Author: Cat Hellisen
Publish Date: Februrary 28, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal Fantsy
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.
Felicita was born into a life of luxury and privilege in a magical family. However, because she is a girl, her life is destined to be one of choices made by others and a severe lack of control. She's to have an arranged marriage, and once she settles in with a new husband, she'll have somewhat of a new puppet master. When Felicita's best friend kills herself to escape this fate, Felicita chooses to do the same, in a sense. She fakes her death and escapes to the slums, finding freedom for the first time in her seventeen years. But peace doesn't last long. Ilven's rash decision called up an old dark magic, and Felicita must decide whether she belongs in her old life or her new one before it's too late.
I've read a lot of YA books in my time on this blog. And, frankly, there are times when I think I've seen and read it all. paranormal books have been tested, tried and true, and it's a very crowded genre, so when a novel dares to be paranormal fantasy, toe the line between adult and young adult, but reads just as well for all ages, I'm floored. Cat Hellisen took her imagination to the next level with When the Sea is Rising Red, creating a world that's every bit an illusion yet, at the same time tangible. Intricate and detailed, vivid and pronounced, the world of Pelimburg is dark and twisted, with a creative and fascinating world with an underbelly teeming with unanswered questions. It's a world in which you will become utterly absorbed.
Felicita was a brilliant character. She was rich and emote, rife with internal struggles. Yet, throughout it all, you could sense the desire to be free and happy. She truly wanted a place for herself in a world where she was controlled every day. Likewise, Dash was the epitome of charisma. Charming and intriguing, Dash was a well-rounded character that brought Felicita's strengths to the surface, allowing them to sing through every moment of tension in When the Sea is Rising Red. As much as the characters epitomized excellence, it must be said that the novel is very much an enigma. In once sense, the world of Pelimburg is entirely foreign and confusing. In another sense, it's brilliant, exciting and quaint. The two make for an immensely satisfying backdrop for a maze of an adventure. I think the beauty of When the Sea is Rising Red lies within the unanswered questions within the novel though. Rather than serving you a cut and dried plot that simply connects the dots, this story almost leaves those answers for you to decide, which is a power not often given to the readers.
In many ways, When the Sea is Rising Red soars. Rich and powerful, it's slow-burning, and it has me thinking days later. It's definitely one I'll be re-reading. I give it a very strong 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to both YA and adult audiences who enjoy paranormal fantasies.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.