The Drowning Eyes - Emily Foster

I'm starting to wonder if I have a bit of a problem with novellas, in that many of them feel like they're not actually stand-alone stories but are part of a bigger whole that doesn't (ought to?) exist. The Drowning Eyes is a case in point for this, although I had some other problems with it too.

 

The basic premise of the universe in which this story is set is that certain people have the ability to be Windspeakers and control the weather, though this is understandably a power that can be easily abused. As a result, the way it is controlled by the system is the literal removal of the person's eyes and replacement with a set of stones which allow them to be more 'balanced' and also to be more powerful, as they can connect with others who have a similar power. This power is used not just to move ships about but also as a way of controlling the wider community, as punishment. We also discover that those who've been brought up to understand their powers from childhood basically accept this procedure as part of being a Windspeaker.

 

Of our main characters, Shina is a Windspeaker whose temple has been overrun before the procedure could take place and whose powerful icon was stolen. She is, she believes, the only survivor of the attack on the island and hires a ship to take her to another temple where she hopes for guidance on what to do next. Her control of the weather plays an important part in the story, firstly to get her where she needs to go and secondly, to get revenge on those who killed her fellow Windspeakers. 

 

All well and good until suddenly, two-thirds of the way through the narrative, the story cuts off and jumps forward in time. Maybe I missed it, but there doesn't seem to be any mention of whether or not Shina managed to get the icon back, when the last we saw of her was her literally throwing herself into the harbour in search of it. Likewise the ending is a bit unclear and leaves the entirety of <I>The Drowning Eyes</i> feeling for me as though it's parts of a larger novel rather than a complete story in and of itself. The writer clearly has the talent to produce something worth reading but this format leaves me wanting more than just the rest of the story.