Daughter of Flood and Fury by Levi Jacobs (Tidecaller Chronicles: Book 1)

I thoroughly enjoyed Levi Jacobs’ Resonant Saga, which begins with SPFBO finalist Beggar’s Rebellion, so I jumped at the opportunity to read Daughter of Flood and Fury before it was released. This novel begins a new series from Jacobs which is sure to showcase his signature magic and fast-paced plotting. There is a lot to love with this one!

One of the things I loved about Daughter of Flood and Fury was the world building that Jacobs weaves into the narrative in dozens of small, seamless ways. From introducing the magic system early on, to offering hints of the religious beliefs of the characters through conversation and culture, the reader picks up a ton of information without realizing they’re doing so. By the end of the novel it’s obvious that we’ve seen only a small slice of the world, and I can’t wait to learn more. That desire to know more - about the world, the characters, the magic - is wonderfully done. Another excellent aspect of the novel was the pacing. When I read fast-paced novels, the pacing is sometimes breakneck, with no points to slow down and think, and while that can work in some instances, Jacobs has crafted something more nuanced here. The novel certainly moves quickly, but there is an ebb and flow to the plot that allows for downtime, allows you to pause and take a breath. I really enjoyed this. Of course, the magic system itself is interesting and intriguing and drew me in and made me want to know more and more about it, especially at the fringes where there is obviously so much more to be revealed. The characters are each well-crafted, but this is obviously the story of Aletheia Vjolla, our main character. We see the story from her perspective throughout, and we get to know her, her fears, her hopes. Again, Jacobs does a good job of showing us these aspects of her character without large blocks of exposition telling us these things, and I really appreciate that.

One aspect of the novel I did not like as much was the passage of time. That may seem an odd criticism to make, but the entire novel takes place over the course of a single week. That’s not a problem in and of itself, but there is a good deal of character development, learning, adjustment that happens during that week. In the end, I’m not sure that some of what Aletheia learns is learnable, or at least able to be internalized, in mere days. Similarly, some of the relationships that she builds and experiences feel like they would take months to develop, rather than days. I fully understand that we can have these liminal moments in our lives where things happen very quickly indeed, but even so the speed with which Aletheia grows feels almost too fast. It isn’t that it's written poorly, it’s that I have to suspend disbelief just a hair too much to believe all this is achievable in a week. This isn’t a huge knock on the novel, however, as I have sort of just edited my headcanon in such a way that more time passed than really did. But that fact detracts from an otherwise excellent read.

Daughter of Flood and Fury is an engaging, riveting, and fun novel. With plenty of action, a scrappy teenage protagonist, and a Sandersonesque magic system this is sure to appeal to fans of Mistborn. It would also make a wonderful gateway fantasy read for those who enjoy the YA genre. I look forward to reading more of Jacobs’ stories set in this world!

8/10 An engaging, riveting, and fun novel

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