(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light—two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean.
Children of the Republic, Helena and Jason were inseparable in their youth, until fate sent them down different paths. Grief and duty sidetracked Helena’s plans, and Jason came to detest the hollowness of his ambitions.
These two damaged souls are reunited when a tiny boat from the Blessed Lands crashes onto the rocks near Helena’s home after an impossible journey across the forbidden ocean. On board is a single passenger, a nine-year-old girl named Kailani, who calls herself “the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky.” A new and perilous purpose binds Jason and Helena together again, as they vow to protect the lost innocent from the wrath of the authorities, no matter the risk to their future and freedom.
But is the mysterious child simply a troubled little girl longing to return home? Or is she a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of a godless Republic, as the outlaw leader of an illegal religious sect would have them believe? Whatever the answer, it will change them all forever… and perhaps their world as well.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]
What I find interesting is that in David Litwack’s world of religious extremes (blind faith on one hand and clinging to reason on the other hand), one little girl finds a way to bring both together toward a common goal. Both sides clearly are committing atrocities and are scarily dystopian toward their citizens, so by the end of the book there’s still quite a long way to go but things are getting better. And that’s really the beauty of the world-building in this book: it mirrors our own society in a lot of ways, particularly with the current events going on in the Middle East. Finding common ground is a start, both in the real world and in fiction, and David Litwack portrays a slow transition both for society and the main characters in a realistic way.
The characters were quite interesting in their own ways. Helena is dealing with the death of her father alone because her mother ran away to bury her head in the woods at a farm for artists. Jason is struggling because he’s never been given the opportunities of Helena, having worked a job after school for so long to pay for university and get a decent job. Then everything changes when Helena and Jason help a girl whose boat crashed on the reefs and she claims to be the daughter of the sea and the sky who must be forgiven by the wind. The character of Kailani is interesting but I feel like it had a little more potential because of the way the book ended. Maybe a clue or something about whether or not she truly is a prophet.
David Litwack’s writing keeps improving with each book, but the narrative of this one seemed a bit off. His actual writing was nice; lots of descriptions, easy flow, etc. But the story itself felt like it was building up toward something that was changed in the climax, leaving readers a little disappointed. Maybe it’s something personal, but I kind of wanted more at the end of the book. More of an explanation for Kailani, more of the circumstances surrounding her journey explained, etc. I try not to be too thrown by surprise endings, but this one did affect my overall opinion of the rest of the book.
In short, if you’re looking for a good science fiction/fantasy mash-up book, look no further. The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky wasn’t necessarily the book I’m the best suited for but I still found a lot about it to love.
I give this book 4/5 stars.