The Reef Paperback – 24 Mar 2008
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"A promising new writer whose prose is dynamic and whose imagination is often startling." -- Jeff Vandermeer
"The Reef is a fascinating exploration into mysterious lands and the mysteries of the human heart." -- Jeffrey Thomas
From the Back Cover
Has-jahn: a continent of exotic cultures, cities and long-forgotten technology. Two members of a race once thought extinct wash up on the shores near the city of Escha. In their possession is a call for help from a human living on the little-known tropical island of Arya, where their race is being murdered. A crew of freelance explorers, led by the charismatic Santiago DeBrelt, travels to discover the mystery behind the killings. However, Santiago's controversial nature leads to him being accompanied by government agents -- who wish to explore Arya and find out why Eschan naval vessels have disappeared in the seas surrounding it.
Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Rhoam, a city in central Has-jahn, a band of terrorists are embarking upon an epic journey to the very same waters. Still angry from an old war with Escha, they've gathered explosives and weapons, and will allow nothing to interfere with their quest for a phenomenal revenge. But secret pasts are revealed and soon all eyes turn to the coral reef off the coast of Arya.
Top Customer Reviews
In the city of Escha, a scientist named Manolin is trapped in a difficult marriage with a demanding and paranoid wife. When his mentor and friend Santiago DeBrelt suggests an ocean trip to investigate distressing news from a scientist on the island of Arya, Manolin leaps at the chance and soon a disparate crew of researchers are on their way to the distant island. Meanwhile, in the city of Rhoam, a rumel woman named Jella is putting into operation a plan years in the making, a plan to avenge herself on Escha, the city which destroyed her life and that of her people. Her mission takes her and her companions to the coast, and to a ship bound for Arya...
The Reef is an intriguing novel. Although the events that unfold have potentially huge ramifications for the continent of Has-jahn and the rest of the world, it's largely a small-scale story focusing on the island of Arya and those who visit it. Whilst the novel is apparently about a mystery - who is behind a spate of murders on the island - it's actually much more of a character study, particularly looking at the dynamics of relationships and desire. The book succeeds admirably at both tasks, with the mystery unfolding satisfyingly and the book's comments on relationships interesting and thought-provoking.Read more ›
Not just for fantasy fans then - it will appeal to devotees of Mieville (and the late, great Michael G. Coney!) but its marine travels and dynamic, descriptive prose put it (almost) on a par with Conrad and Hemingway, which isn't bad for a debut. Support the new authors and independent publishers! And roll on next year for the next book coming out on Macmillan where everyone will hear about it. Forget "The Beach", this is "The Reef"!
Sadly the book did not live up to my expectations. Firstly, it is absolutely packed with typos and spelling and grammatical errors. Secondly the author appears to have very little grasp of writing complex adult relationships. Thirdly, characters behaviors and attitudes are aggravatingly inconsistent. Lastly, the plot is horrifically paced with eighty or so pages of almost nothing happening, followed by an abrupt and shallow conclusion.
What was most disappointing was that the book has a lot of potential. Some of the characters feel like they could have been very interesting and the plot idea is unusual and intriguing. Such a shame that it was so poorly executed.