Series: Child of a Hidden Sea #1
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published by Tor on June 24, 2014
Reviewed by: Julia
References to sex.
One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.
The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.
Sophie doesn't know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered… her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.
But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don't know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world . . . or is doomed to exile.
As thrilling as stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, Dellamonica's CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA marries our modern world to to it's exotic, magical alter-ego. Dropped into the warm oceans of a fantasy world, Stormwrack, Sophie Hansa needs every drop of the curiosity, intelligence, and adrenaline seeking skills she learned at home to adapt to the challenges ahead.
And it was just this mix of personal ability and magic that made this book irresistible. While exploring a new world is nothing new for contemporary fantasy, Sophie and her brother Bram do so with zest and personal abilities, not through the emergence of heretofore unknown magical legacies. Their very human approach, albeit aided by considerable intellect and prior knowledge in natural sciences, opens up this new world in a very believable fashion. From examining wildlife to untangling the maritime society that dominates Stormwrack, Sophie and Bram paint a vivd picture of this world.
Against the photojournalistic splendor of Stormwrack, it is no surprise that the characters themselves sometimes seem a bit thin. While Sophie doesn't lack for drive and depth, the simple language that shows off biological and magical phenomena leaves the human element of this story to be a little understated. Despite this imbalance, the strong plot and world more than carry the characters forward, to the point when readers have time to fall in love with all three equally. Fans of Marie Brennan's blend of magic and science will love this book, and CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA left me wanting another trip back to Stormwrack.