Sea Change
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Sea Change

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  95 reviews
The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form ofthe eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius’s many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Tor Books
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**I received a free copy of Sea Change from Tor in exchange for an honest review.**

A fantasy bildungsroman, Sea Change follows the isolated, lonely and headstrong protagonist, Lilly, as she explores the limits of friendship. Born into a prosperous house to parents who fight as fiercely as they once loved, Lilly is a disappointment to her father because she is not the male heir for whom he hoped and the birthmark that blemishes half of her face ostracizes her from the townspeople who fear she is...more
Tabitha (Pabkins)
Peculiar in the most exceptional way! Sea Change captured me with its unique and old world style narrative. What do I mean by "old world" exactly? - imagine how it is to read any of the classics and that would come close to the feeling of this book except everything was mystical, magical and not a bit too unusual. Taking that into consideration this wasn't a book I could devour in one sitting but instead has to move thru at a leisurely pace. Also, be aware there are no chapters in this book! Tho...more
Many thanks to Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the galley copy (via NetGalley)

A lonely eight-year-old girl named Lilly encounters a young kraken on the shore and decides to name it Octavius. Their friendship has a negative correlation to her relationship with her parents: as she and Octavius grow closer, Lilly is distanced from her family, especially her father. Years later, when Octavius is captured and sold to a circus master, Lilly embarks on a journey to save her dearest friend, a quest that will tr...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This had a refreshing new idea, but the writing style was confusing and the story was just too slow paced for me.

Opening Sentence: Acid flowed at the table more often than wine and had long since ceased to cause Lilly alarm; her attention remained on the soup even as Father asked, “Does the thought of me still pain your head, love?”

The Review:

Lilly is the daughter of a very rich merchant, and has been spoiled her whole life. Her mother is...more

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie

Sea Change is probably one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read. I don’t think it can be classified as fantasy unless it’s “fantasize about disturbing things we do for friendship.” Honestly, I was horrified as I read through Sea Change, but hey, at least I finished it!

It’s gory, creepy, scary, disgusting, and yet amazingly addicting at the same time. I felt pretty disgusted at the plot; you won’t believe what Li...more
I won an ARC from Bargain!
This is a dark, weird book that is unlike anything else I've read. I think the closest I can come to a comparison is some of the short fiction of Caitlin Kiernan. I stayed up late finishing it, and I love me some sleep. In the end, this is a book about love and friendship that raises a lot of thorny moral questions it doesn't answer. It's immersive while you're reading it and gives you a lot to chew on afterward. So, yeah, basically it's brilliant. But not nec...more
Mar 06, 2013 Heather marked it as to-read
There is an except from this book on and it looks amazing! I totally want a sea monster best friend.
If you are a fan of fantasy and want a read that stands out from the crowd, you are in luck: Sea Change is a quirky, captivating, poetically penned "fairytale for grown-ups." Featuring a host of fantastical characters who nonetheless maintain a gritty sense of realism, the story is a touching tale of friendship between two unlikely companions: a gentle-natured kraken, and a socially isolated girl. A dark and unflinching narrative unfolds with the help of skillful word craft that is a style all W...more
I have to be honest I was so apprehensive to start reading Sea Change because our main character Lilly is so young. I usually try to read books where the characters are closer to my age range. Because I find that I connect more personally with characters that are closer to my age. But after reading the first chapter of Sea Change I knew I would have no problems with the age difference. Sea Change is about Lilly's relationship with a kraken named Octavius. Lilly forms a very close bond with the k...more
Alex McGilvery
Sea Change is the story of Lilly, a girl with a birthmark on her face. She is the daughter of a trader who has become nobility, but the birthmark keeps her isolated as the people of the village think she is a witch. Her only friend is Octavius, a kraken. When Octavius is captured and sold to a circus, Lilly sets out to free him. What follows is a sequential quest. At each stage of her quest some other deed or article is demanded of her.

I struggled with this book from the beginning. Occasional pa...more
3 1/2 stars.

SEA CHANGE is not your typical children’s’ fairytale. Upon reading the synopsis for the book, I was expecting a much tame happy-ever-after type of book. Let me tell you, I was surprised to find out that SEA CHANGE is more The Brothers Grimm than sugar coated Disney. The story started out pretty simple, a girl name Lily is mistreated by her evil parents but finds happiness and comfort in her friend Octavius who happens to be a kraken (yes folks, the sea monster). Octavius, Lily’s only...more
Lilly is a strange child, caring more about her friend the kraken than her parents, who bicker constantly. The day her mother leaves, she knows that it will soon be time for her to leave as well. Her father never wanted a daughter, especially not one who has a birthmark on her face. When he remarries, she finds herself ready to leave, to be replaced by another child. What she wasn't expecting was for her friend to go missing, Octavius the kraken seems to have vanished, so Lilly sets out on a jou...more
A.E. Marling
Jun 18, 2013 A.E. Marling added it
Shelves: fantasy
If a sea monster reading you grisly fairy tales sounds like a great idea, you may love Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler.

Once upon a time, a girl named Lilly was born with a port-wine-stain birthmark. Had this smear of red been on her ankle she might have led a normal life. Instead people called her a demon, a witch child, because half her face crawled with a bloody splotch.

Superstition treats no one kindly, but even if Lilly had lived in our world she might have felt dominated by a few inches of skin...more
i am really torn on this book. i loved the beginning with the dynamics between Lilly's parents, how she was treated by them, and her close friendship with Octavius. but then Octavius is stolen and my favorite part of the book was gone. while the middle section is still pretty good, i also loved Horace and Ms. Gottschalk(she is one literature's creepiest inventions!), i was always wishing Octavius was present. i also dug the genderbending twist. i was totally not expecting it and was like "woaah,...more
Sea Change is a delightfully written coming-of-age fairy tale, but the old school kind of fairy tale in which there is not really a happy ending and although everyone learns something about his or herself, no one is really better off than they were at the beginning of the story. What I’m trying to say is, this is my kind of fairy tale.

I finally got around to borrowing Sea Change from the library a few weeks ago. I greatly appreciate Wheeler’s writing style and I enjoyed the flow of story. Lilly,...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 26, 2013 Jenny (Reading Envy) marked it as abandoned
Shelves: netgalley, ebooks
Not really my thing... At first it seemed like a love story between a kraken and a birthmarked girl, but then it turned into a quest with witches, spells, and bandits, and I felt less interested. Although I wasn't interested in the other direction I thought it was going either, because consummating that particular relationship would just be awkward. Imagine the offspring....

I skimmed through to the end and was not unhappy that I quit after halfway.
Sea Change is a story of friendship and coming of age, and as its title implies, its central characters undergo a series of profound transformations. Although this is not a retelling of a fairy tale, it has the elements of one - a quest, trolls, witches, bandits, sentient animals, and magical bargains - and like classic fairy tales, it is incredibly dark. The main character, Lilly, is willing to give up anything to rescue her friend Octavius, a kraken who has vanished from the beach where they u...more
Overall impression:
Sea Change doesn’t lack in creativity, but it fails to provide any real emotion, causing me to put it down before finishing.

Read the full review on Book Revels.

Michael Jones
Simply amazing. A beautiful, sophisticated, captivating fairy tale. One of the best books I've read all year.
This was honestly the weirdest most confusing book I have ever read. From the beginning I was confused but I still found the story line to be fairly interesting. I read up to the part where Lilly starts talking to the troll (which was not that far into the book) and then I stopped because I found it so disturbing!!! This is the first book I haven't finished in basically forever. Over all I was disappointed because, although I didn't finish the book, I was expecting it to be a lot better! I would...more
Brandon Ostrom
Thoughtful, heartfelt, creative. This is a book whose characters and human drama are aided by but not subservient to its fantastic elements. In other words, there may be witches, Krakkens, Elf Queens and magic coats, but they exist in a world built on loving but fallible people. It's rare to find writing of such emotionally density and quality -the latter both on a sentence by sentence basis as well as the scope of the book as a whole. It is a strange, beautiful and bittersweet book, and you sho...more
I found this book utterly charming. The roles of gender, friendship, and family are used are so wonderfully nuanced and rich, and I think that those are the strongest aspects of the book. I know others have expressed dislike for the writing style, but I felt like that -- in addition to the (also critiqued) plethora of characters that aren't around for as long of a time as they would be in other books -- really emphasized this story as fairy tale-esque, which I found perfectly fitting. The growth...more
Paranormal Haven
Lilly lives by the shore with a lordly father and mother who don’t get along. Lilly was born with a birth mark that covers a part of her face, and because if it she is seen as ‘witchy.’ Not having a lot of friends, or anyone to speak to, she finds a little monster being attacked by seagulls by her sea side home as a child. She helps the kraken and the two befriend one another. She names him Octavius. Later, when he disappears and Lilly’s father changes, she sets out on a quest to find her lost f...more
Michelle (Michelle&Leslie's Book Picks)
Leslie's Thoughts (originally posted on Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks on 11/2013):
Just like its blurb suggested Sea Change was unlike any fantasy I have ever read. Everything was different: the characters, plot, setting(s), and writing too. Admittedly at times I had to plough through the novel, but overall, Sea Change was a read that I will never forget for it was unique, creative, and adventurous.

Like other reviewers before me may have mentioned in their reviews, I thought the pacing of S...more
All Things Urban Fantasy
SEA CHANGE takes the alien brutality of Grimm’s tales, washes them smooth and small with the hush of the sea, and transmutes the familiar pieces of magic and friendship, villainy and madness, love and happily ever after into something altogether new. Haunting, heart wrenching, and beautiful, SEA CHANGE is a book I won’t soon forget… or entirely understand.

The story opens with a young Lilly and Octavius, human and kraken, each sharing glimpses of their own worlds with their best friend. Just as a...more
K. Bird
**I read an uncorrected ARC to describe. This is not your regular fantasy book, here. It doesn't read straight through like epic fantasy or high fantasy.

This is the story of Lilly and her best friend, a sea monster. But really most of the book is how Lilly changes, grows, loses parts of herself, becomes harder, and more open in a quest to save her friend.

In a way, it's similar to Frannie Billingsley's Chime in that it creates a totally different place and time (psuedo- European by the...more
Amanda Byrne
Originally posted on Vampire Book Club:

Lilly’s life hasn’t been easy. She realized as a young girl that her parents didn’t love each other, and what love they might have felt for her wasn’t terribly strong. Drawn to the ocean, she befriends a kraken she names Octavius. Over the years, they grow together, Lilly into a young woman, Octavius into the sea monster people fear. Their visits become fewer and fewer between as Octavius has to venture further for food (having promised Lilly he wouldn’t ea...more
Sea Change starts off feeling like literary fiction with a touch of magical realism. It ends this way as well. The writing is subtly poetic, yet still a somewhat easy read. I felt sympathetic toward Lilly's plight, with her appallingly cruel parents. I was totally captivated by the friendship between Lilly and Octavius, the kraken whose double hearts are "a more familiar comfort than her mother's lullabies had ever been."

Then all of a sudden, the novel shifts to all-out fantasy and stays that wa...more
Wheeler's début will leave you breathless, exhilarated, and a little disturbed. This gorgeous tale of a young girl who sacrifices everything to save her friend (a Kraken!) from imprisonment touched my heart, and I didn't want it to end. Sadly, it did end, as all great books do, but I am left amazed, enthralled.

I love the way that Wheeler tells this story - it's so rare to encounter a début novel with the level of sophistication that is evident throughout Sea Change. Wheeler describes the fantast...more
In Lilly's world, her dad is a powerful man while her mother has a past filled with fantasy. From what I could tell, they grew tired with each other because he wanted the perfect offspring while she didn't want more kids. Did I mention Lilly's not perfect due to a birthmark on her face? Ridiculous, I know. Anyways, in this world, the mother leaves and the father works towards making a new and improved family. Lilly's home life has a lot of sore spots where some of us can relate to. And to fight...more
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Paranormal Romanc...: Giveaway: Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler 2 13 Jul 04, 2013 04:52PM  
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“I would parade you in the hall of the monarchs of the ocean if you could breathe water.” 8 likes
“You tell me that the future is choice and the present is a starting point. ...Why assume that the present will not give you better choices?” 2 likes
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