From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A decidedly dark departure from Priest's Eden Moore saga (Four and Twenty Blackbirds
, etc.), this stand-alone novel is equal parts horror, contemporary fantasy and apocalyptic thriller. During a summer vacation to her aunts coastal Florida home, innocent teen Nia sees her cousin Bernice commit a brutal murder and then get dragged into the ocean by a monstrous water witch. Nia becomes inadvertently entangled in a conflict between primordial creatures that endangers the very existence of humankind. Entombed in stone for countless years, Nia eventually emerges from her cocoon transformed, only to realize that an old god is close to awakening and destroying the world. Priests haunting lyricism and graceful narrative are complemented by the solemn, cynical thematic undercurrents with a tangible gravity and depth. This is arguably her most ambitious—and accomplished—work to date. (Dec.)
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Priest’s southern gothic Eden Moore trilogy (Four and Twenty Blackbirds, 2005; Wings to the Kingdom, 2006; Not Flesh nor Feathers, 2007) was praised for its atmospheric blend of suspense and supernatural intrigue. Now she visits similar moody territory in Florida in a myth-bending tale about immortal sea creatures. Arahab is a water witch with a singular and malevolent goal: to awaken an ancient sea monster, Leviathan, and restore the earthly reign of ancient gods while extinguishing the human race. Unfortunately, Arahab can’t complete the task without a human ally. When the opportunity presents itself in the form of a drowning woman, she grants virtual immortality to murderous, sophisticated young Bernice. What Arahab hasn’t counted on, however, is the wiliness of earth’s defenders, who transform Bernice’s cousin Nia into their own ally and encase her in a stony cocoon until an ultimate showdown between woman and witch. Although Priest’s quirky, character-driven yarn becomes mystifyingly outlandish at times, her creative vision is unlike anything else in contemporary fantasy. --Carl Hays