on August 14th 2020
Who is Last?
Fame is rare in Driftwood- it’s hard to get famous if you don’t stick around long enough for people to know you. But many know the guide, Last, a one-blooded survivor who has seen his world end many lifetimes ago. For Driftwood is a strange place of slow apocalypses, where continents eventually crumble into mere neighborhoods, pulled inexorably towards the center in the Crush. Cultures clash, countries fall, and everything eventually disintegrates.
Within the Shreds, a rumor goes around that Last has died. Drifters come together to commemorate him. But who really was Last?
Driftwood is the invention of bestselling author Marie Brennan. Mirroring the world that many people are currently living in, the Driftwood stories chronicle the struggles of survivors and outcasts to keep their worlds alive until everything changes, diminishes, and is destroyed. Driftwood is the first full-length novel in this world.
Driftwood by Marie Brennan is a bit of an odd book. The world of Driftwood is fragmented, remnants of different worlds. It’s a place where lands go when they die. And if people are unlucky enough to be present when the land dies, they’ll get transported too. The story itself is fragmented too, but with a common thread: The guide Last. He appears in every story but is never really the main character. He’s the reason why many of the storytellers are able to share their stories though. Without them, they would’ve been lost forever.
I listened to this on audiobook while doing other things and that might have been my mistake. Because the stories are all interconnected but not linear, I’m afraid I might have missed certain things because my mind was distracted for a second. That didn’t impact my enjoyment though. The author has a beautiful writing style and the world of Driftwood felt real and fringe. You never knew what to expect when a character opened a door or turned a corner. You learn so much about a character and their part of Driftwood with so few words.
Having only read the first Lady Trent book, and now this one, I’m really looking forward to reading more of Brennan’s books. I really enjoyed Driftwood and would recommend it to others. While it’s technically not a short story collection, I do think people who enjoy shorter stories, and such collections will like this book more than people who are used to longer 100k-word epic fantasies. Driftwood feels like a perfect pallet cleanser after a heavy meal. I wouldn’t say it’s a cosy fantasy but it’s leaning close to it.