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Rising Tide

by Mel Odom

Reviewed by Coral

Laaqueel has dedicated her life to serving Sekolah. As a priestess, power and glory should be hers amongst the sahuagin, except that Laaqueel is a malenti, a 'freak' amongst the sahuagin, for her sea elf body. That hasn't kept her from the most important mission of her life, to find the one the ancient texts call 'he who swims with Sekolah'.
But when she finds him, Iakhovas is nothing like what she'd expected and he is much more dangerous than she's realized. As he leads the underwater realms in a war against the surface dwellers, Laaqueel begins to suspect that he's after something greater than glory for her people. But are her doubts simply the malenti weakness inside of her, or will following Iakhovas bring only death and suffering for her people?
Jherek only wants to be at sea, to work as an honest man on a ship. Unfortunately for him, secrets from his past threaten that dream, putting all those who would take a chance on him at risk. But with a war with the underwater realms coming, Jherek may have a bigger role to play in it than even he expected.
Although I think I read it out of order by reading the collection of short stories first, I think I was more excited for the rest of the series than I would have been if I had read this book first. Mel Odom's story was one of the highlights of the collection and I couldn't wait to read more about the larger picture of the war.
I enjoyed the Iakhovas and Laaqueel part of the story. I'm interested in where this is going and what Iakhovas is up to. I think Laaqueel's confusion is believable. She has been searching for so long for something / someone to bring glory to herself (by way of brining glory to her people) and now she is presented with someone who seems to have the backing of her god, but who doesn't seem to be doing his best for her people.
Jherek's story line was the weaker one. I didn't care much for him or his 'dilemma'. It also didn't seem very believable in parts, especially at the beginning when, I think, the person he was trying to rescue would probably already have run out of breath. (Seriously, if you're pulled underwater unexpectedly, can you really survive the 5 - 10 minutes it took to be rescued? I can't even hold my breath for a minute. Not to mention that Jherek had to swim through sharks and enemy soldiers to do it.) This story line also kind of took me by surprise, because he wasn't anywhere in the short stories. I think I would have liked to trade him for some of the bit characters I read about in that book.
Grade: B