Only a chosen few, called Whisperers, are gifted with the Voice – the ability to tame the wild and dangerous water spirits. However, the once revered Whisperers are now an enslaved lot forced to serve under cruel kings and nobles. Their price of freedom is too high to pay. Betka, a novice Whisperer, can only dream of being free again and being reunited with her family.
A dangerous water spirit has attacked the castle where Betka’s sister is serving. She, somehow, joins the crew that has been assigned to protect that castle in hopes of finding her sister alive. However, upon reaching there, the spectacle of carnage that Betka and the crew witnesses make any chance of finding any survivor slim. But they need to enter the castle, unaware that a savage foe awaits them inside. Can Betka save her sister? Will the other crew members perish too? Read Whispers from the Depths by C. W. Briar to find out.
Whispers from the Depths is a thoroughly engaging, dark fantasy novel.
In a brief span of 297 pages, it packs a punch with fantastic world-building, rich imagery and a colorful ensemble of characters. I was surprised to find an exhaustive explanation of the rich legacy of the Whisperers’, their magic, their ways of working and their descent to slavery in this short book. Such succinct expositions are unseen in today’s fantasy novels.
Further, Briar has vividly described the scenes of destruction in the castle. However, even more spectacularly described are the powers of the water spirits. These could rival the CGI effects of any fantasy film. Briar has also brilliantly developed his characters. He effortlessly shows Betka’s inner conflict – protecting her cruel captors versus hurting them. On the other hand, even the cruelest of the enslavers performs good deeds making it hard to hate them.
For all it’s good points, I could not agree with the theme of forgiveness. I would have appreciated a more gradual acceptance of her captors by Betka. It was hard for me to digest Betka’s self-sacrifice. Briar could have added more events to create additional tension in the storyline which could have resulted in a captivating transformation tale of sworn enemies to fragile allies.
Whispers from the Depths turned out to be an enjoyable page-turner for me that conveys some powerful messages. Although it has a bittersweet ending, don’t let that deter you from picking it up. I would recommend this book to all adult fantasy fans due to the dark setting.
I reviewed this book for Readers’ Favorite and opted to post an impartial review on my blog. I received a nominal payment which does not affect my opinion of the book.
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