Review: Child of A Hidden Sea

18490629Title: Child of a Hidden Sea
Author:A.M. Dellamonica
Genre: Fantasy, adult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
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.

There was so much buzz about this book when it came out, but it took ages for me to actually find a copy. I had heard nothing but good things about this book, so I was really excited to start.

I really enjoyed reading about Sophie's adventures in Stormwrack. Portal fantasies are fun because you get a glimpse of our familiar world and a new fantasy world, and the main character is just as clueless about the new world as you are! Sophie discovers that she has more ties to this magical world than she anticipated, and ends up trying to survive in the middle of a political machinations and assassination attempts.

The world of Stormwrack is unlike any other fantasy world I have read about. Stormwrack is an archipelago full of little island states, each with its own culture and politics. Names have power here, which is a typical fantasy trope, but magic is also channeled through unique flora and fauna. As a biologist, Sophie is inherently curious about all the new creatures she sees in Stormwrack, and it's an endearing way to learn about this new world.

I really liked Sophie. She was a curious, stubborn young woman who was just trying to figure out who her biological parents were, but even when she gets more than she bargained for, she never loses her focus or her excitement for discovery. I loved her teasing relationship with her brother, Bram; it's not often that more than one person jumps through a portal into a fantasy world. Both of them are so geeky and adorable, and it was refreshing that neither of them were willing to suspend their intellectual curiosity over the course of the story (nerds will always be nerds! whooo!). They fight like siblings and make fun of each other, but they also have each other's backs no matter what craziness ensues.

I'll admit that this book took a while to grow on me, and it had a pretty slow start, but I really enjoyed it and will definitely be reading more of A.M. Dellamonica's books.

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