ARC Review: Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

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ARC Review: Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn
Flowers for the Sea

4 Stars

Book Info

Released: October 19th 2021
Genre: Sci Fi
Published by
Pages: 112
Format: eARC

“…intense, beautifully dark, tragic, laced with gothic overtones and supernatural elements that left me wanting to know more.”

~ Under the Covers

Flowers for the Sea is the debut dark fantasy novella by Zin E. Rocklyn that follows Iraxi, who is one of the few survivors of a flooded kingdom aboard a lonely ark with few supplies and surrounded by people who look down at her, as well as, ravenous beasts that hunt the ship. She is also resentfully pregnant with a child that will be the first to be carried to term and survive. However, the baby may also be more than human. Iraxi also battles with the pain of her past, the self loathing of her current circumstances and the rage that will fuel her unknown fate, that is both powerful and destructive.

This is a dark and gothic fantasy novella, filled with detailed descriptions of disturbing imagery, that could be uncomfortable for some. However, that is the beauty of Rocklyn’s writing. The descriptions of what one’s body goes through after months on a ship were quite severe. As well as, the gruesome details of childbirth. So do not mistake the shortness of the story to not carry a significant weight. So those seeking a quick light read will not find that here. However, the mesmerizing way the words are crafted to execute such a detailed and immersive story is not something a book lover should miss out on.

Iraxi is an outsider on the ship, isolated from everybody while she struggles with carrying a child she doesn’t want, but is viewed as the last hope to those on the ship. Her past decisions haunt her and the only thing keeping her going is her rage. Which will later prove to be the key to a greater and darker fate than she could ever dream of. While I found it hard to root for Iraxi at times, I still found her relatable in some moments. I don’t want to spoil the story, but let’s just say her ending was very satisfying and made me wish the story was a little longer.

In conclusion, I found this novella to be intense, beautifully dark, tragic, laced with gothic overtones and supernatural elements that left me wanting to know more. I am giving it 4 stars, because while I found this story to be beautifully written, there were some moments that were difficult to get through. However, I still highly recommend this novella for those readers seeking something that will challenge them and need a read outside their usual preferences.

Trigger warnings: body horror, gruesome childbirth

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About Zin E. Rocklyn

Zin E. Rocklyn is a contributor to Bram Stoker-nominated and This is Horror Award-winning Nox Pareidolia, Kaiju Rising II: Reign of Monsters, Brigands: A Blackguards Anthology, and Forever Vacancy anthologies and Weird Luck Tales No. 7 zine. Their story "Summer Skin" in the Bram Stoker-nominated anthology Sycorax's Daughters received an honorable mention for Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year, Volume Ten. Zin contributed the nonfiction essay “My Genre Makes a Monster of Me” to Uncanny Magazine’s Hugo Award-winning Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction. Their short story "The Night Sun" and flash fiction "teatime" were published on Flowers for the Sea is their debut novella. Zin is a 2017 VONA and 2018 Viable Paradise graduate as well as a 2022 Clarion West candidate.

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Amy R

Thanks for the review.