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The Changeling Sea

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  4,923 ratings  ·  375 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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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,923 ratings  ·  375 reviews

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Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a dull place the world would be if all the mysteries in it were solved.


Whenever I think about this novel, I feel warm. I feel at home.
This is the book that made me fall in love with reading, the very first one I bought with my own savings, more than 10 years ago.
It took me half an afternoon to finish it and, once I was done, I immediately went and reread it, skipping homework and totally forgetting about the world outside.
I remember I found it magical and beautiful, simple and ye
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Nov 02, 2015 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
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, 2018, favorites
"Come out of the sea and into my heart
My dark, my shining love.
Promise we shall never part,
My dark, my singing love."

This is no ordinary book. It is a key to another realm. I journeyed through the labyrinthine pathways of her heart to enter a secret world full of magic and beauty. And I am forever changed.

I have always been a creature of the sea. My soul heard her song and found it's way to her shore. She gives me shelter from the storm. Her heart keeps me warm.

Thank you, Lia, for sharing this
Dec 26, 2015 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
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another winning tale by Patricia McKillip. This is only the second book I've read by her, but I'm convinced she can do no wrong. There's something delightful and magical about the way she writes that pulls me into her stories, and I don't surface until the last page is turned.

It doesn't happen often to me, but once in awhile I come across a book and wish I was young again to enjoy it with an open, less burdened mind, and to enjoy it in the spirit it was written and, just for a moment, be its tar
Oct 18, 2011 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
Dec 28, 2014 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 fortu
Feb 16, 2011 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
Nov 20, 2012 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:/
The Shayne-Train
My daughter and I both enjoyed this book about magic, loss, loneliness, and people wishing for things they can't have and to be things they can't be.

There were some pretty heady concepts in here, and some nicely complex language. The little one ate it up like shrimp chowder with a spoon. And, y'know, I kinda did, too.
Apr 21, 2010 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
Laura Lulu
Dec 15, 2009 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. ...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
Aug 12, 2014 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
Em Lost In Books
Jul 27, 2014 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
Lara Mi

"Only the black pearl in her pocket told her that mystery had come into her life and gone, leaving her stranded at the tide's edge, yearning."

The Changeling Sea was absolutely mesmerising. It was actually one of the earliest books recommended to me here on GoodReads, along with the author Patricia McKillip in general. For some reason, I've always felt rather reluctant to read her books. The summaries, cover arts and reviews of all her works seemed as though they held stories I would love - but
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, good-uns, fantasy
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. But ...more
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
An emotionally rich, well-plotted sea yarn from a generally excellent fantasy author. The half-human/half-otherwordly love triangle reminds me more than a little of Robin McKinley's Hero and the Crown, particularly in the way the afterlife is evoked to allow for a layered resolution; the debonair young wizard character has a whiff of Diana Wynne Jones's Howl about him, and the rustically witchy protagonist a whiff of Jones's Sophie, with her talent for "talking life into things"; the heart-tuggi ...more
Jun 09, 2008 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
This is a gem of a book! It's compelling, magical and very unpredictable!
It is the 4th book I've read from Patricia A. McKillip and I love the dreamlike quality of her writing.
I am wavering between 4 and 5 stars and deciding on 4 only because I usually only give 5 stars to book I read read and still love.
It is absolutely beautiful and Id recommend it to everyone who loves fairy tales.
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'd give this all the starfish in the sea if I could! It's the perfect introduction for anyone new to McKillip's work: it's short but absolutely amazing, it's in print, and it's inexpensive!

"The old woman had made her living weaving. When Peri was younger, she would come to sit at the woman's side and watch the shuttle dart in and out of the loom. The old woman told stories then, strange, wonderful tales of a land beneath the sea where houses were built of pearls, and a constant, powdery shower
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.
Feb 19, 2014 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
Jun 15, 2009 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.
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
SO GOOD. I loved it. The feels man.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Shinjini by: Em Lost In Books
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 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
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
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
Lisa Brown
Jul 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
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
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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

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