In Sweetlings, the author depicts a world of survivors struggling to find some semblance of normal within their deplorable reality. Mir has recently lost her mother and younger brother, and is dealing with her increasingly unstable father who has an unsettling fascination with the creatures emerging from the depths of the ocean. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which nearly half of the world was submerged by oceans, Mir spends her days in her seaside home waiting for the next supply truck to roll around.
An excerpt from Tor.com,
The night before my mother walked into the New Sea carrying my six-week-old brother, I heard her and Papi arguing. Even with the wind screaming past our tiny squatter’s house on the cliff, the rage in her voice slashed through the thin wall.
“It’s not right! I’d rather smother the boy in his sleep than do this!”
“But you must,” Papi said. His voice was firm and deliberate, the way he sounded telling me to take a dose of foxglove to ward off Blister Rot or refusing Mama’s entreaties to leave this lonely, wind-battered place and take our chances inland. Kind, but unyielding. “The child is suffering. See how he struggles to breathe. I’d carry him into the water myself, but my legs are too weak…and I won’t ask Mir to do it.”
“Then don’t ask it of me!”
“It’s not in our hands, don’t you see? We’ve got to accept what this new world is becoming, not torment ourselves with what we’d like it to be.”
She battles against the desire to leave her home and her family – to move inward, away from the sea – but her sense of duty to her father binds her. Things come to a head when the expected supply truck does not arrive and Mir goes off in search of it with her friend Jersey, which leads to a series of events that reveal her long-hidden secret.
This story depicts a bleak reality; with an arresting protagonist and the world-building, it is a recommended read for fans of horror and post-apoctalyptic narratives.