Tor.com has a great blog. They blog the blog-e-verse so well, that I was tempted to buy this new novel by a new author. (No, really, if you like Sci Fi or Fantasy, run right over there right now! They not only bring you info on new books, but also fandom stuff (think Buffy / Star Wars / etc), interviews and new fiction. So go. Now. GO!)
The post that hooked me in was by the author, S.M. Wheeler, about Krackens. I waited and waited for that darn book to be released via Nook, and when it finally was I was in the middle of a monster 1100 page Goliath (which was a disappointment and shall remain nameless for now). Sea Change clocks in at 203 pages on my Nook. It might be small, but it packs a mighty huge whallop.
PLOT IN A JOT: Lilly has a crappy home life with her privileged family, and when her only friend (a kracken) goes missing, Lilly sets out on a quest to save him.
When I first started reading this, I thought to myself: Hey, maybe I can read this with my son (7 years old). That thought did not persist for long. While it is told in the style of an old fairytale, it is brutal. So brutal that if it had been written any other way, I would never have finished the book. I would have deleted it right off the Nook, disregarding any monies that I had spent. Within the course of the book, Lilly literally transforms into Lyle, her femininity completely ripped away from her. And then her humanity starts to be peeled away, too…
The fairytale convention was very smart on the part of the author. It allows a distance between the reader and the story. This is a deep, darkly disturbing story and I’m not sure I understand the half of it. But it has been bothering me, especially the ending. What the hell? I understand not every fairy tale came with a happy ending, but they did come with closure. I didn’t get any closure with this one.
Ok. And for all you writers out there… If you are going to put a magic freaking box in the story, given as a gift and then given to someone to save for your character… and a big deal is made of it… IT NEEDS TO COME BACK IN AT THE END OF THE STORY. I can’t lay my eyes on the part of the story where she leaves it with her step mother, but she says something about a secret being in the box or something (darned nook! I could have found the passage in a real book!). When she came home, I kept expecting that box to pop up. Never did. What?!
(In *my* ending, the box held her secret memories. So there!)
I can’t really rate this one. It’s definitely not a Wheee! Of a book. Or even a Whoohoo! It was too distant to produce tears, but I’m still thinking of it 2 days after finishing. So maybe… 4/5 woeful wandering thoughtful of a book?