Driftwood by Marie Brennan

Posted On 10 August 2020

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DriftMy TL:DR Five Word Review: My oh my.  How unusual.

What a strange and strangely unique story this was.  On the face of it, it’s a world with different countries colliding together and then shrinking before disappearing from existence completely.  A story brought together by different inhabitants from all those countries recounting their own stories, all centering around one particular character, a character called Last who is known simply because he’s been around longer than anyone else.   It’s an odd concept, this group of people sitting around recounting their own tales, it feels like a meeting of strangers at a funeral all sharing stories of the deceased, which is also kind of fitting when you consider that each of the worlds here are about to pop out of existence.  And, at the same time as being a totally fictional place cram packed with imaginative and quirky details this can also be taken as an allegory, maybe of the history of the world or perhaps a look at disappearing civilisations.  It’s not as though we haven’t discovered our share of civilisations that have become extinct and it’s a fascinating part of the world’s history and this particular book takes a look at the way stories are shared and passed down from one generation on to the next until finally they’re so fundamentally changed or parts of them completely forgotten that that particular time and place is eventually lost to us.

So, this story really highlights the way we tell our stories.  Short story collections don’t usually work for me but this one did and that’s because it’s not a typical anthology, it’s a complete story told by a number of different people and in that respect it works very well.  This is a world that contains multiple worlds, it’s like a collection of all the disappeared civilisations, an imagining that brings them together, jostling for position, almost like flotsam bobbing randomly upon the waves before being sucked into a vortex.

The writing is good, it’s crisp and there is no wastage.  To be honest it surprised me that it pulled me into the story because it isn’t really character focused (although Last is the main thread throughout) and I do like my stories to be character led.  It’s difficult to get to grips with the characters when they’re discovered in this way and yet I find myself in the strange position of liking Last and in fact I think he could totally be the star of his own show if the author decided to tell his story.

In terms of world building.  Well, I had no problem picking this one up and running with it.  It’s like if you imagine all the fairy tales ever told belonging to one world, like the Neverending Story, if you like, they’ve all come together for their last gasp before blinking out of existence.  And like the Neverending Story there is no shortage of worlds and people – they’re not deeply dwelled upon but they are quite fascinating and sketched in a way that is entertaining and curious all at once.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I can imagine that this might not appeal to everyone in fact I’m the first to confess that when I started this I had that horrible sinking feeling that it simply wasn’t going to be my cup of tea.  It certainly doesn’t follow a traditional format and in some respects it feels like a precursor to something else – I certainly hope so.  It’s not a swords and sorcery style story, in fact it’s really not a traditionally told story at all – but I find that it worked for me on this particular occasion and even more so because of the style, creativity and ability to make me ponder.  I like a good ponder.

Overall, I’d give this 4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.




Can’t Wait Wednesday : Driftwood by Marie Brennan

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Driftwood by Marie Brennan.  Shut the front door and give me this book, ahem, please. Pretty please even with cherries and sprinkles and cream.

DriftwoodWho is Last?

Fame is rare in Driftwood–it’s hard to get famous if you don’t stick around long enough for people to know you. But many know the guide, Last, a one-blooded survivor who has seen his world end many lifetimes ago. For Driftwood is a strange place of slow apocalypses, where continents eventually crumble into mere neighborhoods, pulled inexorably towards the center in the Crush. Cultures clash, countries fall, and everything eventually disintegrates.

Within the Shreds, a rumor goes around that Last has died. Drifters come together to commemorate him. But who really was Last? Lying liar, or heroic savior? A mercenary, a charlatan, a legend? A man, an immortal–perhaps even a god?

Discover Marie Brennan (The Memoirs of Lady Trent)’s incomparable Driftwood, a realm of fragments cohered into a myth that encompasses realities.

Due for publication: July 2020