Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Review: Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler

Title: Sea Change
Author: S.M. Wheeler
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A

Hardcover, 304 pages
Publication: June 18, 2013 by Tor Books

Source: Publicist for blog tour


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. 

SEA CHANGE is not your typical children’s’ fairytale.  Upon reading the synopsis for the book, I was expecting a much tame happy-ever-after type of book. Let me tell you, I was surprised to find out that SEA CHANGE is more The Brothers Grimm than sugar coated Disney. The story started out pretty simple, a girl name Lily is mistreated by her evil parents but finds happiness and comfort in her friend Octavius who happens to be a kraken (yes folks, the sea monster).  Octavius, Lily’s only friend and the person she most cares about in the entire world gets captured by a greedy circus master. In order to save Octavius, Lily must retrieve a magical coat that changes ones appearance.

Lily is one of the youngest and strongest characters I’ve ever read.  Lily is only sixteen (at the start of the book) and the thing she goes through in SEA CHANGE is something no teen should ever go through.  She loses the most important part of her that makes her a young woman, and then finds herself in servitude to a witch and a couple of vicious-dangerous bandits. Lily risks everything to save Octavius. Their friendship and loyalty to one another is beyond amazing because she goes further than the call of friendship responsibility. The obstacle that Lily faces not only changes her life, but also transforms her as a person…going from childhood to adulthood.

SEA CHANGE was definitely not my usual read; it was darker and more sinister than I expected. It is one part beautiful lyrical-poetic prose and another part weird and disturbingly detailed.  Sea Change is certainly written for a more mature/adult audience. I highly recommend SEA CHANGE to those looking for a different, multilayered fantasy that evokes intellectual-deep thinking. SEA CHANGE is not for the faint of heart or someone looking for an easy-light read. I am curious to see more of S.M. Wells work, and will be on the lookout for any book published by her in the future.  

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