Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Changeling Sea” as Want to Read:
The Changeling Sea
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Changeling Sea

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  3,237 ratings  ·  217 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 s
Paperback, 137 pages
Published April 14th 2003 by Firebird (first published October 1st 1988)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Changeling Sea, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Changeling Sea

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine LeavittThe Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne JonesSummers at Castle Auburn by Sharon ShinnThe Seer and the Sword by Victoria HanleyFire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
Hidden Gems: YA-Fantasy Novels
38th out of 1,222 books — 3,051 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. TolkienThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyDaughter of the Forest by Juliet MarillierThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Best of Mythic Fiction
41st out of 433 books — 558 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
Dec 29, 2014 Susana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes to read a well written fantasy story
Recommended to Susana by: Isa Lavinia
Heart-breaking, atmospheric and unforgettable.
This story was all I could ask for, and more.
It doesn't need three hundred or four hundred pages, much of them filled with boring details to tell its story.
It slowly arrives, it tells its tale, it imprints it in our hearts and minds, and calmly goes away...

A coming of age punctuated by loss and finding what's important in one's live.

"It’s an odd thing, happiness. Some people take happiness from gold. Or black pearls. And some of us, far more fortuna
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
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
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
3.5 stars.

A delightfully bittersweet tale of magicians, sea dragons, old and new love, lost princes and, above all, periwinkles.

It's my first Patricia A. McKillip. I searched all over for fantasy books that might inspire me now that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and I've decided to dabble in a fantasy novel that has been with me since the 9th grade. Crazy, I know.

Ms. McKillip has such a talent with prose. Her descriptions were beautifully vivid and, while I didn't really connect with the
Rosalyn Eves
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.
Jan 29, 2015 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
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
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
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,
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.
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 was the first young adult fantasy novel I've read in a while. I picked it up because one of my Goodreads buddies loved it and I'm glad I did! It was a very nice, if emotionally haunting tale.

This is the story of a lowly scullery maid named Peri who lives by the sea. As someone who has recently moved near the coast, I am starting to understand the mythical quality of the sea. No one truly understands it and thus it holds endless fascination for us.

In Changeling Sea, the story starts off with
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 think I need to devote a shelf primarily to books that stir that old magpie instinct within me.

This is definitely one of them. There are spools and strands of words underlined in my Kindle. I feel beautiful words and fantastic images down to my very bones.

Mini-review will be coming up soon on my Flights of Fantasy progress post.
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.
Heather *Thermonuclear Bomb of Death*
Gorgeous writing, and I liked that Peri was a regular girl with regular to no skills, and that (view spoiler), but overall ... meh.
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!

3.5 stars

Peri, daughter of a fisherman lost to the sea, meets Prince Kir, who has his own strange ties to the sea. When a sea dragon with a gold chain appears, she tries to unravel the mystery with the help of an enigmatic magician.

The first Patricia McKillip book I read was The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. I didn't care for it, and mostly found it dull. I think I considered The Throme of the Erril of Sherrill, but the strange title put me off. Somehow, though, some years lat
Very poetic.

I like books that make my thoughts all quiet and almost still - like the calmest, the most gentle waves on the sea.

McKillip's sense of magic resonates strongly with my soul. No wonder she is one of my favourite authors.

I don't know that I would be very vocal in recommending this book.
I would, however, be quietly insistent (and persistent) that you give it a fair shot. It would be absolutely worth it.

To me, this book is very personal.
Not because of the events or emotions or people, n
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Changeover
  • The Folk Keeper
  • Tamsin
  • Summers at Castle Auburn
  • The Door in the Hedge
  • Magician's Ward (Mairelon, #2)
  • Nobody's Son
  • The Perilous Gard
  • On Fortune's Wheel (Kingdom, #2)
  • Thomas the Rhymer
  • A College of Magics (A College of Magics, #1)
  • A Fistful of Sky  (LaZelle, #1)
  • Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Black Unicorn (Unicorn, #1)
  • The Seer and the Sword (Healer and Seer, #1)
  • Black Thorn, White Rose
  • Fudoki
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 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) Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master, #3)

Share This Book

“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.” 14 likes
More quotes…