In Seaborn, Chris Howard explores a new dimension of urban fantasy. Rather than keeping to the city as the genre would imply, Howard delves into an undersea world. Seaborn weaves the tales of Kassandra, an exiled Seaborn royal desiring revenge while trying to free herself from her ancestry, Corina, a college student struggling to survive a Seaborn sorcerer’s possession, and Aleximor, the sorcerer working to possess Corina in order to enact revenge on Seaborn’s royalty. It is no surprise, then, that their worlds would collide, integrating pursuits of revenge, multiple fronts of war, and power struggles while splitting time on shore and under the water. Of the three narrators, Seaborn focuses on the heroines Lady Kassandra and Corina and their efforts to (re)gain control of their own lives.
Chris Howard’s first installation of this epic fantasy takes fantasy readers in a new direction. His passages are densely packed with detail and each chapter reads smoothly. His characters appeal to all readers, whether they are familiar with the genre or not. In particular, despite her inhuman characteristics, Kassandra is every bit as real as Corina, the Californian student whose main preoccupation until her possession was her latest break-up. My main complaint with this novel was the amount of names. With so many, Howard should have more gradually introduced each character, to make understanding the complex history an easier task for the reader. I would strongly suggest that fantasy lovers who are tired of vampire novels check this book out. One warning, though: the novel is quite graphic, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a weak stomach. 7 out of 10.