Ascension by Kara Dalkey
Water: Ascension is the first in Kara Dalkey's trilogy concerning sixteen-year old Nia, a mermyd of a prominent clan in the undersea realm of Atlantis. The City is ruled by squid-like Farworlders, and their Avatars — mermyds that undergo a special bonding ritual that allows them to communicate with the Farworlders and govern Atlantis wisely. To be an Avatar is the highest honour a mermyd can achieve, and it is Nia's dream. She believes she has a good chance at winning the position against other young candidates from other clans, but is devastated when her family instead chooses her cousin Garun instead of her.
The mystery deepens when Cephan, the young mermyd she likes, shows her a prisoner mermyd and a Farworlder that are kept as secret prisoners deep in the core of Atlantis. Nia is shocked at this, believing her city to be a purely benevolent citadel where things like dungeons and puni... Read More
Kara Dalkey(1953- )
Kara Dalkey’s The Nightingale was nominated for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in 1989.
Water — (2002) Young adult. Publisher: The sea is the birthplace of legends. Nia, a young mermyd of the Bluefin clan, has had one wish all her life — to be an Avatar in her beloved home of Atlantis. The ten Avatars rule the beautiful and peaceful undersea city alongside the ancient Farworlders, whose magic keeps their world alive. To be an Avatar is an honor and a great responsibility, and Nia dreams of taking her place among the noble ten. Now, at sixteen, Nia has a chance to see her dream come true. Atlantis is choosing its next Avatar, and Nia knows she is supremely qualified. But there is something Nia doesn’t know — if she gets her heart’s desire, it could mean the end of her treasured world of Atlantis forever.
Ascension by Kara Dalkey
Reunion by Kara Dalkey
In the previous book, the sixteen year old mermyd Niniane (called "Nia" for short), discovered betrayal and conspiracy in her underwater home of Atlantis. With the escape of an evil mermyd named Ma'el and the Farworlder (powerful, intelligent squid-like creatures) that he is telepathically connected to, Atlantis was overthrown and Nia the last living Farworlder were thrown ashore.
Reunion picks up again from the point of view of Corwin, a young man whose master has recently been executed by the tyrannical King Vortigern and is now on the run himself. He makes his meager living as a beach-comber, and one this particular day he finds an extraordinary silvery shell but is soon chased from the shore by a terrible watery beast. He hopes that the shell will bring him some riches, but it is soon stolen by Vortigern's men despite the intervention of Nia herself, come ashore to s... Read More
Transformation by Kara Dalkey
Transformation is the final book in Kara Dalkey's Water trilogy, beginning with Ascension and continuing with Reunion, both of which are essential reads if you want to understand this final book. Previously, young mermyd called Nia from the underwater city of Atlantis came ashore in order to find Gobiath, a squid-like Farworlder that rules Atlantis. He is one of the last of his kind after Atlantis was betrayed by the evil mermyd Ma'el and his Farworlder Joab, and now Nia is an Avatar (someone with physic links to a particular Farworlder) and the only one who can save her home. In book two she met up with Corwin, a young boy who unwillingly also became an Avatar to Gobiath and helped Nia in rescuing him from the tyrannical King Vortigern.
Now the two of... Read More
Sagamore — (1986-1989) Publisher: Four generations ago in the land of Euthymia, King Thalion — called the Wise, but known as the Fool — gave his crown to his court jester, Sagamore. The jester became Sagamore the Shrewd, who begat King Vespin the Sneaky, who begat King Valgus the Brutal, father of the young Prince Abderian who — although not the eldest of Valgus’s many children — may well inherit the throne… Everyone wants the throne but Abderian. Yet it is he who bears the Mark of Sagamore… and the Curse.
Blood of the Goddess — (1996-1998) Historical fantasy. Publisher: Thomas Chinnery is a young assistant to a Master Apothecary of England, 1597, entrusted by his master with a perilous journey into the Portuguese — controlled waters of East Africa and India. But the captain of the ship on which Chinnery sails has piracy on his mind, rather than trade. And when they attack a small, rich ship fleeing the city of Goa, Thomas Chinnery is set on the path that will lead him through his darkest nightmares into the dungeons of the Inquisition and thence to the heart of ancient India.
Euryale — (1988) Publisher: All-powerful, all-consuming, all-eternal. Such are the dangers of forbidden love… Fantasy, magic and romance deftly woven into a story of gods and monsters, dark secrets and strange omens . . . Veiled against the world, and served only by the blind and short-sighted, a mysterious woman comes to Republican Rome to gain the answer to the riddle: “What can change stone into living flesh?”
The Nightingale — (1988) Publishers Weekly: Transferring Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the nightingale from China to Japan and transforming the bird into a young woman who plays the flute causes the story to lose some of its enchantment. Although Dalkey (The Curse of the Sagamore) authentically evokes Japanese formality and ceremony, the hypocrisy of status-hungry officials becomes the focus of this novella. The emperor himself, as dupe of conflicting forces, is sympathetically drawn, and Uguisu, the flute-player who wins his heart, is sweet and docile, hiding her beauty, as custom ordains, behind a screen. A charming diversion is provided by the emperor’s cat, Lady Hinata, herself the familiar of a goddess and rescuer of the banished Uguisu, who has been superseded, as in the original tale, by a bejeweled wanton. There are too many deities, however, too much inflated languagethat, unfortunately, deteriorates into bathosand too few fully fleshed characters to allow the fancy to take flight.
Little Sister — (1996) Young adult. Publisher: Like other noble girls in the imperial court, 13-year-old Mitsuko wears multi-layered kimonos and hides her face behind her sleeve when in public. But tragic events prove that Mitsuko is no ordinary girl. When her village is attacked by outlaws and her sister’s life is shattered, Mitsuko alone finds the courage to venture into the netherworld to find her sister’s wandering spirit.
Steel Rose — (1997) Publisher: Attempting to hone her style, a performance artist inadvertently calls upon the assistance of two gnomelike creatures. At first their advice is invaluable, but the situation quickly turns dangerous as she finds herself trapped between two conflicting, evil bands — the Sidhe and the faerie.
Crystal Sage — (1998) Publisher: When two housecleaners arrive at a client’s house, they are shocked to discover a strange guitar…one which actually speaks when strummed! It turns out to be their client, who is none too helpful in explaining her predicament. In their search for clues, the cleaning duo find that their client (now a guitar) had been performing bizarre musical experiments on her computer involving ancient Celtic manuscripts. What follows is an offbeat and humorous journey to locate the one man who can help restore their client’s humanity…but he isn’t so eager to do so!
The Heavenward Path — (1998) Publisher: Commanded by an angry ghost to fulfill a forgotten promise, Mitsuko quits her Buddhist temple and sets off on a series of impossible tasks. Desperate for help, she again turns to the ingenious shape-shifter Goranu, and together the two journey through a dangerous landscape of Japanese myths and legends made real. Yet the ghost’s demands are the least of Mitsuko’s problems. In return for his help, Goranu makes a demand of his own. And Mitsuko promises to fulfill his wish, even though to do so will mean Goranu’s death.
Genpei — (2000) Publisher: From 1155 to 1185, two rival clans, the Minamoto and the Taira, struggled for supremacy in Imperial Japan. During the war and for generations afterward, myths and legends evolved as to the gods and demons who supported the two clans. Some of these legends are written in the Tales of the Heike, which some scholars have called the Japanese Iliad.