Author: A.M. Dellamonica
Publisher: Tor Books
Publish Date: June 24th, 2014
“One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.
The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.
Sophie doesn't know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered… her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.
But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don't know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world . . . or is doomed to exile.”
Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica is an adult fantasy set in both the fantasy world of Stormwrack and modern day San Francisco. Sophie, the main character, is a twenty four year old videographer who suddenly—mysteriously—finds herself in a place that may or may not be earth with a long lost aunt who wants nothing to do with her. I don't usually read adult fantasy, but this one caught my eye and I'm so glad it did. Child of a Hidden Sea was an amazing fantasy filled with pirates, tall ships, and magic. And I couldn't get enough!
I was worried at first that I might not enjoy Child of a Hidden Sea as much as I wanted to. I liked the first chapter, and it left me dying to know more, but things seemed to happen fast and there wasn't much description to the action scenes. There was plenty of world building, but I felt there wasn't a lot of time to get to know the characters. Thankfully that changed pretty quickly and the story took off.
Sophie didn't have much personality at first despite being insatiably curious, which was initially part of the problem for me not being able to get into the story. She just seemed a little blah. But as the story progresses it's easy to see how fiercely loyal she is, and brave, and just an all around nice person. I really enjoyed how her personality really came out once her foster brother Bram and long lost half sister Verena entered the picture. I especially loved Sophie's developing relationship with Verena because it feels so real. The two don't know each other, and Verena is jealous of Sophie, but not unfriendly. And Sophie does everything she can to curb Verena's obvious jealousy. Sophie is also pretty great with all of the side characters. She's sweet and caring when she wants to be, brazen when she sees fit. I also loved how Dellamonica manages to let Sophie be insecure without making her come off too whiny. She's a strong female character, but she's not a perfect character. She is, however, a character you can't help but root for.
Then there's Parrish. This guy is a captain, you guys. A captain! With a pig plumed hat and everything! He's honorable and intelligent and kind. He's also completely loyal, just like Sophie. I really loved him and how slowly the romance between him and Sophie was taken (there's some major chemistry going on there, but not a whole lot of action, unfortunately). I felt he sort of got the short end of the stick at the end of the book, which is why I'm hoping there's a sequel in which we see a whole lot more of Parrish.
I really enjoyed the murder mystery/political agenda parts of the book, even though I wasn't sure it would hold my attention. A world in which honor and reputation is more important than, I don't know, evidence in a murder investigation? Not exactly the most intelligent or reliable legal system, but it did make for some interesting challenges for Sophie and her friends. It wasn't too hard to see which direction the story was headed, but there were a few obstacles that I didn't exactly see coming. Still, the story kept me entertained from beginning to end and I'd read a sequel in an instant. Which I hope will happen sooner rather than later since this book felt like an introduction to a series.
Fans of fantasy or just anyone who loves a good pirate... ahem, story, should read Child of a Hidden Sea. I really hope that there will be a sequel, because by the end of the book I'd fallen in love with all of the characters. I can't wait to see what comes next for Sophie and the others!
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