Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book Review: Shall We Drown in Feathered Sleep by Michael Merriam

Title: Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep
Author: Michael Merriam
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 11/15/2010

Short stories are both a joy as well as a difficulty to read. If done properly they can tell stories & leave the reader as full as if they were to have read hundreds of pages. If improperly done the reader leaves unsatisfied & empty, wishing for something more substantial. Michael Merriam is one author who knows how to properly pen a short story.

Set in an unknown time & location, this story focuses on a post-apocalyptic world that has been torn apart by war. People must do what they can to get by, which includes trading as well as having a yearly sacrifice to the loons. Each year the loons cry & only Grace Kriske seems to hear them. She regularly dreams of them, hearing their calls & seeing their plumage. Grace knows that she will never be chosen to be the sacrifice as a past injury has left her crippled for life. But as she grows increasingly more unsatisfied by her life in the village & what is never to be hers, will Grace be able to answer the loons' call or will she spend the rest of her life in her wheelchair?

While this is a short story (being just over 40 pages), the length truly does suit this apocalyptic fantasy. It's the absolute perfect length, which is something to commend Merriam about. (Although if he chose to, he could pen future full length stories set in this world.) Grace is a character that readers will be able to sympathize with & as the conclusion of the story looms ever closer they'll find themselves becoming impatient to see what fate will bring her & how everything will end up. There's also a little bit of romance to this story, although the main force of the story lies with the loons & Grace's desire to do more than what she currently is.

This is a great story & well worth the time to read, although at times readers will wish for just a teensiest bit more information about some of what is going on in the story. I heartily recommend this to anyone looking for a great short story to read inbetween their lengthier books.

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

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