Flowers for the Sea – Zin E. Rocklyn

Flowers for the Sea will be out this Tuesday on October 19, and I highly recommend you read it. This is a short novella, but it packs a spooky and unsettling punch. We enter into Iraxi’s perspective as she is on a boat after the people’s land has been decimated. There is very little food on the vessel they are on and they are in fear for their lives on multiple fronts. Iraxi is the only woman who has become pregnant and able to potentially carry a baby to term. Before she had a complex relationship with the people she is now with. She is uncertain what her baby will bring.

​I rarely read anything remotely touching on horror, but this did not disappoint at any level. The suggestion was Rosemary’s Baby meets Octavia Butler, but I also think this story has elements of The Deep by Rivers Solomon. The stage setting, the people surrounding Iraxi, Iraxi’s own internal conflict. All of it was beautifully stunning and painted such a vivid picture of what she was going through and how she was making decisions. Rocklyn really knows how to make you feel a story. I was interested in Iraxi and uncertain what had happened to her previously and how it was affecting her movements in present day. Rocklyn shows the othering of Iraxi through her treatment on the ship while also showing how much the people around her need her. It plays with complex issues of judgment while taking from a woman through her body and her choices.

This novella looked at pain and suffering in one person in a very unique and beautiful way. I compared it to The Deep because both the POV characters in those stories are suffering and trying to deal with what that means for them and the community they are either a part of or are interacting with. I didn’t see the ending of this novella coming and thought it was beautifully written and told an impactful tale.

I picked up this novella and had a hard time putting it down. I almost want to reread it immediately to really take in the vivid pictures Rocklyn sets, the way that Iraxi sees the world, has suffered at its hands, and has to make surprisingly complicated decisions. It is wonderful and ethereal. The images planted in my head were amazing, and I can’t wait for others to read

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