- Title: When the Sea is Rising Red
- Author: Cat Hellisen
- Genre: Fantasy
- Format: eBook
- Source: Own Copy
- Reviewer: Soo
- Rating: 3 out of 5
Description: 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.
Review: I picked up this book because it received a high rating from an writer that I love and admire. While I agree that the world building is very interesting, the main character lacks substance. She runs from situation to situation in a thoughtless manner. Although there are plenty of things happening in the story, there is a weighted, dragging feel to it all due to the protagonist refusing to “be only what she’s expected to be.”
I don’t have a strong feeling for the character. I don’t like her. I don’t dislike her. I don’t feel horrified or tender. The world is interesting but the characters don’t engage me fully. I almost wish there was a follow up novel to this one because I feel like the foundation is well established but the filling lacks weight.
If you’re looking for something new, try out this book. I do want to see what else will come from this author.