The Sea Within – Missouri Vaun

3.5* – It’s 2089 and the world is on its last legs. Besides humans, not much life is left, and what is left is not exactly enjoyable. Eliza ‘Elle’ Graham is a paleobotanist looking for a cure in the planet’s past. Jackson Drake’s wife died trying to save others, and the last thing Jackson wants is to fall for another woman willing to sacrifice herself to save the world. So when Jackson’s new mission is to take Elle back to primeval Earth to retrieve, she vows to keep things professional.

Missouri Vaun has a way of setting the scene in a couple of sentences that I’m in awe of. In just a few words, she conveys the way the air smells, what the atmosphere feels like, the sounds, the colours… Vaun is a very visual writer, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since she’s also a comic book artist.

While Vaun obviously did her research into what lives and dies in the oceans, climate change, etc., she manages to give just the right amount of nerdy details without info-dumping and slowing the narrative down. This book is fast-paced and action-packed and would make a really good movie. Another thing I enjoyed a lot was the plot twists. You think you know where the author is taking you and bam! the story takes another turn.

The romance, however, didn’t work as well for me, despite good chemistry between the Jackson and Elle. While I quite liked the characters, I have to admit they are a bit flat and the romance is too fast. I’m more than okay with instalust (especially since the first time Elle and Jackson meet is at a sex club) and I get that near-death experiences can bring people closer faster but I still need a deeper connection before love gets officially involved. There’s also a bad guys plot which feels somewhat cliché, but it also makes sense at the same time.

The Sea Within is a quick and entertaining read that tackles very real problems. If you like butch/femme romances, time travel or cli-fi, you’ll find them all here.

3 stars

The Sea Within @ Bold Strokes Books

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