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The Changeling Sea

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  2,933 ratings  ·  189 reviews
"An enchanting fantasy that is tinged with realism and romance."—School Library Journal

Since the day her father's fishing boat returned without him, Peri and her mother have mourned his loss. Her mother sinks into a deep depression and spends her days gazing out at the sea. Unable to control her anger and sadness any longer, Peri uses the small magic she knows to hex the...more
Paperback, 137 pages
Published April 14th 2003 by Firebird (first published October 1st 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Isa Lavinia
Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.

Sometimes people ask me to recommend a book and it usually goes a bit like this:

Hipster girl: Hey do you know which book I shoul--
Me: The Changeling Sea!
Metalhead dude: Hey, I've been thinking about readi--
Me: The Changeling Sea!
Mum: Any books you--
Me: The Changeling Sea!
Some friend: Got any books yo--
Me: The Changeling Sea!
Some friend. You always say that! I've already read it!

Anyone who's lived their whole life by the sea wil...more
This short, standalone novel (a novella really) written in McKillip's usual beautiful yet elliptical style is exactly the sort of thing that I come to expect from her work.

A lowly scullery maid, who's fisher father died at sea and who's mother is psychologically lost to the sea, hates the ocean and tries to put a hex on it but ends up becoming embroiled in powerful magic and the King's family who's one time tryst with the sea queen is coming back to haunt him.

Those who have read McKillip before...more
This is a gorgeous, bittersweet, perfect, completely unsatisfying story. It's a fairytale that feels real. All of those things at once? Yes.

I didn't like the other book by this author I've read nearly as much -- perhaps not at all, I can't remember. But this is lovely. It's a story about longing, really, longing and love. It spellbound me, and managed to capture something I love about the sea: its beauty, humans' fascination with it, its danger... Dar Williams' The Ocean comes to mind here, som...more
The sea has always fascinated me, mayhap because I was born near one and usually went to sleep lulled by the sound of its waves. It could also be because I have loved its might, which made me feel totally insignificant in the entire realm of things or maybe because I always stood tall before the sea, almost as if I were challenging it to do its worst, while it gently responded to me by lapping at my feet, almost caressing me and soothing away my pain and anger. I will never know the exact reason...more
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

In a small fishing village on the coast of the wide, stormy sea, a bright-eyed young woman named Periwinkle makes her home. After her father, a fisherman, rows out his ship and never returns, Peri's mother lapses into quiet despair, forgetting to talk and always staring out at the roiling sea and fantasizing about the people that live in its depths. Without her parents to watch over her or remind her to do things like brush her hair or hem her clothes, Pe...more
This book is so gorgeous it hurts.

I’m serious. The prose is so beautiful you can’t help but foam in envy. Her writing has such luscious descriptions you just want to gather them all up and devour them like precious edible gold. It’s just amazing how she manages to spill her wonderful imagination out into the pages and spin a story with the skills to back it up.

Sure this novel (a novella almost, really) is short but I really loved how she takes a familiar aspect in fairy lore (the switching of ba...more
Sep 05, 2014 Shinjini rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shinjini by: Manju
If there is one word I’d use to describe the sea, that word would be enchanting . The sea has magic. A strange kind of pull is felt by anyone who wishes to feel this magic. When most people visit the seaside, the first fear that strikes them is that the sea water and the harsh sun will tan their skins. Very few people really understand the beauty of the sea. The different moods it experiences. The rage of the sea when expressed by giant waves crashing at the shore. And then, the calm. The serene...more
Its my second book by Patricia McKillip after the The Riddle-Master of Hed. I liked that book but I loved this one. It is a short, simple and beautifully written book. It is a story of a girl, two princes, one magician and a sea dragon.

After Perriwinkle's father's death, her mother is in a deep depression. Peri has stopped living with her mother and has started living in an old woman's abandoned house near the sea. Though she visits her mother occasionally but her mother rarely acknowledge her...more
It's no secret that Patricia McKillip is a most beloved author for so many fantasy readers. I discovered her late in the game, when I ran across a beautiful reissued omnibus edition of The Riddle-master Trilogy in a Barnes & Noble several years ago. After finishing that excellent trilogy, I went looking for any other McKillip books I could get my hands on. The result was a binge, of sorts, in which I blew through six or seven titles without a by-your-leave. And it was an immensely good time....more
Feb 24, 2009 Chad rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chad by: Challis &
This book came highly recommended, and I was prepared to really like it. When I started reading it, it reminded me of The Last Unicorn. As the story progressed, though, I found that it seemed to lack the depth that I was hoping it would have. It could have been really good, but I found myself unable to connect with any of the characters. I liked that Kir was so desperate to get into the sea, but he was also aloof and unreachable, and I found his relationship with Peri rather forced. What reason...more
Some books fail to live up to nostalgia-tinged memories. Some books remain solid years later. And some books are even better than you remember. This one's definitely in the latter category.

It's a fairy tale first and foremost, so don't read it if you're looking for detailed worldbuilding or rules of magic. It works by fairy-tale logic. Metaphor is important. Things come in threes. Your heart's desire pays for itself, if only you can figure out what it is.

Mostly, it's the language I love it for....more
I was hoping to find a new fantasy favorite with Patricia McKillip but, alas, no. McKillip's prose is strong, more certain in what it leaves unsaid, and that is a beauty of its own. What's more, her imagination reads like a fairy tale--vivid descriptions, half folk-lore, half reality itself. Yet, the romance is key in The Changeling Sea--key to feeling that bittersweet ache at the close of the novel. And, as you may be able to imagine, I felt very little. With older fantasy tales, a love story u...more
I really enjoyed this creative fantasy. I especially loved the main character, Peri (short for periwinkle). She was strong, loyal, and did not give up on life, although all those she loved had been lost to the sea in one way or the other. The only thing that I didn't like as much was the romance in it - although Peri was believable, it was harder for me to buy the Prince's performance. And although his reactions were understandable given the story, it didn't stop me from wanting him to show her...more
A wonderful tale of magic, love, and learning to live with the treasures and heartaches that the tide brings in.
I love the skillful way Patricia McKillip has with prose. She weaves the story around you letting you love and sorrow with the people in the story. I may need to read this story over and over again. Thank you Jeannette for recommending it.
This short novel is lyrical and gripping, as the story of two princes, one bound to land but longing for the sea, and one bound to the sea but longing for land, and the ordinary girl (Periwinkle) who befriends both. Beautifully written and highly recommended!
SO GOOD. I loved it. The feels man.
Rachel Brown
Peri, a young woman whose fisherman father drowned, casts a spell
against the sea, calling forth a monster… and a Prince.

A magical, moving, and completely original story, peopled with quirkily
charming characters. Unlike most fantasy novels, this isn’t about
wielding swords and spells to save the world, but about the power and
wonder of both magic and human relationships. Peri is a likable,
offbeat heroine, and the choice she makes regarding the three men who
come into her life, the magician, the prin...more
Beautifully, breathtakingly woven, as one would expect from Ms. McKillip. The characters are exquisitely fleshed-out and complex, mysterious and lovely, infused with emotions and heart expected of an everyday person, yet with just the barest hint of magic running its current beneath. The prose is absolutely spellbinding, and the conversations compelling, riddled with that simple, effortless, alluring ease that flows so naturally from the author's hand.

May expand more on character thoughts later,...more
Laura Lulu
I just couldn't get past Peri loving a man who was so tormented, who gave her nothing in return--was incapable of giving her any of himself. But she was still in love with him & pined for him when he was gone. Just not my favorite message for the target audience. Save the angst for the older crowd--I prefer children's books when the girl falls for a boy who is actually nice to her and thinks of her and not just poor, poor him.
I had a difficult time rating this one as I'd give it 4.5 stars if it was possible. 5 points was too much though as despite reading it almost at one siting it lacked something. Maybe if I didn't expect this book to have a certain ending I would have given it higher note, I don't know. What I'm certain about is that it was an extraordinary story, I almost felt the sea's smell and wind's blow at my back while reading it... I love stories that take place on the shore, they are somehow exciting for...more
Rebecca Payne
From this book I learned that water dudes are totally HAWT! To hell with vampires!
Il romanzo è molto datato — del 1988 — ma io adoro la penna elegantemente "vecchio stile" della McKillip. Come suggerito dal titolo originale — The Changeling Sea — la storia ruota intorno allo scambio di due bambini, uno dei quali venuto dalle profondità del mare e a questo legato indissolubilmente. È una vicenda semplice, in fin dei conti, pensata per un pubblico giovane, ma piena di belle suggestioni e scritta in modo talmente scorrevole che la si legge tutta d'un fiato. C'è una ragazza un po...more
Mary Catelli
Periwinkle's father drowned at sea. Her mother is lost in her grief, staring out to see. Periwinkle herself works at the inn -- which is very busy when the king stays in his summer home, and still has to be kept neat by winter -- and lives in the hut of an old woman who vanished not long after her mother died. She starts to hex the sea in revenge, which is where the king's son, Kir, happens on her.

He gives her a message to give to the sea when she hexes it, and more consequences ripple outward....more
Ian Mathers
I got this book years ago, and for some reason every time I'd try to read it I'd stall out after five minutes. I got it because the McKillip I'd read (the Riddle-Master series) are among my favourite books ever, so maybe some part of me was worried this one wouldn't measure up. Finally I grabbed it on impulse one morning where I didn't have anything to read on the train and maybe it was the lack of internet distractions but it grabbed me hard. I think I read it in three sittings, and I want to r...more
The heroine, Peri, hates the sea that has drowned her father; Kir, the prince, is strangely drawn to the same sea. When Peri tries to hex the sea's magic, a sea-dragon appears, whose fate is inextricably bound with Peri, Kir, and the mysterious magician Lyo. Peri is a refreshingly different heroine - unkempt and often sullen, but clever and direct - and McKillip's writing is elegant as always.
Well, shoot. This was the perfect book for me at the perfect time. I really loved it. 4.5 stars? Why the hell not! Short and (bitter)sweet but I finished it with a huge smile on my face. Can I just say--8th grade me would have lost her mind over this? I'm so glad that if I couldn't find it then, I found it now. I'm definitely buying a copy for my personal library.
A very good, short story. Almost like a childhood fairy-tale. It reminded me of 'The Little Mermaid' a bit, same kind of atmosphere but the ending was sadder in the original Andersen's version. Patricia A. McKillip leaves us with a new hope for the main characters. It is my first book by this author... I wonder how will I like the others.
Haunting, beautifully written fantasy. I love the subtle, original twists on old legends and poetic language. This reads like an extended fairy tale with clever dialogue and unforgettable characters. I am so happy to have "discovered" Patricia McKillip--she's become one of my new favorite writers.
Such a cute story. I just love how Patricia McKillip writes! This one was geared more toward a younger audience, (I could see myself loving this at 14 or so) but still it was a really good story and I had to read it all in one sitting.
Jessica Robinson
I initially bought Patricia A. McKillip's novels for the cover artwork by Kinuko Y. Craft. Eventually I decided that if the artwork commissioned for these tales was so magical and rich, I ought to give the stories a chance! Boy was I amazed to find that McKillip would become one of my most loved authors!
McKillip weaves completely original fairy tales that are rich, dark and mystical; like the fairy tales of ol'. I found her work to be extremely creative and unique, and refreshing in their origi...more
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Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a past winner of the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award, and she lives in Oregon. Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to David Lunde, a poet.

According to Fantasy Book...more
More about Patricia A. McKillip...
Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy (Riddle-Master, #1-3) The Forgotten Beasts of Eld The Riddle-Master of Hed (Riddle-Master, #1) Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddle-Master, #2) Winter Rose (Winter Rose, #1)

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“Love and anger are like land and sea: They meet at many different places.” 22 likes
“It’s an odd thing, happiness. Some people take happiness from gold. Or black pearls. And some of us, far more fortunate, take their happiness from periwinkles.” 13 likes
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