Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn is a unique story of love, fire, and anger. Prepare yourselves for this tale before diving in; embers of anger will ignite in you and build to a roaring fire of rage.
Content Warnings: Fire/Fire Injury, Pregnancy, & Suicidal Thoughts.
There is a beautiful note at the start of this book that readers should review –
“For my readers, Flowers for the Sea contains depictions of infant harm and death, the realities of birth, and generational trauma.“
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn
Set on an ark after their kingdom was flooded, this group of people are doing their best to survive. Tension is thick between some of the survivors, food is limited, and their medical support is lacking. There are also rules about going onto the top deck, especially at nighttime, as there are creatures that live above and below that can attack at any moment.
Iraxi is one individual on the ship. She is heavily pregnant and covered in scarring from burns. Very early on, readers will see that she has suffered immensely already, and the pregnancy certainly isn’t helping. As the story goes on, we learn more about her past and what churns the rage inside of her.
But will she protect that fire, stoking it only when needed, or will the flames finally rage and burn themselves out to allow her to be released?
My heart broke for Iraxi on so many occasions throughout the duration of this story! The author did such an incredible job making readers feel the same emotions that Iraxi was feeling. Sure, this was seen in the rage and pain. But just one small example of this was in the yearning for being in the sunlight. I found myself so invested in the mindset as the character, my skin was prickling with anticipation of being in the sun as well.
This definitely isn’t an easy book to read. If the content warning above has you nervous, I would recommend holding off on this one for a bit until you feel more comfortable. I personally have never gone through childbirth, but the description here made me nauseous just thinking about the process, let alone seeing what this character dealt with. Phew! Of course, this is just another testament to how powerful this author’s writing is!
My Favorite Passages from Flowers for the Sea
I am insistence personified and the spite I draw is my sustenance, a weak sustenance sufficient in quieting my growing desire to perish.
Far-sea fishermen had warned us with fanciful tales of night beasts who took to the sky, blotting out the stars, muting both moons and all their brightness and all in order to hunt. They did not rest once the sun was eaten by the horizon. The night was theirs and everything that dared to cut through the ocean’s surface.
My Final Thoughts on Flowers for the Sea
A must-read. This one made me quite uncomfortable, but my goodness, does that discomfort have an incredible build up to that final scene.
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I had the chance to meet the author at Merrimack Valley Book Fest, and they were wonderful! I’m so honored to have a signed copy of this one for my shelves.