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Given to the Sea

(Given Duet #1)

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  3,058 ratings  ·  511 reviews
Everyone has a place.

Khosa was born to be fed to the sea, to prevent the kind of wave that once destroyed the Kingdom of Stille. She can’t be sacrificed until she produces an heir, but human touch repulses her…except for the touch of the Indiri.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race with magic that’s seductive—a force of nature—but dwindling since the Pie
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Putnam's Childrens
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Maricel I don't think she is asexual nor is she aromantic. she's attracted to one man though i'm not sure if it's romantic or sexual because the said man is a…moreI don't think she is asexual nor is she aromantic. she's attracted to one man though i'm not sure if it's romantic or sexual because the said man is almost like a 'charmer' and she's sexually drawn to him. on the other hand she's grown quite fond of another man (almost like romantically) yet his touch, even a friendly one, shudders her. Both men's feelings for her are real but hers to either of them are written ambiguously. it's like the writer is not sure herself yet. anyway, her aversion to touch is an inherited trait from her father, but sometimes she can endure touch. I think she doesn't want to be bear a child because of an idea akin to 'breeding' as a duty. she's only 17 and a woman that young may not yet be ready to bear one emotionally, mentally and/nor physically.(less)
Maricel it's a duet according to two books.…moreit's a duet according to two books.(less)

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Average rating 3.19  · 
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 ·  3,058 ratings  ·  511 reviews

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Start your review of Given to the Sea (Given Duet, #1)
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Her eyes, skin, hair—everything that has always been Dara—comes together in a burning moment in which I want her so badly I would take her there on the blood-slicked grass, among the dead, with her brother watching.
Like, ew.

Let me clarify the quote above. It is spoken by a "prince" (more on the quotation marks later), referring to his adopted sister and her twin brother, who is, obviously, his adopted brother also. Double ew.

This was a pretty awful book. I can't even make fun of it or enjoy
Emily May
Apr 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF - 60%

I started reading Given to the Sea late Friday night. I made it through five chapters before I thought "Wait a second - what is going on? What's the story? Who are these people?" Thinking that I must be overtired, I decided to start again in the morning. But the exact same thing happened.

The first problem with this book is the writing. It has other problems too, but it takes a while to dig through the convoluted, messy narrative in order to figure out what they are. McGinnis is clearly

*ARC of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher.*

Actual rating: 1.5 stars

Given to the Sea was one of my anticipated releases after I've read Mindy McGinnis's A Madness So Discreet and heard a lot of good things about her recent The Female of the Species, which I really want to read as well. Given to the Sea is the author's first fantasy novel, and one of the things that really interested me about this book is that it was about the sea, and we don't have enough 'sea' bo

Trina (Between Chapters)
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, young-adult, fantasy
Trigger warning if you need it: This book depicts a scene of attempted rape and examines rape culture in a fantasy setting. There is also some animal cruelty that is mentioned twice.

If you've read anything else by Mindy McGinnis, you know that she writes about social issues. I was surprised by how much of that carried over into her fantasy world. Here, she shows a flawed society full of sexism, racism, and ableism that our main characters have to face. There were some moments I didn't enjoy read
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis
Book One of the Given series
Publisher: Putnam's Childrens
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Rating: 2 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy, ohio-authors
Prepare to dive into a terrifying world where the hungry sea demands human sacrifice and the people are willing to comply—by sacrificing somebody else. The story centers on Khosa, a girl whose sole job is to breed and produce a daughter before she dances into the sea, assuring the survival of those left on dry land. Awkwardly, Khosa seems disinclined to deliver.

McGinnis delivers a tangle of fantasy, love and politics, leavened with veins of dark humor and elements of sly social commentary.

DNF (on page 63)!
“A good person does not necessarily make a good king.”

Spoiler free review!

So this was my first Fairyloot book, April 2017. And unfortunately it wasn’t very successful.

Well I tried. Several times even. But I just have to give this up, it’s just not for me.

The concept was interesting but I don’t think that I would have bought this book on my own. I didn’t like the story of Kosha, the fact that she is solely born to have sex, birth a daughter and die had me really in conflict with
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it

Started strong, lagged a little in the middle, and finished strong. One of the best secondary world YA fantasy novels I've read in last year!

Longer review to come! Thanks to Penguin Teen for the review copy!
Colleen Houck
Extremely creative. I love the different races and peoples of these kingdoms and the complicated politics of this society. I feel like we've just barely scratched the surface of what the Given is and can't wait to see what happens next. ...more
Apr 07, 2015 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
Jade Ratley
Jul 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not worth the time of day. This was a pain to get through, I wanted to DNF so many times, but I needed to finish just to justify my strong feelings against this book.
I felt nothing. The characters were nothing, the world nothing. I had no emotion in this read at all.
Do we want to get started on the love octagon? Yeah, not a triangle, so much worse. I can't even describe the frustration at how poorly it was executed.
Big thumbs down from me. Don't bother.
Kate Quinn
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrifically inventive fantasy novel - unlike anything I've ever read before. The harsh world these characters live in is totally believable and utterly captivating, while the characters (with the novel being told from several different POVs) are fully realized. ...more
Jay G
Jun 14, 2020 rated it liked it
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Khosa was born for one purpose, to be given to the sea as a sacrifice. The sacrifice is meant to be impregnated before she is given, to calm the seas to stop it from destroying the human Kingdom with its waves. Khosa is touch averse, making it difficult for her to fulfill her duties as the Given. The sea calls to her, but she can not go until she breeds a daughter. She is taken to the p
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Actual rating – 2.5 stars

Given to the Sea had a lot of potential but for me personally, it fell short of delivering on that.

The author has built an entirely new world for this story, and while it is impressive and very well thought out, there is a lack of description and actual in-story world-building. As a reader you are essentially just thrown into this world with very little explanation of what the terms used mean and how the world works. I found it to be a little too disjointed. I couldn't
Lauren Stoolfire
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Khosa has been born to be given to the sea, as was her mother and her mother's mother and beyond, as a sacrifice to appease the brutal sea and prevent another wave like the one that once destroyed the Kingdom of Stille hundreds of years ago. However, before she fulfills her purpose she must give birth to an heir to follow in her footsteps in order to secure the kingdom's safety for generations to come. Unfortunately, Khosa can't withstand the touch of anyone except an Indiri. Siblings Dara and D ...more
Aug 15, 2015 rated it did not like it


Did not take long to come to the conclusion that this was just a huge nope for me personally. Was glad though to see that others had very similar reactions for similar reasons.

I'm very disappointed. My first Mindy McGinnis book was Not a Drop to Drink and that was 3 stars. My second was A Madness So Discreet which I LOVED. (5 stars)

Third time was not the charm, because I just can't make myself do this.

A whole string of generations of women from one family who are all compelled to drow
Aug 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
It doesn't happen all that often, but I really disliked this book. And I believe I have good reason to. From the start, it was full of harmful concepts like a massive focus on racial differences, and disabled babies being thrown away to die. Furthermore, nothing about the story had me interested in what would happen, as the main character, whose only purpose in life was to have a child and then drown herself, wasn't exactly the most likeable character, nor were any of the others. This book was a ...more
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
I love Mindy McGinnis both as an author and person, but this book bored me to death. It was hard for me to keep up with the multiple POVs and to actually care about the characters. I really wish I had loved this book as its premise sounded truly interesting.
Rachel  (APCB Reviews)
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-releases
"Given to the Sea" was a pleasant surprise, despite its being completely different from my expectations. It is a solid standalone fantasy novel, but if you're looking for a fun fantasy romp then I recommend you set this book aside for another time.

"Given to the Sea" centers on a land surrounded by a terrifying and merciless sea and the lengths the leaders will go to as they attempt to save their people. Mindy McGinnis did a wonderful job crafting the setting. The world-building was detailed and
Danielle Steenrod
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I really, really did. It took everything in me to finish it. The premise was great and I was excited to read it. As I was reading, I noticed this book was full of sexual references and I became highly frustrated very quickly. I didn't like the way the book focused on this topic. A little bit is fine, but my goodness! Every chapter had a sexual comment about men taking women to bed or something along those lines. I didn't like the message that was sent basically ...more
Apr 02, 2017 marked it as maybe
But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: magic, fantasy, 2019

Not sure how to feel about this one. I mean I love the concept.

Khosa is the given, a girl who dances her way into the sea as a sacrifice so that the waves will not destroy her kingdom. However, she must first give birth to the next girl who will be given to the sea. The problem is she cannot stand even the slightest touch of another. Her village is destroyed and she ends up at the palace where she meets Prince Vincent and his two adopted siblings, Donil and Dara. For the first time she is attra
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Sooooooooo I liked the story . . . but there was A LOT I didn't like.

I don't like how it seemed Vincent forced himself on Kosa. She liked him enough to be his friend, but if she can't stand anyone's touch but Donald and Dara, none but those 2 should attempt to touch her unless to save her life. I hate that Vincent basically ignored his feelings and attraction to Dara all because a shiny new toy (Kosa - who didn't even want him that close) was in front of him. He was like a spoil
I am so sad

This was so disappointing I don't even think I can explain it. I've been looking forward to reading Mindy McGinnis for so long and I thought this sounded amazing but it's not executed particularly well at all.

To be fair, I had misunderstood the premise of this and thought it would be like a political fight in a tower to get away from the rising sea- how it looks on the cover (which frankly is a better idea!) so when it wasn't that I was immediately disappointed. I didn't like th
Starry-Eyed Jen
It's Mindy McGinnis, so duh, I wanted to read it. But as with all her books, I knew going into this one not to expect a happy ending, and so I've put off reading it. Thus, the audiobook from the library, which probably helped since there are so many freaking points of view. I'm loathe to actually read a book when there's more than two perspectives and this one had plenty more than that. The one I really could have done without was Witt's. I understand that what was happening with the Pietrans wa ...more
Michaela (Journey into Books)
Dec 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt)
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
*Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
I've never read anything by Mindy before this but I have to say that this is one of the most unique duets I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The premise, the world, the characters, the romance... they all fascinated me to no end. They brought fresh experiences to the table and I was awestruck from the very first page.
The fact that this book followed 5 different point of views didn't even daunt me. I couldn't even tell you which one
May 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was.. forgettable.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it

Plot: Given to the Sea was a wonderful high fantasy novel that managed to bring the human element to all sides of the conflict. Khosa, like her mother before her, and her mother's mother, was destined to dance to her death to appease the sea gods. Without her sacrifice, the world would be consumed by a giant tsunami, and kingdoms would be lost. People were uneasy around her because she had yet to deliver a child and a neighboring kingdom decided that was the perfect time to invade.

Despite its s
Jul 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
90% sex, 10% actual good content. I've read romance novels less concerned about sex than this book was.

I'm uncertain if McGinnis meant to do a study of rape culture in a fantasy setting, but if she did, Given to the Sea fails miserably.

The truly annoying part, however, is that the world is just interesting enough and the stakes are high enough to be engaging, but the rushed pay off did not make it worth sticking with 300+ pages of "omg he/she is so pretty I wanna have all the sex with them but
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Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning novelist who writes across multiple genres, including post-apocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy.

While her settings may change, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.

Other books in the series

Given Duet (2 books)
  • Given to the Earth (Given Duet, #2)

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