Year 200, Atlantic Federation Calendar. It has been two full centuries since the surface of the Earth was destroyed and humanity retreated to the bottom of the ocean. No one is old enough to remember the world outside the station they now call home. Life is peaceful in this artificial world. There is no war. Crime is low. But questions are raised once an experimental submarine is attacked during a routine test mission. The enemy is unknown. There are no leads. For the first time in generations, a long isolated city will have to confront what may lurk above the surface.
"With the scope of Game of Thrones, and the feel of Asimov, it’s destined to become your new SciFi addiction." - Readcommendations
Iris is the first book in the Color of Water and Sky series by Andrew Gates.
Iris is a character-driven story that takes place entirely in the depths of the ocean. The last of mankind fled to the bottom of the sea after the land became too toxic for human survival. It begins with an explorative expedition with two navy personnel, charged with the task of testing out a new submarine, and I have to confess to being drawn into Iris midway through this first chapter.
Reading on, I found the pacing in the next few chapters rather slow, and very nearly put the book in my DNF (did not finish) folder. A good friend of mine loved this book though, so I persevered, skipping through the parts that I didn’t think really added anything to the story (mainly backstory and excess exposition, plus one whole chapter that could quite easily have been cut out with no detriment to the worldbuilding or characterisation). But, I’m glad I stuck with Iris because it really is a very good story.
It’s multi-pov, providing different perspectives and experiences of the people living in the underground habitat. Iris, of course, is the main pov character, and through her, our eyes are opened to the society around her (and the others). In many ways, there is little difference to the kind of society we know, but being underwater requires a more totalitarian style government. What may come across as necessary rules to some, is seen as oppression by others. As events unfold, and discoveries are made, it challenges everything these characters think they might know about their past, present. and potential future.
Iris is a page turner (once I was past the earlier chapters) and I honestly had a hard time putting it down in the latter part of the book and right up to the end. There are plenty of twists and turns and surprises, and I, for one, am looking forward to reading the second book in this series: Kholvaria