I've got a good one for you today, one that had me rejoicing for originality! It is Drift by MK Hutchins, available from Tu Books.
When he was a young boy Tenjat, along with his sister and mother were forced to flee their home island, leaving their father and younger brother behind. They sailed on a makeshift raft through the oceans of Naga monsters to find a new island. Islands in Tenjat's world float on the backs of giant turtles.
Only Tenjat and his sister make it, and Tenjat sets out to make a poor, and humble life as a farmer. Now older, we encounter Tenjat wanting to be a warrior, not a husband (a hub is considered a shame and a burden on the turtle). He wins his way into training and at once learns about the strange and mysterious world that they call Hell. He learns to fight Naga's and more importantly, to support the tree that gives his island life.
But, another larger Turtle attacks, and with only a handful of warriors on his poor island, Tenjat must do whatever he can to win, even unburying long held family secrets.
Yes! I was so happy to read this book. I gobbled it down for it's originality and strangeness. First, you have the idea of floating turtles large enough to build cities and farming communities on, then you have tree's that support each island and allow movements within their roots and branches. The book is really broken into two different stories. The first is the surface story, understanding why Tenjat and his sister fled their original island, the story of Tenjat becoming a warrior, and their battle for survival. The underlying plot involves the reality of what Hell is, why the people are there and what the naga's are? I felt as if I were reading an old folk tale with vivid details.
The characters are well developed along with their social status on the turtle. Their are so many juicy details. You really just need to read this book. 5 Stars!