My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Trying to do this without spoiling it for you, so bear with me. I'm not going to reveal too much more than the synopsis.
First, I really liked the root concept of the story, the origins of the Wajinru, the merpeople. Solomon creates a compelling story of their parallel development with the "two-legs" (humans) and puts her main character Yetu in a predicament that defines whether her species will survive. The story raises many questions about the role of history in indigenous people, and even the survival of languages and artifacts when all the people are gone.
Second, I love the gender bending romance in the middle. It added a necessary stake after the story had stalled for reasons better left to Yetu to explain. I had difficulty connecting with Yetu, but she is, after all, an alien, because I am a Two-leg, so this is actually an example of good writing making me uncomfortable.
The only issue I had with the story is how it ended, which made the stakes raised beforehand, oddly unimportant, or rather, the stakes were lower than I expected. I still loved the story. It's an important story, especially for the hellish 2020 we are living. The prose is often beautiful, so it tickles the wordsmith in me, and, yeah, the worldbuilding is great. An alternative history of merpeople reminds me a lot of what Octavia Butler did for Vampires in Kindred. Nicely played. :-)
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