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I Belong

Review: Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler

Title: Sea Change

Author: S.M. Wheeler

Genre: YA Fantasy


Publication DateJune 18, 2013

FormatHardcover, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0765333147 (Tor/Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0765333148 (Tor/Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Bridget


The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form of the eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius’s many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a circus, Lilly becomes his only hope for salvation. Desperate to find him, she strikes a bargain with a witch that carries a shocking price.

Her journey to win Octavius’s freedom is difficult. The circus master wants a Coat of Illusions; the Coat tailor wants her undead husband back from a witch; the witch wants her skin back from two bandits; the bandits just want some company, but they might kill her first. Lilly’s quest tests her resolve, tries her patience, and leaves her transformed in every way.

A powerfully written debut from a young fantasy author, Sea Change is an exhilarating tale of adventure, resilience, and selflessness in the name of friendship.

Quick & Dirty: This had a refreshing new idea, but the writing style was confusing and the story was just too slow paced for me.

Opening SentenceAcid flowed at the table more often than wine and had long since ceased to cause Lilly alarm; her attention remained on the soup even as Father asked, “Does the thought of me still pain your head, love?”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

Lilly is the daughter of a very rich merchant, and has been spoiled her whole life.  Her mother is a very beautiful woman and unfortunately Lilly did not inherit her mother’s beauty.  She has always been more plain and different.  As a child she was very lonely and she sought comfort from the sea, where she happened to meet her best friend, Octavius.  Octavius is a baby kraken. When Lilly meets him they grow up together experiencing much together.  As they grow older it is hard for them to spend as much time together since Octavius has gotten so big that he has to travel out into the ocean for weeks at a time to find food, but he always comes back to Lilly.  Then one time he doesn’t and it turns out he has been captured and Lilly will do anything to save her best friend.  She goes on a wild adventure that takes her places she never imagined she would go and she does things she never thought she was capable of.

We get to see the story through Lilly’s eyes and she was an ok character for me.  She is a shy girl that always does as she is told, but as she grows she develops a subtle strongness that I really liked.  She is very loyal and keeps going even though things get hard at times. She grows significantly throughout the book, which I like, I just wish I could have liked her more through the whole book.  My biggest problem was that she’s really not very memorable, there was nothing about her that made me really want to get to know her better.  I wanted to like her more but I just couldn’t bring myself to care about her like I should have.

This book was just an okay read for me.  The writing style is very different and really took some getting used to.  Once I adjusted, I liked the style of writing, but it was also really confusing sometimes.  There were moments where I would be reading a page and I would have no idea what the people were talking about, eventually it would make sense but I had to read it two or three times before it did. Another thing was that it took forever for anything significant to happen in the story so I had a really hard time getting through it.  I did enjoy the setting and some of the characters, but overall this was just an okay read.  Now that being said, I am sure there will be plenty of people who really enjoy this book, so if the synopsis sounds good give it a try.

Notable Scene:

The ocean wore a pungent cologne on summer days as hot as this, but Lilly would have tolerated a rotted sardine hung around her throat for the sake of the sunlight on her skin and a breeze to brush away sweat. On a scraggy- limbed bush she hung her shoes and broad- brimmed hat and hiked her skirt to knee- height with the use of a belt.

At their beach, Octavius greeted her by thrusting a much- rusted device towards her, something alike to the inner gears of a watch, though so sorely degraded that she found it di?cult to discern one piece from another. “I found it on a ship,” he said, “and I cannot understand what it is.”

“It seems . . .” She turned it over in her hand, careful of a sharp- edged barnacle that clung to the back. “Something like a clock, perhaps?”

“You do not know?” He curled a tentacle around her wrist, delicately retrieving the thing. “Why, I will have to return it. A human thing at the bottom of the sea is free to whoever takes it up, but it must be the product of a di?erent animal— one who, perhaps, meant to return to it.”

“You are not a very discerning thief to have chosen this of all sunken treasures,” she teased, touching the ridge of his brow; she no longer had to bend to do so. “I fear I am losing my function as your guide through the human world. Where you bring to me sights, I can only tell stories.”

“But what stories they are. You approached with an expression that said you have found another worth telling.” He swept a rock free of sea wrack and gestured grandly for her to sit.

FTC Advisory: Tor/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Sea Change. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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