Whispers from the Depths

Fiction - Fantasy - General
295 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite

Betka had been branded at a young age, her markings visible for all to see. While men tore her elder sister, Tosna, away, she was allowed a precious few years to remain with her father before being forced into servitude. Her Whisperer Voice condemned her to a life of service, and to hurt another was to reflect and amplify the pain back onto herself. She was a captive in mind, body, and spirit, forced to sacrifice for all. Her only hope of freedom was to earn eleven rubies for her shackle. When news of an attack reached the palace, seeing an opportunity, she volunteered her services. Not only in the hope of a chance to be free, but the place under siege was the location where her sister had been sent to serve. But the path is never easy. The very person who condemned her to slavery is leading the mission, and worse still, the siege is of no normal force. A great and powerful evil has risen, and it seeks to claim everything in its never-ending fury.

Whispers from the Depths is an intense and gripping fantasy by C.W. Briar. From priests to slaves, we watch the fall of the Whisperers as the followers of Rask take their place in power. Whilst Betka's story occurs at a time beyond this, we are granted small insights into the path, added to the chapters in a similar manner to an intermission. All events from past to present unfold to knit together and become part of the greater picture. I thought the portray of Betka's character was brilliant. Her range and progression of emotions, forbidden thoughts, anger, and hatred as she steers from the course her gifts force her to follow was executed well, as was Asi's character, who in contrast embraced all the teachings offered with an unfaltering will to serve and protect. Betka's development is as deep as her character, and I loved watching how situations tempered her right until the end. Packed with action, conflict, and tension Whispers from the Depths will keep you engaged, enraged, and wanting more.

Debjani Ghosh

Only a chosen few, called Whisperers, are gifted with the Voice – the ability to tame the wild and dangerous water spirits. However, the once revered Whisperers are now an enslaved lot forced to serve under cruel kings and nobles. Their price of freedom is too high to pay. Betka, a novice Whisperer, can only dream of being free again and reunited with her family. A dangerous water spirit has attacked the castle where Betka’s sister is serving. She somehow joins the crew that has been assigned to protect the castle in hopes of finding her sister alive. However, upon reaching there, the spectacle of carnage that Betka and the crew witness make any chance of finding a survivor slim. They need to enter the castle; however, they are unaware that a savage foe awaits them inside. Can Betka save her sister? Will the other crew members perish too? Read Whispers from the Depths by C. W. Briar to find out.

Whispers from the Depths is a thoroughly engaging, dark fantasy novel. It packs a punch with fantastic world-building, rich imagery and a colorful ensemble of characters. I was surprised to find such an exhaustive explanation of the rich legacy of the Whisperers, their magic, their ways of working and their descent into slavery. Such succinct expositions are unseen in today’s fantasy novels. Further, Briar has vividly described the scenes of destruction in the castle. However, even more spectacularly described are the powers of the water spirits. These could rival the CGI effects of any fantasy film. Briar has also brilliantly developed his characters. He effortlessly shows Betka’s inner conflict – protecting her cruel captors versus hurting them. On the other hand, even the cruelest of the enslavers performs good deeds, making it hard to hate them. Whispers from the Depths turned out to be an enjoyable page-turner for me that conveys some powerful messages. Although it has a bittersweet ending, don’t let that deter you from picking it up. I would recommend this book to all adult fantasy fans due to the dark setting.

Kris Moger

Whispers From The Depths by C. W. Briar is the engaging story of a people torn to pieces by subjugation. In particular, it focuses on the journey of a young woman named Betka, a Whisperer - one born with the ability to communicate with the water spirits through the special use of their voice. Locked in the chains of slavery, she struggles to break free both physically and emotionally. As she holds onto the teachings of her father to keep her from using her skills against her captors, she must also face a new and bizarre danger that seems to have even the spirits of the water acting strangely.

I really enjoyed reading C. W. Briar’s Whispers From The Depths, though there were times when ‘enjoyed’ might not be the right word. Betka’s journey makes me think of two words; dramatic and raw. Briar portrays the despair and dreadfulness of her situation and the plight of her people with skillful writing. Not only is the story vivid in description, but it also engages the emotions and ties the reader to the characters via the heartstrings. While that may sound a little corny, or clichéd, there is nothing about Whispers From The Depths that is. I particularly like the unique use of magic and spirits, which shows a great deal of thought and talent in the author’s world-building abilities. Every aspect of this story kept me wanting to know more, which led to absorbing reading sessions where everything else got left behind (especially the dishes). I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, moving story well told.