Bani M's Reviews > Aria of the Sea

Aria of the Sea by Dia Calhoun
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Oct 12, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: books-finished, books-finished-2010, manga

(*Rating edited- I've changed my mind, this one deserves a 4/5*) Though the Amazon page indicates this book as being aimed at 10-12 year olds, I think it would entertain older readers and many with an interest in YA. The vocabulary is fairly wide and expressive, the atmosphere has a fantastical charm to it though the book is not fantasy. There are some interesting supernatural elements but at its heart, this is a coming of age tale that centers around the heroine's tumultuous journey from childhood to nearing adulthood and the moral dilemmas to be sorted out along the way. The heroine is Cerinthe, an amateur healer living a commoner's life in an idyllic village town. This all changes after her mother's untimely death and final wish- to see her daughter become a fantastic artist, a dancer. Cerinthe is determined to see it through and enrolls in a prestigious, dreamy academy for privileged young dancers. She has clashing social status with many of the people here, especially with Elliana- a rich, lonely, callous, horribly jealous and conniving girl who makes for an intense and compelling rival. If after the years pass I remember nothing else of this book, I expect at least the slight pinch of remembered frustration caused by Elliana's sharp tongue and evil tricks. And also a little bit of yearning for more facets of the character to be revealed. There are other characters of note- a sweet and kindly young maid who becomes a dear friend, a young man who has an awkward almost-romance with Cerinthe, an older girl who seems on the cusp of having it all but has her own inner turmoil, and others. Lots of surprises along the way and a brisk pace. This seems to be a well-edited book, the chapters are laid out sensibly and fly by. The ending is pretty good and overall this is an empowering book for girls and young women. As for why I have little more than praise for the novel and only give it 3 stars.. that's hard to explain. Something about the writing style is not gripping enough despite the briskness. And I guess I didn't come to love the main character enough. The only thing that really grabbed was Elliana's awfulness and the intensity of the rivalry between she and Cerinthe, the propensity for an evolving relationship. A Cerinthe and Elliana novel with romantic inclinations might get a 5 out of 5 from me, heh. Anyway to wrap things up, still willing to try other books by this author. I know this is only one book but I can already tell she deserves more popularity.
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