Saturday, March 3, 2012

Review: When the Sea is Rising Red - Cat Hellisen

Where I got it: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Beautiful.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Page Count: 296 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

Felicita's friend, Ilven, takes the leap. She kills herself rather than face her arranged marriage. This stirs something in Felicita, especially since soon after she is to be betrothed to some man she's never met. She fakes her own death and goes to live with the riffraff of Old Town. At first she regrets her decision. She had to give up luxury and Scriv, a magical drug that enhances her magical abilities. On the streets she's cold and dirty and common. It is better than being a slave to a husband she will never love though. Except, she falls in with a rough but caring crowd, with a leader that has revenge on his mind. Felicita has a hard time keeping her identity under wraps and struggles to find her places among all the chaos that follows her friend's suicide.

This was quite an enjoyable novel. According to Cat it's a "secondary world fantasy" novel. I was trying to figure out what time period it fit in, but that cleared it up and made it even better. It had sort of a historical feel, but with a lot of modern ideas thrown in. Felicita is a member of the high house, but as a women has no real rights. She is reduced to a pawn for her brother to use on his whim. I really appreciate how conflicted Felicita was when she ran away. She was constantly wondering if she made the right decision, wondering whether she should just turn back and face the consequences from her family. Felicita was a very well crafted character, very confused and feeling alone. The jump-rope rhymes in here were very fun and terrible at the same time. I liked them a lot. I also really appreciated the relationships in the novel. Some were same-sex relationships, and there was no shock value to them at all. There was no tension with the characters involved beyond typical relationship tension. I would love to see this happening more and more in novels, because THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE! It will be great when in real life, people can go about their business, and no one will think it odd. I liked the crew Felicita ends up falling in with. They are a unique bunch and it was hard to imagine them so young and so strong. Felicita also takes up with a Bat(what they call vampires) which is a little bit of a strange part in the storyline. He's mostly just the mysterious stranger who appears when help is needed. I didn't feel he was crucial to the storyline, more so just something that was added in for the author's fancy. The book was also a bit slow at times. There  were just points when things were going at a normal life pace, no fast excitement and adventure. I enjoyed the supernatural aspects of this novel though. It was interesting to see the myths woven around the town. The Red Tide and all of those types of things were very interesting. The ending was a bit strange. I don't want to spoil anything, but I just didn't expect Felicita to make the decision she did. I sort of know why she did, but it seems a little out of character for her. It would be really interesting to see if there's a sequel for this. The novel ended, but definitely left room for more to come. Check this one out, and keep an eye out for more novels by Cat Hellisen. 

First Line:
"She's not here."

Favorite Line:
"Pelim will fall and Pelim will fall.
The heir must answer the witch's call."

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