Book Review: Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler

Title – Author: Sea Change – S.M. Wheeler
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Format – Source: e-ARC – Publisher via NetGalley

To get away from her troubled home, Lilly finds comfort in Octavius, an intelligent and kind kraken. Over the years their friendship deepens as they explore the land around Lilly’s home. When Octavius is captured and sold to a circus, Lilly makes a deal with a troll to find him…but it comes at a terrible price. To free Octavius, she must complete a series of tasks and deal with witches, magical tailors, and dangerous bandits.

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This book had a lot of potential. A friendship between a girl and a sea monster sounds awesome and heartwarming. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver and I put it down at 42%.

The sheer creativity of this story kept me reading as long as I did. I loved Octavius, the sea monster who cares so deeply for Lilly. The magic that Lilly encounters is unique and at times grotesque. There’s the troll who’s price is one’s gender, a witch with insatiable lust, a corpse tailor, and a witch without her skin. The shock factor made me think, what will this author throw at Lilly next?

The unique magic wasn’t enough to fully hold my attention, though. The writing is really confusing; the beginning was especially hard to get into because it was hard to grasp what was going on. The interactions between characters seem random and are hard to follow. Scenes end abruptly; when the next scene began, I was often confused.

I also felt really distant from Lilly. I couldn’t form a connection with her, and thus her quest to save her friend failed to elicit an emotional response. She read as very passive to me. Like when she makes a deal with a troll to locate Octavius, the troll takes something huge from her. Lilly barely even reacts. I would be freaking out if that happened to me, even if, like Lilly, I went into the deal knowing it would come at a steep price.

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Sea Change doesn’t lack in creativity, but it fails to provide any real emotion, causing me to put it down before finishing.

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DNF – not worth my time – Dolores Umbridge



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