book reviews by Althea

Child of a Hidden Sea – A.M. Dellamonica ****

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Great fun! I challenge you to read this book and come away from it without wishing that you, too, could acquire a travel pass to the world of Stormwrack!
Sophie Hansa, 24, is procrastinating about defending her thesis, feeling a bit like she’s in her brilliant younger brother’s shadow, and having a bit of existential ennui. In an attempt to contact her birth family (she’s adopted), she gets a bit stalker-ish… and then ends up accidentally capitulated into a world other than our own – and in the midst of a huge mess encompassing family drama, lawsuits, trade agreements, magical curses and even murder. The plot’s fast-paced and twisty, and I enjoyed Sophie’s reactions, her scientific and natural curiosity and her modern, progressive sensibilities.
The whole thing is not just fantasy in the genre sense, but also in the wish-fulfillment sense. However, I have zero problem with that. It reminded me of a more mature version of any number of childhood favorites in the ‘portal fantasy’ genre – it’s not nearly as juvenile as the cover art might indicate.
Stormwrack – an archipelago world which may or may not be a far-future Earth – has a near-infinite number of cultures and settings, with hundreds of independent island-nations. It’s got a lot of potential for future books – I hope to get the opportunity to go back and visit again! This was the second book I’ve read by Dellamonica, but I feel that here, she’s really hit her stride.

Copy provided by NetGalley. Much appreciation for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are unaffected by the source.


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