“You can’t look into the desert too long because the heat will burn your eyes, but it’s important to know what one is up against.”
I’m so happy to be able to share my review of this novel before its release date! The combination of genres and gripping story line managed to capture me right from the word go. If you’re looking for a long novel with a collection of solid, determined characters, which also touches upon some of the important issues in the world today, then this is definitely the read for you.
The Water Crown by James Suriano explores a world running out of water, royalty struggling to control what is left as well as how two very different souls come together to make things right. This unusual plot follows the stories of multiple characters as they work together to save not only themselves, but each other in the process. What is so special about the jinn that Zyan saw? Why does Jade need Zyan? With so many questions so early on, it’s clear this novel would be a memorable reading experience.
I liked the first few paragraphs of the book. I mean, I really liked them. They were solid. For someone like me, who didn’t have the blurb to read from initially, it quickly draws you into the setting, describing the types of people who are involved in the story and their appearances. That’s what you need in a opening chapter. If you’re looking for good ways to start a book, (because I know a lot of people find it difficult) read this. There’s no serious, hard to follow action, but all the essentials are there to get us ready for the adventure to come. Loved it – a great start!
As first impressions go, I expected this book to go down more of a religious route, a little similar to a book I recently reviewed (This Shall Be A House Of Peace by Phil Halton). However, we soon see some fantasy elements, as well as mystery and adventure, which totally threw me off course! Straight away, this book definitely seemed as though it would please a number of keen readers of different genres – myself included.
We’re soon introduced to a character called Jade, who I instantly loved. I particularly enjoyed Jade’s pet pangolin, Gwevlyn – not just because I love pangolins on a normal day, but because this particular pet was able to follow commands and communicate with Jade through thought.
I really enjoyed how the story so far was written from two different perspectives; Jade’s and Zyan’s. These two characters are quite the opposite – one being seemingly kind, confident and important, whereas the other was poor and simply learning the ways of the desert. I liked how these two characters crossed paths at the start and I was curious to see how their stories would intertwine. A simple walk through the sandy terrain to collect water was sure to be a journey Zyan wouldn’t forget in a hurry.
“A tingle of fear walked up his back when he thought about being alone in the dark.”
We see a whole chapter dedicated to Jade, exploring her abilities. This gives the reader a great picture of what she is capable of. It also sets us up for the rest of the story and really gets our minds working. It soon becomes clear that telepathic communication is Jade’s special ability. She uses it well and to her advantage by reading the thoughts of others and communicating with them in times of need, as well as to get crucial information that isn’t really ethical – I loved it! I think there are a number of ways Jade could use this skill, and I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of it throughout the book. I was excited to see how Suriano fitted it into the story.
I really liked this particular snippet of text, which I really think captures her ability well;
“One of the local administrators of the Malawi government entered, followed by four other people Jade couldn’t identify because they didn’t hold their titles at the forefront of their minds.”
With Jade working hard to solve a murder too close to home and Zyan innocently living each day in his father’s footsteps, how will their lives intertwine? How much will they need each other in order to survive? I really loved the story already at this point, and was so excited about the adventure to come.
It quickly becomes important to Jade and Sadie, her sister, to try and solve the mystery of a murder. My initial thoughts for the genre and theme of the story had dramatically changed by this point – after thinking the story would be set in a poor town in Africa, we now see pieces of futuristic technology and Google searches! I think these two points of view really make the book unique and I love the fact we seem to be following two completely different stories of different natures at this point. I couldn’t help thinking that this was about to change and I was even more excited to find out the connection between Jade and Zyan.
I really enjoyed the detective feel of solving a murder and the characters working together to find out what other people are up to. I’ve always been a fan of anything like that, (I’m a big Dexter fan) and every time I read something about finding clues and working out why things happened, I want to quit my day job and retrain! Jade and Isaak’s working relationship is perfect and they make great partners. I feel like Suriano has created some really solid characters and expressed their personalities and motives flawlessly.
As Jade and Issak are busy following a water truck to explore some unanswered questions and Sadie is going through a weird encounter in a hospital bed, Zyan has suddenly found himself in the presence of a Prince after making it known that he spotted a jinn in the desert. This is big news to royalty. It’s rare that anyone has this ability, never mind a boy like Zyan! Each story from every character has been really well polished. Even though there are still questions to be answered, the story didn’t leave me confused – even with 3 different points of view.
Jade begins to get more and more curious about Zyan and discusses her sightings of him with Sadie. As the visions of him get more frequent, she realises she has to find out more about him and why she is seeing him. When she finds out he’s in Morocco, she does the one thing that’ll get her closer – travel!
“I don’t think he’s crossed over to the afterlife. I think he’s somewhere here.”
As this is going on, Isaak is busy fighting for his own opinions with the Queen. After following the water truck with Jade and finding Waterites and unethical water usage, he tells the Queen that they should provide fresh, clean water for everyone. The Queen, however, pushes to prioritise her subjects first. Even though this story line is very unusual, I think it works, especially with all the other stories from different characters coming together.
The only thing that stood out to me as being a slight negative is that the build up was dragged out a little too much for my liking. For me, I feel like the middle of the book could have been cut down a little, and there were a few scenes that could have been shorter. However, I do appreciate the detail Suriano has gone into to make his novel the best it can possibly be. To many people, I’m sure this will give them a better connection with the story! Saying this, I was certain the ending would make up for this, and I wasn’t disappointed.
As the story moves on, we see each character come into some sort of trouble. I especially liked how Jade got out of her tricky situation with a little help from Nan. We’re still yet to see how Jade and Zyan are linked – the one thing I’ve wanted to see right from the first couple of chapters!
We don’t have to wait too much longer however – as Zyan reaches the Waterites, the jinn appears, and we witness a beautiful scene of the two characters connecting for the first time. I feel like this was what I was waiting for and the description was purely magical. Just as we think we’ll get more answers, the jinn disappears. It left me questioning things more and more, thinking of what will happen when they meet again.
I enjoyed how Isaak was still digging deeper into Gerry’s murder as the rest of the characters did their thing. I think this particular story was one of my favourites (for obvious detective-loving reasons) and I really liked Isaak’s character. Good books always have characters that are etched into your mind throughout a story, leaving you wondering how their stories will end and how each one will tie into the main plot. It’s also refreshing to see a character grow, just like Zyan does. He starts to take some responsibility, even though he should really be under the Prince’s orders.
“And what do you see in these waters?”
If the story of Zyan and Jade helping one another wasn’t an emotional rollercoaster, just wait until the end. We see loss, grief, but also the reuniting of two important characters. I really think the end of the story was brought to a close perfectly, and even though the ending for all characters wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, it’s clear Suriano has given it a lot of thought. As a result, he’s created an ending as strong as the start of the book, and I can’t wait to see what his next book has in store!
It’s always hard to review a book without giving spoilers. I loved how much we had going on in The Water Crown – so much excitement, so much to question and a handful of characters you can’t help but get attached to. Suriano has perfected his novel in a way that many authors struggle, and this book really gave off a vibe of a successful, published author. If people are still wondering whether indie authors can write incredible novels that wow their readers, this book is definitely one to read – no doubt about it!
A huge thanks to James Suriano for allowing me to read and review this awesome novel before its release. The Water Crown is available to pre-order now on Amazon, available on Kindle. 📚 It will be released to the world on August 31st!
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