Book Review: Sea Change

Book Review: Sea ChangeSea Change by S.M. Wheeler
Published by Tor Books on June 18th 2013
Pages: 304
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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 Changeis an exhilarating tale of adventure, resilience, and selflessness in the name of friendship.

Lilly is a strange child, caring more about her friend the kraken than her parents, who bicker constantly. The day her mother leaves, she knows that it will soon be time for her to leave as well. Her father never wanted a daughter, especially not one who has a birthmark on her face. When he remarries, she finds herself ready to leave, to be replaced by another child. What she wasn't expecting was for her friend to go missing, Octavius the kraken seems to have vanished, so Lilly sets out on a journey to find him.

And as in all quests, there are witches and bandits, magical being and creatures. Lilly soon finds herself becoming Lyle, in a gruesome trade with a witch, stealing her own womanhood and shaping her into a young man, yet lacking. I found this part disturbing and yet fitting to the start of what becomes a terror filled adventure. I'm not sure how I can describe this book. From Lilly's point of view I felt like everything was a bit unemotional at times. Lilly is nothing if not steadfast in her ways and throws caution aside at times despite her knowing better. 

I loved the old time, fairy tale feel to the whole thing, full of danger and also that pacing of writing where there is not an over amount of intricate detail, but enough to really pull you into the story. The characters, even the evil ones, had a baser nature to them, fulfilling a need by their devious ways and really becoming a bit unpredictable. Lilly seems to choose love over everything that she has been offered and makes more than one sacrifice to save her dear friend. 

Final Verdict: Not a light read, but there is an assurance throughout it in knowing it is a gruesome fairy tale, one that will transport you and keep you reading on. I will definitely be looking for more of Wheeler's books in the future.

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One response to “Book Review: Sea Change

  1. Enjoyed reading your review of this one! It's interesting you mentioned Lilly coming across a bit unemotional. I didn't think of it that way until you mentioned it, but I agree. It wasn't uncaring, just more like… on a mission? Or maybe she had walls and walls built up after being subject to her parents' lack of love toward her? 

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