In the spirit of the Inklings
Troubled Waters was nominated for a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. Now if you're like me you're sitting there reading this and thinking what the heck is that. The answer? The award is bestowed by the Mythopoeic Society each year. Clear as dirt? Here's what the Society says about itself:
"The Mythopoeic Society is a national/international organization promoting the study, discussion, and enjoyment of fantastic and mythopoeic literature through books and periodicals, annual conferences, discussion groups, awards, and more. We are especially interested in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams, prominent members of the informal Oxford literary circle known as the “Inklings” (1930s-1950s)."
And here's how they describe the award:
"[It] is given to the fantasy novel, multi-volume novel, or single-author story collection for adults published during the previous year that best exemplifies “the spirit of the Inklings”...We define this as literature that creates a new and transformative mythology, or incorporates and transforms existing mythological material."
Who knew? Having read the description I do think Shinn's book is a worthy contender.
Zoe Ardelay's world has just been upended by the death of her beloved father. Before she has a moment to think about what to make of her life now, Darien Serlast arrives in her village. He informs her that she's been chosen to be wife number five to the King. Because Zoe is still in shock and without an idea of what to do next, she agrees to accompany Darien to the capitol. Initially, still sunk in her grief, she gives little thought to why she was chosen. But as their journey continues, Zoe begins to ask herself the question. Why her? And does she even want this? By the time they reach journey's end, Zoe has made her decision - one that will have an impact not only on her life, but those of her entire nation.
Shinn's worldbuilding and mythology is fully formed from beginning to end. From the introduction of her protagonist to the last page each detail of plot and world seems to have been carefully considered before Shinn set pen to paper (or hands to keyboard). Magic, spirituality and technology serve as a backdrop for court intrigue, personal conflict and a budding romance - and it all works. No question it fits the "spirit of the Inklings".