Mouse lives, works and loves the Huntress; the ship she calls home. Captained by her grandmother Wren, she finds herself on an epic journey through the seas of the north, on the hunt for her missing father and the legendary Storm-Opals.
No spoilers here…
This is a beautiful book that I unashamedly bought on an impulse. It’s cover caught my eye in the window of Waterstones in Carmarthen (and what a stunning cover it is – designed by Joe McLaren). It was dotted around the shop on various displays with reviews that compared it to Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. And, the lovely man who worked there was also reading it and recommended it.
Who doesn’t love a book with a map at the beginning? But with this book, not only do you get a map of the world of Trianukka, but a cross-section of the Huntress too. The novel isn’t illustrated as such, but the pages are filled with slices of imagery from the story. Snatches of whale-song slide around the text along with tiny moonsprite footprints.
The chapters are short which was so refreshing to me, and Driver uses language in a very clever and unique way. Hard to define what I mean by this, but the story is set in a world that is not our own, but bears many similarities. The language does the same, it’s clearly of the world of Trianukka, and sets this book apart from so many.
It’s written from Mouse’s perspective in first person which really pulls you into her world. She is a fierce character filled with loyalty for her family and passion for her life on the seas. She is gritty and happy to bite her way out of an argument. She is gifted with the beast-chatter which is a delicious new slant on being able to understand the meaning behind an animal’s growl or bark or hoot.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In fact, I loved it. More importantly, I knew that I loved it as I read it. The world that Sarah Driver has created is gnarly and salty. There’s a reality to living life on the seas that comes through here which gives Mouse’s journey a grounding. Mixed with supernatural hints of magic and monsters, the world expands as the hunt for the Storm-Opals begins.
The Huntress: Sea is the first novel in a trilogy. And I for one am heart-glad to have set foot on the Huntress. With Mouse, Sparrow and Crow at my side, I am deeply excited to sail on.
The Huntress: Sky cannot be published fast enough.