Fiction / Fantasy
Ms. Thomson is one of the greatest world builders I've read. The people, or beings, who inhabit her planets are wonderful. This book is no exception.
The world of Thalassa is even more of a water world than our Earth. It is metal-poor, and when people first arrive, they end up bonding with the large "fish" that swim in the oceans, the harsel. Hars are telepathic, to those who can hear, and they not only learn words, but communicate in song. They have giant holds in their bodies for specially built pods to carry their humans and cargo as they ply the oceans.
The bonds between a har captain (the human) and the har and strong and life-long.
Teller, a master storyteller who travels Thalassa telling stories, teaching the history of the planet, while keeping a secret meets and rescues a young orphan, Samad. Teller plans to find him a good family, but he sees it as being thrown away by this woman who tells stories, and refuses to let her go without him.
Teller has a har, Abeha, who also bonds with Samad. They both have their reasons for bonding with Samad, and neither thinks to ask what he wants. And as he becomes an adult, there are the inevitable clashes between adults and child.
There is a portion of the book which may bother some, but I think Ms. Thomson handled it well, with sensitivity and grace. Samad is homosexual. The most important aspect of that portion of the book is how it confuses him, and how when his mother, Teller, finds out, she is totally accepting. Frankly, I thought it was well handled, and such a small portion of the book barely worth mentioning; however, I know there are those out there in Reader Land who may have a different view than I on the subject.
I whole-heartedly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel. It is not an adrenalin gusher, it is thoughtful, delightful, there are places where I used a hanky (or three), and there are places where I not only chuckled, but also laughed out loud. A truly fun book.