy and birth to carry on this lineage. I definitely recommend reading this for a quick thrill, especially this time of year around Halloween. This book has an incredible rhythm that just beat with a pulse and allowed me to fly through it and really feel that impact at the end.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JP

    This was a snippet or a glance at…. I’m not really sure what to call it. A life? A culture? A women? What ever this was, it was well written. And I mean that in the sense of describing and explaining things in a new way to me. There was such feeling in everything. Even though I was mostly confused about what was happening I thought the writing was beautiful. I was right there with her, experiencing the pain and smells. Feeling the dread of it all. Well done. I chose to listen to this book on aud This was a snippet or a glance at…. I’m not really sure what to call it. A life? A culture? A women? What ever this was, it was well written. And I mean that in the sense of describing and explaining things in a new way to me. There was such feeling in everything. Even though I was mostly confused about what was happening I thought the writing was beautiful. I was right there with her, experiencing the pain and smells. Feeling the dread of it all. Well done. I chose to listen to this book on audio and the narrator was Amina Koroma and she was amazing. This was only 2 hours and 24 minutes. Thanks Dreamscape Media via Netgalley.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Iraxi, who is pregnant with an unwanted child who may not be human, is hated by everyone on board their ship. It looks like reviews are either really for or really against this book and I'm sad that I find myself in the latter camp. I disliked Iraxi and everyone else on board - they were all cruel to each other which is hard to 'like'. The writing frequently used turns of phrase that didn't connect with me but instead jolted me out of the story. I didn't know what was going on for portions of the Iraxi, who is pregnant with an unwanted child who may not be human, is hated by everyone on board their ship. It looks like reviews are either really for or really against this book and I'm sad that I find myself in the latter camp. I disliked Iraxi and everyone else on board - they were all cruel to each other which is hard to 'like'. The writing frequently used turns of phrase that didn't connect with me but instead jolted me out of the story. I didn't know what was going on for portions of the time spent reading and I disliked that ending. If you like stories of unlikeable people, or gruesome depictions of carrying and delivering a child, you might like this. It brought to mind "An Unkindness of Ghosts" by River Solomon to me (didn't like that, either).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mya

    A quick, interesting read, though as with most novellas, I wish it'd been more fleshed out. Also REALLY wish I'd gotten content warnings for this, so I'll add them here: tw: graphic depictions of pregnancy, genital trauma. A quick, interesting read, though as with most novellas, I wish it'd been more fleshed out. Also REALLY wish I'd gotten content warnings for this, so I'll add them here: tw: graphic depictions of pregnancy, genital trauma.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Williams

    Phenomenally personal horror driven by an intimate and surgically precise telling of the narrator’s story. Absolutely magnificent. The audiobook is a tidy two and a half hours and the reader is perfection.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    I have always admired authors who can fit entire stories in less than 100 words. This may be a huge flaw on my part (I have this phobia about finishing things, so my novels usually like to top the 100k scale) but I do enjoy and sitting in awe as writers continue to amaze me with their novellas. This isn't my first novella from a Tor author and will not be my last. Thank you to Tordotcom for the review copy and for being so amazing at replying to my review requests. In short, this story had me so I have always admired authors who can fit entire stories in less than 100 words. This may be a huge flaw on my part (I have this phobia about finishing things, so my novels usually like to top the 100k scale) but I do enjoy and sitting in awe as writers continue to amaze me with their novellas. This isn't my first novella from a Tor author and will not be my last. Thank you to Tordotcom for the review copy and for being so amazing at replying to my review requests. In short, this story had me so enthralled that I could smell the ark that pregnant Iraxi has been confined to after fleeing her kingdom. She is the only one of her kind to carry a baby to full term in a very long time, so she is treated with both reverence and possessiveness. The atmosphere on this ship is not pretty, to say it in simple terms. The author has such a visceral writing skill that you can almost smell her words. The almost eldritch horrors surrounding the ark set me on edge, but Iraxi's labor had me cringing and gripping this tiny book with nervous hands. I've had a baby (with drugs of course because I'm not crazy brave) but this was a whole other thing. Listen, readers, in 100 pages you will use all of your senses in one of the best novellas I have ever had the honor of reading. The images within this book will stay with you for a long time. It is beautiful, dark, and gloriously vicious and I loved every second.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: Unsettling and atmospheric, I loved some of the elements, but the author's writing style kept me from completely enjoying this story. "Hope has no place on this vessel of death and disease, aimless and everlasting in its path." This is an odd one, folks. Flowers for the Sea is an atmospheric, angry tale about an oppressed pregnant woman and the challenges she faces on board a ship. There are elements I really loved, like the ocean setting, the dangerous environment the main chara The nitty-gritty: Unsettling and atmospheric, I loved some of the elements, but the author's writing style kept me from completely enjoying this story. "Hope has no place on this vessel of death and disease, aimless and everlasting in its path." This is an odd one, folks. Flowers for the Sea is an atmospheric, angry tale about an oppressed pregnant woman and the challenges she faces on board a ship. There are elements I really loved, like the ocean setting, the dangerous environment the main character finds herself in, and the underlying terror of something monstrous in the ocean that is preying on the people aboard the ship. But to be honest, it was the writing style that held me back from loving this more, and I found it very hard to connect emotionally with Iraxi, for some reason.  In a post apocalyptic future, the oceans have risen and covered the land, and the story revolves around a ship full of survivors that has been sailing non stop for nearly five years. On board is a woman named Iraxi who is about to give birth. Iraxi and her people are feared and ridiculed by others on the ship. Her dark skin and hair set her apart, as well as her strong, otherworldly smell and the fact that she has an affinity with the sea. Iraxi does not want her child and seems almost afraid of it, but she has no choice because the baby is about to be born whether she likes it or not. That’s the story in a nutshell. Most of it is a build-up to the actual birth, which is pretty terrifying. Iraxi is assisted by a midwife named Ket. She’s having hallucinations about the baby bursting through her stomach à la Alien, and she’s seeing tentacled creatures in the ocean that no one else can see. She’s harassed by the baby’s (supposed) father Hirat, who won’t leave her alone. And at night, deadly monsters called razorfangs attack anyone on deck after dark. It’s quite a gloomy set up, and the entire story made me very uncomfortable—and that's not a negative, by the way. Rocklyn definitely nails the atmosphere, and it was my favorite element. We get glimpses into Iraxi’s past, and the tragedy that befell her family due to racial hatred and ignorance. But even knowing what a hard life she’s lived, I just couldn’t connect with her on an emotional level. And I believe Rocklyn’s writing style had a lot to do with that. I felt the writing was overly formal and awkward at times, which gave the story a disjointed feel. This is a visceral, moody story that should have worked for me, given it’s filled with horror elements that I usually love. The sudden, shocking ending, which left me with that “What just happened?” feeling, was too abrupt, and I wanted to care more about Iraxi’s plight than I did.  With thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

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