Review: WALKING ON WATER by Matthew J. Metzger
LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling (Little Mermaid)
When a cloud falls to earth, Calla sets out to find what lies beyond the sky. Father says there’s nothing, but Calla knows better. Something killed that cloud; someone brought it down.
Raised on legends of fabled skymen, Calla never expected them to be real, much less save one from drowning—and lose her heart to him. Who are the men who walk on water? And how can such strange creatures be so beautiful?
Infatuated and intrigued, Calla rises out of her world in pursuit of a skyman who doesn’t even speak her language. Above the waves lies more than princes and politics. Above the sky awaits the discovery of who Calla was always meant to be. But what if it also means never going home again?
Read it. Hie thee hence to a place to buy this book (ideally the publisher) and READ IT NOW.
I’m picky AF about books, those that I give an unreserved five-star score to and want to leap up and down on the top of a building for? Yeah. They’re GOOD.
I’d like to say I’m without words at how wonderful this book is, but it’s honestly just that I have SO MANY positive words about it that I’m having trouble expressing myself.
This book wrecked me in all the best ways possible.
It made me curse the author, it made me so flipping MAD, I cried, sniffly sort of crying and the ugly sobbing sort of crying. I laughed, snickered, and snorted a few times too, and at the end? I hugged my tablet to my chest and I’ve been walking around with the goofiest grin on my face since.
I loved it so much.
Even if reading it did make me forget to eat two meals and I forgot to drink my tea.
It gave me many things I didn’t know I needed to see on-page until I read them.
Trans rep– there is a whole chapter about one of the MCs that so clearly echoes exactly how I feel about my physical form some days that I cried to read it. I needed that. I needed a happy ever after kind of story for a trans person who had to choose not to be in contact with their family because of not being loved for who I am. I needed this book so very much and I didn’t know HOW MUCH I needed it until I read it.
Ace rep– I’m a sex-positive ace, but it’s rare as hen’s teeth to find ace rep of any kind, (thank goodness this is changing) and seeing the way the author deals with a sex-repulsed ace was still healing to me because she was there, on page, and her needs were respected and met. (There IS sex in this book, on page, erotic sex, but it’s not for the ace side character.)
Pain rep/cane use– I have chronic pain and use a cane and the way pain is handled in this book is so accurate, it’s perfect. (It’s pain from an injury, but the way the MC deals with it is true to my experience.)
Fat positivity– Fat characters are also spoken of in a positive light. I liked that too.
Bisexual representation!– On page bisexual representation. Bisexual GUY on page rep and the story isn’t ABOUT being bi, they just are. Love to see that.
World building- Very gritty, realistic historical fantasy type world building.
The story itself and the author’s voice is enveloping, powerful, beautiful, and lyrical.
I especially enjoyed the unique descriptive qualities to the characters, unusual choices of words can be so lovely if used well.
In dual PoV books, it can be hard to nail the two different character voices, the author nailed it in this one. I loved the very different feeling to each of the two PoV MCs, side characters were as well developed and written as the MCs.
I want more books out in the world like this and I want it now.
Content warning on graphic battle scenes, graphic shape change scenes. (I loved them, but I love gore in book/movies.)
Content warning on a (very few, I wasn’t counting, but like three, I think) usages of ableist language for self-labeling.
Readability: 5 of 5 Though I pre-ordered this book, I waited to read it until I knew I’d have time to finish in one sitting. I’d heard it was really good, and I know what I’m like with a good book. I wasn’t wrong, life pulled me away the first two times I tried to read this (over the past two days) but I managed to read from about chapter 3 to the end today and OMG. What a freaking amazing ride. This is not the kind of book that you’ll be able to read just a chapter a night, it’s just that great.
Arcs: 5 of 5 It’s a little mermaid retelling, so I knew sort of what would happen, the author stuck true to the tale as far as the details, but brought a completely unique and fresh perspective to it. The tension leading up to the first turning point and then again to the climax were so masterfully done that my heart was in my throat in both places. The climax itself had me cussing out the author. SERIOUSLY. YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO BREAK MY HEART. But I’m glad you did, cause you sewed it up again, better.
Craft: 5 of 5 I need more stars for rating Ninestarpress’s books. I caught ONE typo, that’s it. I would’ve liked to see a little less passive voice, but there were really only maybe four sentences I caught it in that could’ve been more strongly worded (and as y’all know, passive voice is my Achilles heel in reading (writing too) so I have an unreasoning hatred for it. Four sentences of passive voice is far and away better than anything big 5 is putting out these days (barring some few authors who I will sell a kidney to buy their work if needed). This book is excellent, and it’s one I’m so happy I bought and own cause it’s definitely going to go into the re-read often pile. I might even buy a second bound-copy, because I want one.
Go on now, I wouldn’t steer you wrong, go buy the thing!
Remember if you buy directly from the publisher, the pub and author both get more money so they can keep bringing you more books.
Don’t forget to review! Reviews sell books for authors. 🙂
Add it to your TBR on Goodreads here.
As an extra, Matthew was kind enough to give me a character interview for one of my favorite side characters, Doktor Karl Hauser, you can read that here.