The Changeling Sea
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The Changeling Sea

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  2,625 ratings  ·  171 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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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
Absolutely lovely old-school McKillip. I enjoyed the delicate touch with the magic and the girls' friendships at the inn and that the king took responsibility for the ending and many other things!
This is a sweet fantasy story with a brave heroine, and a clever wizard. It's about love and loss, and being true to who you were born to be. It's one of my favorite books.
Rachel Neumeier
This book is perfect.

If you know someone who says she doesn't like fantasy? Loan her this book.
Wonderful story. So glad I finally managed to pick it up! <3
I love how tangible the setting is.
Peri lives a life of quiet desperation: the sea has taken her fisherman father, and now her mother has grown distant and preoccupied by the sea. She decides to hex the sea as an act of revenge, only to find that that little bit of magic goes haywire and unravels all sorts of things hidden away in the depths of the ocean.

It's a slim novel that is quietly devastating. I was sea-haunted for days after finishing this; McKillip captures the restlessness of the tides and the loneliness of a remote se...more
This is the correct edition.

The main character in this book is a rather poorly educated child, and that's only partly because of a breakdown in her family. The death of her father and what she believes to be the enchantment of her mother by her father's killer (the sea itself) do lead to a breakdown in nurturing. But there doesn't seem to be any organized schooling in the village. There are counting rhymes (used to teach speech to the sea dragon) and other learning techniques. There are even a f...more
Didn't really like this. I couldn't get involved in the story, couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters or what might happen next. Of course it could be argued that this book is aimed at a much younger audience than me - but I've recently decided that this is NO EXCUSE. I've read scores of books for this age group in which the author grabs the reader's attention, no matter their age, from the first line, and maintains a stranglehold on it for the entire book.

But not in this one...more
Paola (A Novel Idea)
Originally posted at A Novel Idea Reviews

Rating: 3/5

When Peri’s fisherman father was lost at sea, she found herself bereaved of both parents. Now her mother does nothing but stare out the window at the breaking waves, and Peri goes to her work at the local inn to scrub floors, blaming the sea for everything that has gone wrong in her life. Having learned some small magic from an old woman who once lived not far from her own cottage, Peri puts together a few awkward hexes and hurls them into the...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) Winter Rose (Winter Rose, #1) Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddle-Master, #2)

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“Love and anger are like land and sea: They meet at many different places.” 21 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.” 12 likes
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