I received this free digital ARC from the publisher via Penguin’s First to Read in exchange for my honest review.
Kings and Queens rise and fall, loyalties collide, and romance blooms in a world where the sea is rising—and cannot be escaped.
Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dancean uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy—she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.
Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.
Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra—fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before—are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.
Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land—and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.
The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.
I loved the writing in this book. It was just exquisite. The imagery was wonderful. The flow was wonderful. I found myself whisked away by the writing only to realize many chapters later that I was reading a story and that none of it was real. That is the true magic behind this story and I loved it!
Love. Love! LOVE! the world-building in this story because, while complicated and full and bursting with backstory, it’s offered where necessary. It’s not just dropped on the reader. It’s woven into the story and made vital to what is going on at that time, which allows the reader to be tantalized and always learn something new throughout the book. I also just love the world that was created in this story!
Welcome to the land of the dark, the crass, the blunt, and the laying it out in the open. If you are expecting a pretty, innocent, adorable little fantasy read, turn around and walk away. This is not that book. This book is dark! And by that I mean, it’s realistic. It does not shy away from some horrific topics and offers a shuddering sense of realism to the story that may not be suitable for all readers. However, that is one of the exact reasons I enjoyed this book.
Way to Wrap it Up
Well… that ending did not do the rest of the book justice. I mean… what happened? Did we run out of room in our word count? Or perhaps there weren’t enough pages to continue printing? Because that’s surely what this ending felt like. The story just threw itself together at the end in a matter of a couple pages, giving no depth or emotion or beauty or even closure that the rest of the book had offered. It was just a rush job, which never ends well and most certainly didn’t end well in this case.
Are you freaking kidding me right now?! After everything in the story about freedom and finding your own way and fighting a life you were forced into, you just… throw a character into a marriage they don’t want to be in and the marriage makes absolutely no sense whatsoever?! Way to ruin the ending and make one character look like a total liar. And here I might have given the book five stars before that fatal choice.