A new world is emerging years after war destroyed society. In a Minnesota lake, the last surviving loons, direct descendants of the legendary First Pair, await the one who can help heal the earth. Each year a human sacrifice is brought to them to be endowed with special gifts, but they come at a terrible price.
Even as the rest of the world rebuilds, Grace Kriske's life is shattered. Unable to walk, she feels utterly dependent on her family and trapped in a community that disapproves of her rebellious ways. Grace's only solace is her lover, David Tvedt, a trader who wants to take her away with him - if she'd let him.
Yet something else calls to Grace - the loons. They haunt her dreams, lurking in her mind as if part of her deepest primal self. But when Grace is chosen as the new sacrifice, she's afraid. Will she risk everything to help the community that shuns her, or will she choose her own path?
I really enjoyed this story. There was so much going on despite the short length. It was nice to see a disabled protagonist whose disability is acknowledge, but she's not made less for it (at least by the author). She has a lover who wants to give her so much more, but she sees herself only as a broken thing that couldn't be the wife he needed. Her inability to walk has no bearing on his feelings for her, which was refreshing. She does the best she can and refuses help. While her family life isn't fleshed out, you still catch glimpses of the family they are. They have their troubles, but they love one another. Life is just hard in their post-war era. This story in a way is a myth, combining many ideas and thoughts about swan, other water myths, women being the center of creation, and what they mean. Due to the war that isn't fully explain (and that's not an issue), readers learn how the religious orders have changed and desperation for the world to be fixed have made them more accepting of what they once might've called heretical. Chris Dukeheart did an excellent job giving this story a dreamy, mythical tone, a very beautiful narration with a twist of dark. This was a beautifully weaved story whose brevity doesn't hurt it, but I wished it'd been longer.
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