If you’re reading this: HELP! I’ve been kidnapped.
Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren’t bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.
Now I’m a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won’t even say where we’re going.
I hate them.
And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.
My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.
And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.
Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.
If you buy here then more money goes to the author. Yay! But if you prefer to buy from online stores such as Amazon, Kobo, Nook or Apple then that’s cool too: here are links to the book on those sites (including print versions where available).
"5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge.
I love the Lost Solace series, and this is my favourite of all the novellas. Written in the voice of ten-year-old Clarissa, it fills in some of the background of Opal’s story.
I enjoy Karl Drinkwater’s books, he has that enviable talent of being able to take on the voice of any protagonist in a truly believable way, and this is shown in Clarissa’s story. It isn’t easy to give each book a unique narrative, yet he does it in a way that hooks you into the story and leaves you wanting more at the end.
I look forward to reading more of this series, I’m intrigued to see where the author will take us next!"
— Pink Quill Books
"The series is amazing science fiction with fantastic world building. I haven’t read much science fiction but I do love sci-fi when it’s good, and man this series is good!
This novella goes back in time and follows the story of ten year old Clarissa. I love when a young protagonist grows into a strong courageous character. I really love the descriptions and world building in this story. I was really able to dive in and immerse myself in the reading, and it made me want more books from the author. From a novella, you don’t always expect to dig too deep into the story and sometimes you are left wanting more descriptions and more world building but that’s not the case for this story.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!"
"It is a fast-paced unique science fiction short story told by Clarissa, a brave and gifted ten-year-old with a big imagination. As usual, Drinkwater’s world-building is incredible and keeps you on the edge of your seat as a trip on a starship turns out to be a life and death situation.
If you enjoy engaging characters in a fantastic otherworldly setting, give this book a try."
— The Eclectic Review
"As short stories, each of the Lost Tales of Solace books have been really easy to pick up. Clarissa is no exception. I managed to read this in no more than two sittings. It is the perfect length to be able to enjoy a full narrative, but not too long either.
The thing I loved the most about Clarissa is that it is written from the perspective of a 10-year-old child. Children’s perspectives are very under-represented in literature. I think there is a misconception that a narrative from a child’s perspective won’t be detailed or comprehensive enough, but children are very clever. They may not understand the subtleties of some of the things going on around them, but as adults, we can still interpret that from the clues left by the author. Clarissa in particular is very clever, so the telling of her story in the universe, and the strange goings on, does not leave us readers left wanting.
Fun, approachable and a pleasure to read, Clarissa is a fantastic way of delving into science-fiction for anyone of any age. The story is engaging whilst fitting into the wider Lost Tales of Solace narrative. I think I’ve made it abundantly clear, I really enjoyed reading this short story and I hope I can convince you to pick it up for yourself!"
"I am always incredibly excited to read anything new by Karl Drinkwater (I really should share a photo of my Karl Drinkwater book shelf!) and that wasn't any different this time. I'm completely invested in anything Lost Solace too, it's definitely one of my favourite Sci Fi worlds.
Never underestimate just how much world building and character development that Karl Drinkwater can fit in a novella. Even though Clarissa is just over 100 pages long, I was so absorbed and felt like I learned so much without it being an info dump.
I really feel like Clarissa is a really believable ten year old girl, I definitely related the way she thought at times to how I was back then (I know that was a while ago). She's so strong and observant, but considering who her sister is I'm not surprised. She's easily become one of my favourite characters in this series.
In Clarissa you can definitely tell that Karl Drinkwater writes horror and I think the combination of the genres is perfect. They really compliment each other. I love how he knows when to bring it in for maximum effect.
As always I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and I always want more. I gave this book 5 stars and will continue to recommend this series to everyone!!"
— Life Of A Nerdish Mum
"I absolutely loved this novella. Clarissa feels 10. I love her thoughts and the way her mind works. She feels real and her responses to things were very accurate for her age.
As a big fan of the Lost Solace series, I love these back story novellas that make up the Lost Tales of Solace. They add so much depth to a series I already loved. I recommend reading everything in order, so you can get the full brilliancy of this author and his writing.
Highly recommended! Rating: 5/5☆"
— Jessica Belmont
"What begins as a story that seems to be one of a young girl being kidnapped and separated from her sister, soon wanders into an entirely different realm of fear and uncertainty. Clarissa doesn’t know why she has been kidnapped and her two guards play good cop and bad cop, but she knows enough not to let them know certain things. Like the fact she can see things they can’t or what they perceive to be innocent objects are actually a way to facilitate communication. They clearly can’t see what is coming straight at them – but Clarissa can.
It’s speculative science-fiction that really does veer off into worlds, scenarios and experiences previously unknown. The melding of genres, possible storylines, of science, space, travel and the unknown, then pushing the boundaries to see where it takes both the readers and the author – trademark Drinkwater.
The result is an individual experience each time. As if the challenge were to envision and give the reader a different perspective. Not of the same scenarios or the characters, but of the speculative nature of the unknown. Definitely a series I would recommend, perhaps more so because you just never know where the story will take you each time. It’s creative and visionary."
— Cheryl M-M's Book Blog
"This is the 3rd book in the Lost Tales of Solace series. It was absolutely brilliantly written. The way it is written and described really draws you into it ands gets you lost in it. I didn't want the book to end!
This is a great sci-fi read that it is very believable that the narrator of the book is a ten year old girl, it is pretty much exactly how a 10year old is, chattering away, her mind going on tangents. Very masterfully written, you can close your eyes and imagine this happening, imagine Clarissa and imagine her waiting for her big sister to come rescue her, the relationship between them is a really nice one to read about, the bond between them.
I can't wait to read more in this series and keep exploring the world the author has created.
— Snowphiethebookworm (Goodreads)
"This novella provides a great background for just why Opal is searching for her sister in the earlier novels.
It is a definitely different science fiction story as the events are related by ten year old Clarissa who is taken away from her home and her sister, Opal, by government agents. Travelling on a space ship should be relatively uneventful but this journey is anything but and Clarissa sees that more than anyone else . . . .
I was impressed with how the author made readers feel like they were hearing everything from Clarissa – sharing a child’s point of view is something of a skill in itself that he proved adept at in such an engaging manner. Clarissa shares her current experiences and what happened to her and her sister before they were torn apart.
Again the world building is fantastic, you can easily visualise just what Clarissa is seeing and empathise with her, too. It is an action packed read that keeps you on the edge of your seat."
"I really enjoyed how vivid and strong imagery was in Clarissa. All feelings bubbled strongly in our main character, and she’s been focusing on details, almost like trying to distract herself from the awful and stressful situation she was in. But those vivid and strong descriptions made this novella feel more real and the danger more immediate. I think that was my favourite aspect of this short story."
— Alicja Writes
"I was immediately gripped by the writing style.
Clarissa seems wise beyond her years and is very smart. She’s open and chatty as well as curious.
I really felt for her in the quest to find her sister, Opal, and the memories Clarissa has of being with Opal are peppered throughout the story which made me get to know the backstory of the sisters.
I thought Clarissa was brave, too, to be trying to cope as best she could in the situation she was in.
The first two lines of the synopsis gripped my heartstrings and did not let go.
The fact they were split up by Government agents reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha in a way.
The atmosphere of the spaceship and Clarissa’s descriptions of her surroundings are incredibly visual.
I think Karl Drinkwater did a really great job of writing Clarissa’s character and point of view. That made Clarissa’s story utterly engaging to me.
— Just Katherine
"I thought I would find answers about Clarissa in this lost tales of Solace but I’m more intrigued than ever …
Having her narrate really works. She’s a complex 10 year old whose thought processes and understanding is way years ahead. But she’s also a child at that stage of development. She’s spot on about the way that adults view the world. And she has some interesting concepts. I loved her character, finding out about her hopes and dreams was quite poignant!
It’s clear straight away that there’s something special about her. Not only the way her mind works but what she’s capable of and the potential she could grow into!
From the moment the alarm sounds I was tense and on edge. What follows left me in awe of Karl Drinkwater’s creativity. He always blows my mind!
I had an ‘aha’ moment when I realised that I was thinking from a human perspective and not a native (thanks to Clarissa). Very clever. It changed how I thought.
This lost tale of Solace has left me wanting more. More Clarissa, more Gloria, more ‘alien’ intelligence and to know more about the planet. Oh, and what happens between then and the end of Chasing Solace…
Another awesome tale from Karl Drinkwater."
— Jera's Jamboree
"What an enjoyable ride this book was! Action, mystery and a sassy main character which is everything I want in a sci-fi story.
Clarissa was such a well-done character. I could almost hear her voice in my mind as I was reading the story. It’s always difficult for adults to portray a convincing child, but Karl Drinkwater does so well with Clarissa. She’s a bit of an old soul, at the age of ten she is smart but also at the same time still has that naivete of children her age. Through the story she’s always coming up with imaginative descriptions and saying, one of my favourite was ‘shoes are foot prisons’ and I completely agree.
Clarissa is a short but action packed novella that had me gripped from beginning to end."
— On The Shelf Reviews
"The novella is really good, and I enjoyed finding out more about Clarissa and Opal, their history and relationship. The escape from the Solace was thrilling to read and very descriptive. I liked the characterisation of Clarissa and her escorts, especially the sensory details of Clarissa’s experience. The description of socks and shoes as ‘foot prisons’ is brilliant, and very accurate.
If you’ve read any of the other Lost Solace stories, you must read this one. If you’ve never encountered the universe, this is a good one to start with."
— Rosie Writes
"Drinkwater is very good at imagining what an “other” consciousness might be like. So many sci-fi writers are unwilling to truly let go of human reactions and responses. I love Star Trek, but most of the aliens there not only look human, they act human. It’s fair to respond that we simply cannot know how a different consciousness would respond; we are, after all, only familiar with one species. But Drinkwater does as good a job as anyone trying to let go and consider how an AI might react differently than a human–with the understanding that since an AI was created by humans there would likely be overlap and correspondence.
The alternate consciousness in this book is not AI, which is (so far) unique in this series, but it is no less different. That is one of the delights of Drinkwater’s writing. The other, also unexpected, delight is the voice of the protagonist. Clarissa tells her own story. As a little girl with underdeveloped social skills, sometimes that voice is whiny and preoccupied, sometimes that voice is preternaturally mature and wise, sometimes that voice is pouty and angry. I do not think that Drinkwater has ever been a little girl, nor am I aware of him being a person of color in a very biased society. I could be wrong, and I’m not judging. Assuming I am right, though, he does a very good job finding that voice and telling Clarissa’s story through it.
Clarissa explores themes of “otherness” in a number of ways. A little girl in a world of adults. A person of color in a very “white” society. A prodigy with poor social skills. An orphan without means in a universe dominated by a corporation. An alien species making contact. Drinkwater reminds us that otherness brings both dangers and opportunities."
"This reliably excellent series tells separate stories which are linked but which can be read in any order or as standalones.
It's a real treat to finally meet Opal's little sister but new readers needn't be concerned as starting here just means you're beginning the story at a different place. Set thirteen years before the events in Lost Solace, Karl Drinkwater answers a few questions here - but cunningly asks even more!
Written in the first-person from Clarissa's perspective, her voice is captured perfectly. She's clearly a rather garrulous child but she has a rich inner life too. I loved how she conducts outward conversations which would convince anybody that she is a regular ten-year-old - albeit one recently raised in a slightly haphazard way by her sister - while her simultaneous internal dialogue reveals a hugely intelligent, resourceful child who has clearly learned well from Opal.
There are striking similarities between Opal and Clarissa, both are thrust into highly dangerous situations and both react with courage and quick-wittedness. Opal doesn't directly feature in the story but Clarissa's recollections of her give us a rather heartwarming further insight into the type of person she was prior to all this, particularly as she chose to name the AI in Lost Solace after her little sister. The comparisons between the two don't end there and this novella captures the horror story feel of the first novel as Clarissa and Gloria are forced to try to escape from a sinister unknown foe on board a floundering, darkened space ship. As they desperately try to escape, the sense that this will eventually lead to Opal's terrifying tribulations in the future is intriguing and poignant, especially given it's here that we discover what happened to Solace.
As always the world-building is first-rate; unlike the previous novellas, there aren't any excerpts from treatises or documents here but there are authentic looking little drawings which I could well believe were created by Clarissa. Her description and use of RearroBlox Cubes is particularly interesting and are a fascinating addition to this richly imagined world.
The chilling ending left me wanting more; I look forward to reading the next puzzle piece in this superb series. Clarissa is another fantastic addition to the Solace world and I continue to whole-heartedly recommend this cracking series to anybody who enjoys exceptional science fiction."
— Hair Past A Freckle
"This has to be my favourite Lost Solace short story! Told from the entirely believable POV of a young girl, the author has made her dystopian universe completely authentic.
Clarissa is the latest in a long line of plucky hero/ines, raised in adversity yet somehow full of character and zest battling oppressive adults, forming alliances with aliens and AI and encountering a sympathetic mother figure who also sports enhanced robotic strength.
Eerily prescient, the author foregrounds our increasing reliance on AI while also speaking to our present-day isolation and desire for connection with others (whether human or AI). Terrific stuff - exciting and alarming in equal measure, this is just begging to be made for the screen. Will someone please offer Drinkwater an option?"
— Lock And Load, Brides Of Christ
"I am delighted to be able to say that I think Clarissa is now my favourite of the three Lost Tales of Solace companion novellas. It's not an easy task for an adult author to convincingly write from a child's point of view, but I felt Drinkwater captured Clarissa's personality perfectly. Having already read the brilliant full length novel Chasing Solace, which takes place later in this world's timeline, I was fascinated to effectively jump back to the beginning of that story here knowing, up to a point, what the outcome of Clarissa's abduction will be.
I can imagine that spending a significant amount of real-world time with Clarissa could be exhausting. She's smart and determined, and an outspoken chatterbox. However, as the protagonist of her own adventure, she's a wonderful character to travel with. I loved drawing conclusions to fill in the gaps around information that her ten-year-old mind doesn't have, and was thoroughly entertained by the way she views each of the adults around her. I really hope I get to meet up with Clarissa again!"
— Literary Flits / (Alternate)
"I feel really engaged in this universe having been an active reader since the first book. It's sci-fi horror at its best and really helps flesh out Opal's character and motivations even though she's never in this novel.
Clarissa is a great character, vulnerable but with some of the steel we found with Opal. It's very tense knowing that, unlike Opal, Clarissa had no means to defend herself against the horror that awaits.
I really enjoy how Karl likes to mix up the books in the saga. I'm never sure what I'm going to read but I always know I'm going to enjoy it. If you liked Lost Solace then this is a must read to understand Opal better. I find it difficult to wait for Karl to write the main books but the novellas are nice and refreshing.
My favourite part of Karl's books are that even antagonists get redemption to some level and I constantly have to re-evaluate my expectations of them. It was the same after reading Grubane, I felt like I'd somehow misjudged the main character after his entry into Lost Solace."
— Ally Rowan (Goodreads)
"These novellas have been quite the treat. Each one completely different in approach. This is a story of a 10 year old girl's adventure when forcibly taken from her big sister by some government agents.
It's written in the first person, so it makes it very intimate. The non-stop chatterbox and strange tangents that she pursues both verbally and in her mind are so perfect for a girl that age."
— KHB (Goodreads)
Book 3 in the Lost Tales Of Solace series