ORMESHADOW by Priya Sharma (Book Review)
I’ve heard wonderful things about Priya Sharma, but this is the first time I’ve read any of her work. Ormeshadow is the story of Gideon Belman and his family. Uprooted from Bath by some inappropriate incident involving his father’s employer, Gideon is transported to the family farm at Ormeshadow, home to the Belman family for generations. The farm is jointly owned by Gideon’s kind and scholarly father, John, and his brutish and bitter uncle, Thomas.
Trapped in a home where he is largely unwanted, Gideon finds solace on the land, beneath which a dragon sleeps, according to stories that his father told him. The Orme settled in the sea to sleep after a dragon battle that killed her family, spouse and son. She has been sleeping ever since, guarded by the Belman family for generations.
This novella is beautifully written, atmospheric and moving. I love the subtlety of it, the way that Sharma has half-hidden conversations, glances and sighs telling the story to the reader over the top of Gideon’s head at times. The characters are distinct and clear, drawn with the same subtlety with which the plot unfolds. Gideon is sympathetic, if a little flawed. A scholarly young boy cast adrift in a world that is not his, with a family that do not particularly want him. I found myself becoming angry with the adults in the story for the pain that they caused, seemingly without regard for others.
A lush, well-written and heart-breaking story, Ormeshadow is a must-read. And don’t stop there – read whatever Priya Sharma publishes. Someone this good will always delight.
ORMESHADOW will be released on October 15th 2019 by Tor.com publishing. You can pre-order it here.