THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY was not the first book I’ve read by John Horner Jacobs, but it’s been a while since I read SOUTHERN GODS and I honestly forgot how much I loved the way Jacobs writes. The writing and imagery in this book is incredible, at times beautiful and vivid at other times bloody and intense but at all times perfect.
The story takes you on the journey of Isabel who has fled her home country for Spain where she lives and works. While in Spain she befriends a man known at that time only as ‘The Eye,’ at first, she doesn’t know the identity of the mysterious man, but as their relationship grows, she finds out that he is a famous poet from the same country she once fled. When the Eye leaves Spain to return to his and Isabel’s home country, Isabel watches the Eye’s apartment and when she does she becomes drawn into his past through some of his writings. After learning more about the Eye, Isabel realizes that she must leave her job and her life in Spain and return to her homeland to help the Eye. From there, she gets wrapped up in the same dangerous activities and tries to uncover the same secrets that drew the Eye back to the same land.
More often than not, the one literary device that usually doesn’t work for me is the story within a story technique. It is something I always avoid in my own writing and it’s often something that turns me off to a book. (Although John Langan pulled it off superbly in the THE FISHERMAN and I’d recommend that book in a heartbeat, strong 5/5 from me on that one.) Jacobs does the story within a story in this book even better than Langan. When Isabel reads through the writings of the Eye you feel as though you are right there with her, reading about the life of the Eye before he was forced to hide out in Spain. Before he got the name the Eye. The back and forth in the story between Isabel’s story and the Eye’s story has the perfect balance of present and past weaving them into a single story that makes sense and continues to pull the reader through and get them invested in both at the same time.
Once Isabel finishes reading about the Eye’s past and realizes she has to return, even knowing how dangerous it will be for her to return to the dictator-led South American country, the story picks up pace. It is less about the past and more about what will happen to the two main characters as they move forward. The action picks up and doesn’t really stop until the end.
The action and interesting parts of this story start rather quickly, so it’s hard to call it a ‘slow-burn’ horror story but it picks up so much at the end and builds to that ultimate crescendo like a slow burn novel would.
Jacobs did a fanatic job creating great characters in this. It’s a quick read and fun and well worth the time. Go pick it up.
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