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The Changeling Sea

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,824 Ratings  ·  271 Reviews
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 sea. And suddenly into her drab life come the King's sons—changelings with strange ties ...more
Paperback, 137 pages
Published April 14th 2003 by Firebird (first published October 1st 1988)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 27, 2015 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015

"What have you done?" she asked herself aloud. "What have you done?" She answered herself a few moments later. "I've gone and fallen in love with the sea."

Patricia McKillip should give lessons in how to write fantasy romance - imaginative, charming, balancing a tear with a smile, loneliness with selflessness, poetry with the prose of day to day living. She is one of the most consistent writers of modern fairytales I have come across, her lyrical style immediately identifiable, yet bri
Dec 30, 2015 Kaora rated it it was amazing
My goal for next year was to read more female fantasy authors. I started this a tad bit early, but was unable to put it down. I hope I find more authors like this while achieving my goal!

I don't normally like books with romance in them. Especially romance books that are also Young Adult. This book was way out of my comfort zone being shelved under both.

But the writing was so well done and the tale so beautiful that I enjoyed this one immensely.

Everyone who tells the tale of a sea- journey, or li
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
Nov 08, 2013 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
May 16, 2011 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Dec 29, 2014 Susana rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 29, 2016 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I first read a book by Patricia McKillip about three years ago and decided I must read more of her work. This has proven to be an excellent life choice since it's introduced me to books like The Changeling Sea, a beautifully written (and short stand alone!) fantasy story with themes of love and loss. The combination of legendary occurrences and everyday life by the sea is handled masterfully, and I added this memorable book to my favorites shelf immediately after finishing it.

Full Review: http:/
Aug 25, 2014 Srividya rated it really liked it
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
Jul 18, 2012 Krystle rated it really liked it
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
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
Dec 10, 2014 Manju rated it really liked it
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
Jun 18, 2010 Angie rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-uns, ya
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 liked it
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
Oct 29, 2014 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 05, 2009 Cathy rated it it was amazing
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.
Rosalyn Eves
Jan 16, 2009 Rosalyn Eves rated it it was amazing
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!
Jul 10, 2014 Nafiza rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, books-i-own
SO GOOD. I loved it. The feels man.
Jan 29, 2015 Shinjini rated it really liked it
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
Rachel Brown
Jul 25, 2012 Rachel Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
Apr 09, 2012 gloglo rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 24, 2014 Keertana rated it liked it
Shelves: why-the-hype
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
Aug 02, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
Jan 01, 2016 puppitypup rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales, fantasy
Fairytale Wonderful!

Oh, I had forgotten how beautiful Ms. McKillip's writing is.

Reading this book made me feel like I was a little girl again, reading a fairytale. The sense of wonder and yearning and impossible odds, just beautiful. And the writing! I was hi-lighting almost every other paragraph by the end. Plus we have sea monsters! just doesn't get any better than this :)

The story is clean.
Laura Lulu
Nov 30, 2010 Laura Lulu rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 03, 2016 Kerry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ya, reread, 10, 2008
The Changeling Sea - Patricia A. McKillip
YA Fantasy; reread; 10/10
When I realised I couldn't manage to read some of the more detailed books I had on the TBR at this time, I went down to the library room and pulled out some old favourites that I'd like to reread. The Changeling Sea has always been my favourite Patricia McKillip novel but I hadn't reread it in years. I was a little concerned it might not stand up to a reread, but it it absolutely did. This is just a gorgeous story about love and l
Feb 16, 2016 Cathie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every fantasy reader and those who like truth in their fairy tales
Short novel that I did not read quickly because it seemed to pull me into it's world where I wanted to linger and look and stay with the things that were occurring. It seemed to need me to reflect.

This is a story about a girl and her mother who are lost to memories,
a prince, a king, a mage, a sea dragon
and the sea herself.

If you love fantasy and magic and the sea and you have experienced the loss of someone you love and have felt the heart's desire to seek revenge on that which took the thing
Grace Troxel
Dec 27, 2015 Grace Troxel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

I picked up a tattered paperback of The Changeling Sea at a used book sale in part because I love McKillip’s ethereal writing style, and in part because of the gorgeous Michael Whelan cover. Like most of McKillip’s work, The Changeling Sea reads like a fairy tale or a bedtime story; it’s short, enchanting, and filled with wonder.

Peri (short for Periwinkle) lives in tiny fishing village.

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
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.
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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.

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“Love and anger are like land and sea: They meet at many different places.” 25 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.” 18 likes
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