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I’m back from vacation and ready to get down and dirty finding new free and amazingly bargained books for you! But first this week I have something special. I convinced super hot and crazy talented …

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ARC Review: When The Sea Is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

Submitted by on November 30, 2011 – 8:07 am7 Comments

Book: When The Sea Is Rising Red
Author: Cat Hellisen
Release: February 2012
Source: MacMillan
Reviewer: Day
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

In sixteen-year-old Felicita’s world, magic is strictly controlled—or so those in power like to believe. After her 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.

This was one of the most interestingly different books I have read. It took me a really long time to get into the story but I was never bored with it, just puzzled and intrigued.  Reading this book was felt like being inside someone else’s dream. I was hoping to be instantly enthralled, and that did not happen. In fact, it was probably half way through the story that I really felt connected to the adventure. Over all, this was a satisfying reading experience that has given me lots to ponder, but it wasn’t easy getting there…I had to work for it.

I would put this author’s work in the category of Gregory MaGuire or Erick Setiawan’s style of writing. She paints such an immensely fascinating and creative world but a world that isn’t instantly identifiable or understood. I felt like a tourist in a foreign country at first because I was lost. Despite my unfamiliar feelings, it was easy for me to paint vivid mental pictures of the characters and their world.  I could close my eyes and see the faces of the characters and watch their story unfold in my mind beautifully, but understanding everything wasn’t as easy.

The characters and their dynamics were very interesting and though the author answered many questions, she left the motivations of her characters up to the reader to determine.  Hellisen has written a unique story that is a blend of old folklore, mythology, fantasy and  her own personal style and the result is intellectually stimulating…it is something I wasn’t prepared for, but I am longing for more! I do however feel that this may be over the head’s of some of the young adult audience…actually, it may be over the head’s of some adult audience for that matter. For readers that may prefer more of a “fast food” or “instant gratification” style of book, this book may not meet their fancy but I encourage everyone to see for themselves.



Day is a dreamer who has never met a stranger. She is fearless and will talk to anyone and read anything! She taught music and dance and was a singer/actress for years, performing on stages both nationally and overseas. Now married with children, she spends less time singing on stage and more time writing songs at home. But, family life has not completely slowed this chick down. She still loves an adventure and learning new things. She resides in Texas with her family, Great Dane (Sophie), Labradoodles (George & Cosmo) and Chihuahua (Juan Carlos).
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  • Salsta says:

    This sounds like a good book from the spoiler free last paragraph. At least the sort that I like to read. I love it when not everything is spelled out, so this is going onto my TBR list immediately. :)

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  • says:

    I love the cover of this book but have heard mixed things about this book. I still want to read it

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    • Doll Day says:

      I totally understand the mixed reviews. I nearly put the book down at the beginning. Maybe it was my mood at the time, but I kept on and sooner or later I was fully enthralled by the bizarre and fascinating story. That being said, Desi put it down (which is how I got to read it) and hasn’t had any interest to pick it back up so, I really believe it caters to a more mature and abstract reader that has patience and imagination to spare:)

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  • says:

    This sounds really intriguing! It sounds like it’s written very differently and although some may not like it I think I would! I def. plan to read this one! Awesome review!


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  • Karen says:

    Hmmm, I have this one for review. Now I have no idea what to prepare for lol.

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  • [...] Paperback Dolls say: [...]

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  • Sam says:

    This is right up our 12 year old’s genre. Since asking her to read a book will get the gas face… I might buy it and strategically place it in the back seat when we head to San Antonio next week. Mwahahahahahahaha.

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