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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Thoughts: When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

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. 

I had read a brief synopsis of When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen months ago, and I knew right then and there, that I wanted to read it. I wanted it at that exact moment! I was intrigued. How could I not be? When I first read the synopsis, I immediately thought of Witchlanders by Lena Coakly, which I read last summer. I really enjoyed that novel and this one reminded me of it in a number of ways and I have to say I really enjoyed this novel as well. However, there was a BUNCH wrong with it. It was confusing and there I found there were plot holes galore. But at the same time I gave this book four stars, cause it was really good.  I am not really sure how to explain it. But, I'll do my best.

The story is told from the perspective of Felicita, a house-lammer, which is essentially an individual of a higher class. I think. I am not sure. Some of the vocabulary in When the Sea is Rising Red was hard to understand and some words were the same as for two separate things and others weren't. This made reading the novel a little difficult.

There are also many instances where the author expects you to know more then what she has actually told you. This was not something  I was a huge fan of. It often had me thinking that I had missed something. I would go back pages and pages looking for that paragraph, sentence, word even, that would explain what was going on. There was never anything. Which was a little frustrating. Sometimes not having all the information works in a story, unfortunately, in this instance it did not. I would have to work at figuring out what was going on, and would often just give up and see if it made sense later.

The other thing that bothered me was the really casual sex that took place between Felicita and Dash. I am not a prude nor do I expect there to be no sex in young adult fiction. But for some reason it made me mad in this book- well maybe not so much mad, but  I rolled my eyes a lot. The two weren't instantly in love but they fell into bed fairly quickly. Dash was a jerk and did not treat Felicita well at all, which it what frustrated me the most. But oh well.


I really enjoyed When the is Rising Red. I thought the story was original and I liked Felicita. I liked the magic that was involved with the story, although at times it did get a little corny. I kind of wish that the book had been a little longer and that things hadn't felt so rushed. It wasn't a long novel and it could have used an extra 50-100 pages. What is really good though, is that this was Hellisen's first novel and I am very excited to read more by her.

With that being said...

~Happy Reading Everyone!


  1. The casual sex would annoy me too as would the vocabulary. I wish authors would have a list of words and their meanings if they're going to make up their own terminology and have it be complicated. Despite its flaws, it sounds like this one was a good read. If it's kind of like Witchlanders, I think I'll like it.

  2. I almost forgot about this book so thanks for the reminder, and for sharing your thoughts


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