The Water Thief by Jane Kindred
It takes a con to expose a con. But this con could strip their secrets bare.
Framed for his twin sister’s murder, Sebastian Swift has been kept drugged in a mental institution since age thirteen, aware of only one horrible fact—every night in his dreams, he drowns.
After a freak storm frees him, Sebastian learns the truth. His guardian, Emrys, has been siphoning off his inherited magical power over the waters of Cantre’r Gwaelod—one gruesome vial at a time. And the man’s bastard son, Macsen, has been raised in his place. Determined to find his twin’s killer, Sebastian assumes her identity.
Macsen Finch isn’t about to give up his guise as the young earl—and not just because of the fortune. His cousin’s return from the dead threatens Macsen’s own efforts to undermine his father’s evil plan. Yet he can’t deny his inexplicable attraction to the imposter.
Acting on their mutual desire puts them both at the mercy of a madman’s wrath. To stop Emrys from stealing his power, Sebastian will have to learn how to use it—and whom he can trust.
Warning: May contain copious exchange of fluids, men in corsets, and dirty dancing. Apply liberally before bedtime.
SOME SPOILERS BEWARE.
Dear Jane Kindred,
The blurb of your book sounded entertaining. It promised a plot full of action, fights against evil, magic, and romance. Oh, and revenge! And the cover was pretty. I was sold and I preordered two months ago. Unfortunately, very soon after I started reading, the only two thoughts I was having were by turns – what kind of nonsense is this? And please, somebody, make it stop now. I also want to apologize to readers of this review – the narrative kept throwing surprise after surprise after surprise at me, and I am not sure that I understood all of them or the reasons why they were needed in the first place. And when I say surprise, I do not mean a plot twist which made me gasp and think how clever the writer was. No, I mean the plot twist which makes one wonder where the minimum foreshadowing was, how the heck this twist works, and what would this mean for the bigger picture.
This takes place – somewhere? Magical Wales? Maybe?
A thirteen year old lord has been framed for his sister’s murder and committed to an asylum, and he drowns in his dreams every night. We get to see some of the torture they inflict on him in this asylum, and then there is a storm, he escapes, and he ends up in a house for misfits like himself. The guy in charge there takes a liking to him (I thought initially he kind of raped Sebastian, but then he goes out of his way to stress that he was willing so I am not sure anymore). Anyway, there is no doubt that their brief affair later on is consensual on both sides.
Have I mentioned that the apparition of Sebastian’s murdered sister August helped him out of the storm and led him to this house? Well, let me mention it now. According to August’s ghost, she came because Sebastian summoned her to help him. But why now? It took eight years for all the torture to finally get to him? This plot element is kind of explained later, but to me it was not a satisfactory explanation at all.
While Sebastian is recovering in the house he has an idea (partially the guy who saved him gave this idea to him) – hey, why not go to their evil cousin, dress up as August and try to recover their inheritance? This twenty one year old guy (I think he is 21 as the story starts), who looks like he is still thirteen because he is so malnourished and hurt and small in size, wants to dress up as his murdered sister to go and fight it out with their super evil cousin. And surprisingly they all think it is a good idea, so Sven (the guy who saved him) and couple of ladies decide to go with Sebastian as his doctor and his servants. I guess I should say her doctor and her servants.
They all come to Cantre’r Gwaelod and introduce “Lady August” to Cousin Emry and his son Masden, who has been playing the role of the lord of Cantre’r Gwaelod for years now. Dear Cousin Emry may not entirely believe that August (aka Sebastian) survived the murder with a memory loss which lasted for years, but he finds a way to continue torturing Sebastian, who pretends to be August, and while torturing continue taking his power from him. And Sebastian has no idea of what was happening. Madsen is okay with it because he feels the land should always have belonged to him. Why? I am not sure – I mean I get that he was illegitimate, but I was confused because I thought August and Sebastian had first rights on the title and inheritance anyway. As I mentioned before, this book confused me and *mightily*.
But wait. Madsen is forced to participate in taking Sebastian’s power away from him. He sees that this is indeed torture and he tells Sebastian that he is being drugged and tortured in his sleep. Sebastian obviously does not believe him but eventually the truth comes out. You’d think he would have done something at that point? Run away if he could not confront cousin dear yet? His sister’s “ghost” tells him to continue taking it until he gets a better grasp on his magic. At this point I once again started having visions of connecting my Kindle with the wall.
I am sorry, but there are plenty of nonsensical, eye-rolling plot twists to come. I will just say that at some point in this story our heroes get to visit “Higher Realms” – no I won’t tell you how they get there but I will tell you that I think (again, I could be wrong) that the Higher Realms are supposed to be our world. I could be wrong.
I did not even touch on the characters, because believe me, the plot alone warranted the grade. But I could not relate to most of their actions and found all of them to be one dimensional and boring.