Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: When the Sea is Rising Red

Synopsis: After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend Ilven kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it.  

My Review: When I first started reading this for some reason I was under the impression that this was a Victorian Era novel.  Which is halfway accurate, but I somehow missed the whole supernatural aspect.  Not to worry though, still loved it.  

Felicita is a member of the magical elite of Pelimburg, the city that was named after her esteemed family that has since fallen.  She is a War-Singer meaning that she can control the very air around her to do her will, but since she is a girl she is only thought of to be married off.  When her best friend Ilven, from a neighboring House kills herself to escape from an arranged marriage, Felicita can't help the idea that sparks from her friend's tragedy.  She fakes her own death and escapes into the city slums below.  

After falling in with a group of rag tag orphans led by the enigmatic Dash, it seems that Felicita has found a new home, until a corpse washes up on the shore.  As the body count grows, its clear that Ilven's death has risen a horrible magical being from the depths of the water, that will soon threaten Pelimburg.  Dash wants to destroy the social caste system of Pelimburg and is willing to do anything to do so.  Felicita must decide whether to stay by her new friends or protect the family she abandoned.  

What I really liked about this novel was that the author was so unapologetic about everything that happened.  Well...maybe unapologetic isn't quite the right word.  Maybe, nonchalant is better.  Oh those two girls are lesbians? Ok, that's cool.  Felicita just lost her virginity? What, it was bound to happen sooner or later. It was just refreshing.  Drama free.  It was like I was in this nice  happy little world free of overblown emotions.  It was nice, I gotta say.  I just felt like Felicita was so down to earth.  She realized that shit happens and that you can't beat yourself up over every little thing.  Sometimes you just have to move on and try to do better.  Dwelling over every horrible thing that happens gets you no where.  Once again, it was just nice.  

Though Dash was kind of the main love interest, I just liked Jannik so much better.  Maybe it was because he was a vampire...and well, vampires are just better, but I liked him as a person way more as well.  While Dash is a conniving little bastard with a hidden agenda, Jannik can actually relate to Felicita.  In a privledged house, but unable to do what you want because of your gender.  Vampire House's are matriarchal instead of patriarchal and so his idiot of a sister will have all the power of the House while he is basically her glorified servant of a brother.  He was just so nice too.  Maybe I 'm a sucker for those kind-hearted, sullen, black haired, mysterious guys but hey.  What can I say? Dash was a douche, and even though I say that I still can't bring myself to totally hate him.  He had his reasons, is all I can say.  

Truthfully though I kind of just wanted Dash and Jannik to just kiss and make up.  God.  Those two. So Iri and Nial and Lesley from the Wicked Lovely books? It was like one of their weird love triangles where they all love each other.  Weird, but somehow that always seems to work.  O.o

Anyway, I really enjoyed Felicita as well.  She was a very refreshing MC and I greatly enjoyed her narrative.  I really hope there is a second book, cuz I really want to know how it plays out.  The ending left me wanting more.  The only criticism I have on this was that I wish the story was a bit more fleshed out.  For instance, the elite magical caste.  You barely get to see them using magic.  It's there and all, but it's rarely used.  Same with the different caste systems.  It's explained, but I wish why they were so hateful towards each other was more fleshed out.  And especially with the vampires! Vampires are rather different in this world too, so I wish they had been explained more.  All in all, the background and information was just adequate enough to get you through the book. Just wish there had been more flushing out.  It would have moved this book from good to great.  I really enjoyed this book, but I feel like it was more geared towards my taste.  I like dark, unusual worlds and non-traditional characters.  Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I greatly enjoyed it.