Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Author: Nichola Reilly
Release date: June 24th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: Drowned # 1
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Add to your library: Goodreads

Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.
(via Goodreads)

I received an e-copy of this from Nichola Reilly and Lady Readers BookStuff Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. This however did not influence my opinion of the book or of the author in any way.


I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. I was so overwhelmed with all the information about the world Coe lived in that in more than one occasion, I absolutely had no idea what was going on. So yeah, not even about 10% of the book, I was so close to DNF-ing it. But you know, curiosity got the better of me.

I haven't read a Dystopia in awhile so I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing. The world-building at the start was so, how do you say it? It was jam-packed with all details, from general to specific that I got lost more than once. Then it focused on the characters then back to world-building at times. I would have enjoyed this more if the start wasn't that quite generous with all those details. It was too much for me. Especially with all the counting of the tides. Yet I was thankful that I continued reading till the end because I got to understand the totality of the world they lived in. On how it started to become like that, on how the leaders became the leaders and so on and so forth. I can say that at the end of the novel, the world-building was fine as a whole. At least, there was a redeeming point for me.

Imagining living in a world as such makes me cringe because I feel like I would be literally stuck in an island for my whole life. It's not as if you can go anywhere other than the platform especially when the waves come in. Being stranded in an island is already scary as it is for me but living in there would probably be the worst. That's why I admire how Coe and the others were able to live through it. Given that they have their designated work to do and those little parasites that can just kill them immediately. Not mentioning that Coe having lost an arm makes me admire her more. And the fact that she is the only one who can read (her father gave her a journal and a fairy tale book) among all of them made me think that she is indeed special. And damn was she. The underlying surprise for her identity was really a surprise for me. Though in the end, I cannot understand how that happened to her. The one explaining why she was able to not drown. I'm looking for more explanation for that on the sequel.

As much as I admire Coe for her survival skills, I don't understand why she did that at the end. I know she was faithful to Tiam and I know those two have it in together but as many times as Coe saved him, I just cannot understand how was she able to do what she did at the end. Curious are you? Well, let's just say that she did what she had to do given the situation BUT STILL. I guess she really listens to all what Tiam tells her. Or I actually felt like it was the only thing that could happen or else there'd be a lot of issue at the sequel. The princess was another character I cannot understand. She was all, "Tiam is my life, my love." But hey, she NEVER did anything risky to help him. Maybe they have different definitions of love as to their living conditions. So whatever, I'd let them off the hook for that. I know that Coe was the only one who knows a lot among all of them anyway. Finn too, I felt like his character was just put there to introduce chaos. I guess the characters weren't that much given the opportunity to be known by the readers. Most of them were introduced to be as such then something happens so their personality would change. Some of the characters' growth wasn't that much convincing for me.

Drowned was surprisingly a good read for me. Such a unique premise for the genre. You'd be totally asking for more once you read the end.

10 Thing You Didn't Know About DROWNED

1. I actually wrote DROWNED many years ago, but was too busy writing paranormal books under my Cyn Balog name to have a chance to revise it.
2. The first title I had for it was TIDES (that was the document name), and then I changed it to DREAM KINGDOM, which is part of one of my favorite poems, The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot. The chapter headings and many of the images in the book are derived from the poem.
3. Originally one of the first scenes in the book was the remaining children in “school”, reciting the tides timetables for the coming week so that they would make sure that they didn’t get carried away by the ocean, like some children had a few days before. I deleted it because the society I wanted to portray was too far-gone to care about whether children were 1) schooled, and 2) safe.
4. I wrote about 3 or 4 drafts of the book. Finn wasn’t in any of the early drafts.
5. DROWNED comes from me spending my summers on the Jersey Shore. I’ve watched many a tide come in and take away precious things with it. Luckily, no people. But I’ve always been awed by the enormous power of the ocean.
6. While writing DROWNED, I had more than one nightmare about drowning.
7. In the book it says that Tiam was named for Tiamat, the ancient Mesopotamian goddess of the ocean. She is also referred to as the “chaos monster” and it is her body that formed all things. Coe was named after the fish Corvina.
8. I wore a sock on my hand and did a bunch of activities with one hand to see if they were possible, and how much harder they would be. Originally it was Coe’s left hand that was missing. But then I accidentally wrote that she was missing her right hand on the art sheet, so they designed the book with her missing her right hand. Then I had to go back and change it in the manuscript.
9. There is a very detailed backstory to each of the characters on the island—I put it all together as I was writing the book. I could probably write a prequel with all the info I have. Just call me George Lucas.
10. Coe is obsessed with fairy tales, with romantic heroes and true love and things other people don’t care about, because a fairy tale book is the only surviving book in the land, and she is the only one who can read. I wanted to make her environment the complete antithesis of a fairy tale. Despite all the horrors she’s witnessed, she still maintains a wide-eyed, hopeful innocence and a belief in the happily ever after. Will she get it? I’m not saying . . . yet.

                About the Author

Nichola ReillyCyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them.

She is author of young adult paranormal novels; FAIRY TALE (2009), SLEEPLESS (2010), STARSTRUCK (2011), TOUCHED (2012), and her most recent release: DEAD RIVER (2013).e.

She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters.She also writes under the pen name Nichola Reilly.

Nichola Reilly is Cyn Balog’s post-apocalyptic fantasy-writing alter-ego. The first book in her series, DROWNED, will be releasing from Harlequin TEEN sometime in 2014, followed by a sequel, BURIED, in 2015. 


This post rocks. Thank you for the wonderful review and for taking time out of your day to post. You rock..



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