Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

Sea Change

Sea Change - S.M. Wheeler Wheeler's début will leave you breathless, exhilarated, and a little disturbed. This gorgeous tale of a young girl who sacrifices everything to save her friend (a Kraken!) from imprisonment touched my heart, and I didn't want it to end. Sadly, it did end, as all great books do, but I am left amazed, enthralled.I love the way that Wheeler tells this story - it's so rare to encounter a début novel with the level of sophistication that is evident throughout Sea Change. Wheeler describes the fantastic landscape beautifully, and I never had any trouble imaging the lush scenery or the wacky characters. From the very first page, readers are immersed in the otherworldly feel of the book, and the magic and mysticism, although subtle at first, won't fail to intrigue. Coupled with the this visualisation are the hints of many things left unsaid. This is a book where the things the author and characters don't say are as important as those they do.The next thing that will pull readers into the book is Lilly herself - distant, sceptical and wise beyond her years, she's a delight to read about. Alongside her is Octavius, the Kraken she befriend at an early age and her secret solace amongst the many disappointments in her life. I initially thought I wouldn't connect with Lilly, with her character being so different from my own, but I happily found myself taking a liking to her, and applauding her maturity and loyalty. I also love the loyalty Octavius has to Lilly and the way he always strives to protect and soothe her, and relished how alien and unknowable he seemed. Their friendship is the stuff of legend, all the more inspiring when considering it's between a girl and a sea monster.Sea Change is peppered with the weird and the wonderful, and I love how many amazing elements of Fantasy the author has managed to weave throughout the narrative. Not only is there a Kraken, but there's a troll, a skinless witch, a few undead, and a magical coat. Bizarre though it may seem when I list them like that, I think the elements come together to create a wonderful story, and the sheer creativity of it boggles the mind. Amongst them are the humans, who are as varied and interesting as the magical creatures.Unexpectedly delightful, Sea Change is among my favourite reads of 2013 so far, and I highly recommend it  to those looking for a dark, gruesome fantasy with nods to the traditions of fairy tales. This book will undoubtably change you.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.