Top positive review
A fast punch to the brain-pan and another roller-coaster loop
Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2019
Another fast, almost too short installment in the stories of Cameron O'Connell's Phantom Queens, Sea Breeze is Quinn Mackenna's eighth foray into the madness of the Templeverse, and while evident change is in the making, breezy does seem to be the word to apply to this installment.
The quality is still at its peak, the tone of O'Connell's writing and how it ebbs and flows with the qualities of Silvers' crafted universe still works to the favor of the plot and characters well. Quinn Mackenna has been forced onto the sidelines to await an opportunity for the next phase of her journeying to begin, and when it does it throws her headlong into a number of terribly heavy, complex choices with longstanding consequences to them. Tackling them out of necessity also pushes Quinn to reflect on the greater backdrop of her life and the choices she'd made to get to the current point, realizing in many ways how she has changed and grown from who and how she used to be. Much of the baggage that once defined a significant portion of her character has crumbled away or become so distant and different from who she is in the present that it feels almost like someone else's life, and she doesn't lie to herself about realizing it.
The plot at hand is almost cozily tucked away from the greater drama going on in the Templeverse, but not to the extent that its meaningless to it all, far from it if the implications are correct. Old choices and older events rear their head in strange ways, and with a few classic Templeverse twists and turns in the mix, things are on course to throw a few more revelations and hard choices Quinn's way.
The only issue is again, how quick an installment it is, coming in and leaving right like a proper breeze. It seems more prelude to the actual journey rather than the first few actual steps of it, and while the introspective growth of Quinn is a great narrative focus and her interactions with the other characters do a lot to give them some development with eachother, it does leave one feeling a bit like they went into a full course meal and it stopped just past the appetizer.
A separate and somewhat baffling note is what may or may not be a editorial/narrative oversight, or possibly even authorial retcon, its hard to say, but there's a focus on a particularly important plot point that seems to now be the exact opposite of how it was originally described, changing the entire context of it and the situation at hand in the current story. The details were initially given back in the fourth installment, Dark and Stormy, and going back to reread the portion in question just validated my sense of confusion over it. I'm not sure if this is something that needs adjustment, but as it stands now it reads genuinely strange enough that it threw me right out of the story to go and check if I wasn't going crazy or not.
Overall the rest of the story though keeps to the feel of Quinn's development, and the breadth of it aside, it does hit on some good events and character moments as usual. And as usual I look forward to seeing what comes next.