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Child of a Hidden Sea (Hidden Sea Tales #1)

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  943 Ratings  ·  227 Reviews
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 isl
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by Tor Books
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Kelly Robson The magic system is quite complex. It is based around two factors: Law (the written word) and Biodiversity (biologically unique spell ingredients).…moreThe magic system is quite complex. It is based around two factors: Law (the written word) and Biodiversity (biologically unique spell ingredients). The MC doesn't have magic -- she has something better.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 26, 2016 Carol. rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, female-lead
Sophie Hansa regains consciousness in a body of water, disoriented, thinking only of keeping herself afloat. She quickly realizes her new-found aunt is with her as well. The situation makes no sense to her–one minute fighting off attackers in a San Francisco alley, next minute treading water to survive. Child of a Hidden Sea comes out of the ‘parallel world’ school of fantasy, where the main characters discover there’s a fantasy world loosely connected to ours (think The Lion, the Witch, and the ...more
Althea Ann
Mar 01, 2015 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
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 catapulted into a world other than our own - and into th
I received Child of a Hidden Sea for review from NetGalley shortly before it was released in June. It looked interesting - a seafaring-based portal world with political intrigue, mystery, and magic. It is also not a Young Adult novel, which definitely appealed. The synopsis promised to have plenty for me to love. Well, I liked it ok enough, but I can’t say I loved it. It was entertaining, and I am interested enough to read a sequel if there is one, but I also feel kind of ambivalent about it and ...more
Nov 16, 2014 Danya rated it liked it
Before I begin this review, let me state for the record: this book was okay, but I wanted to like it so much more than I actually did. I am not too proud to admit that the cover sucked me in, and I completely bought into its promises of pirates, swashbuckling, and swoon-worthy romance. I was disappointed on all counts, but pleasantly surprised by some other aspects.

When I first began Child of a Hidden Sea, it took me a few chapters to get used to Sophie’s first-person narration, since it seemed
Jun 24, 2014 Monica rated it liked it
This review was originally posted on Avid Reviews:

It has been a while since I have read a “portal to another world” fantasy, so I found myself looking forward to reading Child of a Hidden Sea, which is the first book in a new series. I found myself quite surprised when reading this book, as it was nothing like my expectations. Even though I did have some problems with the novel, overall I found it to be a fresh perspective on a familiar fantasy trope, and a
Oct 03, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Child of a Hidden Sea is like Pirates of the Caribbean if PoC was centered on Elizabeth Swann, and she was a college grad from UCLA who liked biology and scuba diving.

I’m really conflicted on this one. I liked the main character, and the book’s focus on familial relationships and not romantic ones. The world building was thorough, but I felt like we saw the ~boring~ parts of the world. When you transport the reader into a world of pirates and swashbuckling don’t take them to a courtroom (unless
Feb 07, 2016 Gergana marked it as zzz-books-not-for-me
Read in February 7 till February 26, 2016. DNF: 16% ... I tried.

Child of Hidden Sea is one of those books that grabs you from the start with its fast pacing and original premises! Oh yes, there are plenty of books about young women being transported to another world and so on, but I rather enjoyed being in Sophie's head. Overall, the world is intriguing and colorful, my mind was having a feast imagining the white beaches, vast sea and the underwater scenery! The heroine was intelligent,
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I got an ARC through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

2.5 stars. This book gave me trouble, although I should've liked its setting and themes. When I had to put it down, and then wanted to pick it up again, geting back into the story was a little hard.

I quite liked the world of Stormwrack, which seems fairly rich and complex, full of political intricacies, bureaucracy antics, and red tape tactics. There's a lot of potential in there, a potential that doubles up with the Fleet—a lite
Feb 05, 2015 Geekritique rated it really liked it
Find this and many other reviews at Geekritique!

It’s become an annual tradition of mine to head over to New York Comic Con each year, buy a bunch of stuff that I tell myself I’ll read, use, etc., and then never do it. I’ve got piles of books from NYCC over the years that have totally gone untouched due to time and moving on to the next thing. One of these books, as you can probably already guess, is Child of a Hidden Sea – A. M. Dellamonica’s latest fantasy novel. I found it perched nicely in it
Olga Godim
Jun 20, 2014 Olga Godim rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
I received this Kindle ARC through NetGalley from the publisher, Tor.

The story starts with the protagonist Sophie being tossed into the sea by a tornado, kind-of like Dorothy and Oz. One moment, she is in her home town San Francisco, and the next she is falling into salted water. Good thing she is an excellent swimmer and a trained diver, but all the same she feels as disoriented as the reader. What’s going on, she wonders, and I wondered with her.
It took some time for the story to hit its stri
Jun 23, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
I left Child of a Hidden Sea feeling very, well, satisfied. This book is a lot of fun, and many of the complex topics are handled with poise and grace. The world building was well done, despite the fact that some points will require readers to leave their questions at the door and just accept some things as they are presented. However, Dellamonica did the impossible by making portal fantasy work this well. I’m not sure if this is the first book in a series, but I hope it is. There is plenty of r ...more
Jun 26, 2015 Vanessa rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Sophie is determined to find her birth parents. But when she finds her mother, there isn't the grand reunion she was hoping for. Not ready to give up yet, Sophie happens across her aunt being attacked in a San Francisco alleyway and rushes to intervene.

The next second she finds herself in the middle of an ocean surrounded by glowing moths, along with her aunt, who has been stabbed, with only Sophie to save her.

Sophie does save her aunt, but unknowingly sets off a chain of events that disrupt the
Aug 16, 2015 Lucia rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I picked this one up because for some reason I expected pirates and adventures at sea, but instead I got a story about... lawyers? I ended up enjoying the story and worldbuilding, but it took me 40% of the book to finally decide not to abandon it.
Anyway, Sophie grew on me and I liked her never ending curiosity, I'll probably read the next book just to know what happens with her and Parrish xD
Overall an entertaining story and quite original fantasy world, just don't expect what the cover promise
Jul 14, 2014 Caren rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, I really did, but really had to force myself to finish it. It's hard to say exactly why--the main character didn't resonate with me and tended to get distracted by the scenery to the detriment of the plot. The plot itself seemed very contrived, as if the author was working very hard to keep readers interested during what was basically a travelogue through another world. The other world was interesting, the plot, not so much.
3 stars

Child of a Hidden Sea is my first try of Ms Dellamonica's books. I request this title on NetGalley because I love the cover (it scream "adventure!!) and the premise about a woman who transferred into another world is one of my favorite theme. The story of Child of a Hidden Sea is about Sophie Hansa, 24 year old chick that swept away from her home in San Fransisco into another realm called Stormwrack. In Stormwrack she discover a realm that so much resembled Earth (called Erstwhile) but co
Jun 19, 2015 Kritika rated it really liked it
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 sh
Sophie rescues her estranged aunt from being attacked only to find herself swept away to a strange yet familiar world. Stormwrack appeals to her inquisitive and adventurous nature but the more questions she asks about her family ties the more she is met with opposition and threatened with exile. A political conspiracy gives her the opportunity to further explore the world she's become fascinated with and forge her own place within it.

Child Of A Hidden Sea is a combination of familiar fantasy tro
All Things Urban Fantasy
Aug 11, 2014 All Things Urban Fantasy rated it really liked it
As thrilling as stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, Dellamonica’s CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA marries our modern world to to it’s exotic, magical alter-ego. Dropped into the warm oceans of a fantasy world, Stormwrack, Sophie Hansa needs every drop of the curiosity, intelligence, and adrenaline seeking skills she learned at home to adapt to the challenges ahead.

And it was just this mix of personal ability and magic that made this book irresistible. While exploring a new world is nothing new for
Oct 10, 2014 Lexie rated it really liked it
So what starts out as a simple (all right slightly stalkery) mission to track down her birth mother turns out to be a huge political fiasco that almost lands her birth family's world into total chaos. Honestly from what I read in the book about Sophie, it makes complete sense that she would nearly cause that.

To lay it out, as a child I absorbed and loved "portal" fantasies (or portal science fiction books, cause hey they exist). Blame Pamela Dean and Joyce Ballou Gregorian (not oddly CS Lewis, I
Jan 31, 2016 Karekon rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This book is about a woman that get accidentally transported to another "world" (Im a bit confused over where exactly its located) after being rejected by her mother. And everyone basically tells her to "LEAVE NOW YOU DONT BELONG HERE" (view spoiler) ...more
Jul 14, 2014 April rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, as it is right up my alley reading-wise, but it was just ok for me. (Spoiler alert-spoilers follow). It hit all the basic plot points: plucky girl finds herself in strange new world (apparently based on the Renaissance), has a series of misunderstandings and adventures, has a brother kidnapped (bro-jep), and finally reaches a conclusion. In addition, the main character, Sophie Hansa, is adopted and this story is based on what happens when she tries to find her mother, ...more
Nov 26, 2016 Donna rated it liked it
Shelves: library, fantasy
I was expecting more of a swashbuckler type of story, and this was not that.

While I liked the setting and the premise, I couldn't warm up to the heroine, Sophie. At the age of 24 she's an experienced diver, rock climber and field biologist with a thorough knowledge of every type of marine life you can imagine. She had the skillset of a more mature character but she often behaved like a much younger one, indulging her curiosity at inappropriate times and treating the struggles of Stormwrack like
May 07, 2015 Bibliotropic rated it really liked it
(Full review here:

I could go on at length about the myriad reasons why I enjoyed Child of a Hidden Sea, or why A M Dellamonica is an author that you should be keeping your eye on, but really, I think it all speaks well for itself. The story is tight, the mystery well-done, the characters realistic and the relationships believable, the dialogue perfect, and the world is so wide and vast that I could probably read a 10-book series set within it and never o
Dr susan
Oct 24, 2014 Dr susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-again
I am getting lazy about writing my reviews! I read Child last weekend. Bad Dr Susan!

I liked Child of a Hidden Sea. The world was unique enough to be intriguing, and the magic system was fun. The animals, natural and made, were very interesting. I did find myself thinking several times that Sophie was too stupid to live, but the book, as a whole, held my interest to the point that I was irritated with interruptions. I look forward to reading more of Sophie's adventures.
Feb 26, 2016 Trin rated it it was ok
This is a "it's-not-you-it's-me" scenario: I simply could never manage to become engaged with this book's plot, prose, setting, or characters. There was nothing inherently wrong with any of it; it was all just emphatically not for me.
Find the original review here at This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

I'm trying to think of other portal fantasies I've read and the only one that comes to mind is Narnia. So it turns out that Child of a Hidden Sea fills a void I didn't even realize I was lacking in. Which is also great because it made me realize how fun portal fantasies can be. I like knowing there is still an earth for the MC to potentially return to if life in this other world is complete shit. Or you're missing technology
Jun 10, 2014 Monica rated it it was amazing
Check out the review on my blog, too!
This book was an insane amount of fun to read! It's light-hearted in a way that is sadly missing from much of adult fantasy. The story is the perfect beach read for a girl (me) who typically despises beach reads-- I hate them with a passion. It's fun, without being dumb, and the protagonist is spunky and brave, without being annoying beyond belief.

Our lead, Sophie, is a twenty-four year old who is seriously avoiding defending her master's thesis. Inste
Jun 22, 2014 Sherry rated it really liked it
Child of a Hidden Sea really hit the sweet spot with me. I devoured the book, finishing it in less than a day.

In the novel, 24-year-old Sophie Hansa goes in search of her birth parents and discovers more than she could have ever dreamed. When her newly found aunt is attacked outside her birth mother’s home, Sophie is literally drawn into a strange new world. Her family turns out to be from some alternate version of Earth (never fully explained, but there are hints that it is a future Earth.) The
Apr 28, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
As posted on The Bibliophile's Diary

This book sits between a 2.5 and 3.

I was very excited about Child of a Hidden Sea. It’s what I call a portal book. Someone from our world ends up in a fantastical realm and is stranded. My first portal book was Donaldson, and I’ve been fond of these since I was a child. I was also extremely excited to get back to some adult fantasy. I’ve been reading and reviewing a lot of YA lately and I’m definitely feeling a burnt out on it. I will go ahead and say my hi
Mar 29, 2016 Ardyss rated it really liked it
Originally posted on my blog, With Her Head in a Book.

I can’t remember if I picked up Child of a Hidden Sea by word of mouth or due to some sick deal online. How even I found this gem, I am so glad. Stormwrack is unlike many of the YA fantastical worlds we’re transported into. It’s got a certain charm that difficult to achieve.

So much of Stormwrack is similar to Earth - highly complex politics, vast culture, family drama... but time-travel? Yes, that’s right. I’m not entirely sure when exactly S
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I live in Toronto, Ontario and make my living writing science fiction and fantasy; I also review books and teach writing online at UCLA. I'm a legally married lesbian and in my spare time I take pictures with Toronto Photo. My wife's name is Kelly and we have two cats, Lorenzo and Chinchilla, born in spring of 2014.
More about A.M. Dellamonica...

Other Books in the Series

Hidden Sea Tales (3 books)
  • A Daughter of No Nation (Hidden Sea Tales, #2)
  • The Nature of a Pirate (Hidden Sea Tales, #3)

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