Monday, April 24, 2017

Girl Versus the Unforgiving Sea

Title: Given to the Sea (Given Duet, #1)
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 11th, 2017!

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 the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.

My Review!
I’m actually so disappointed right now I don’t even know what to say. This was neither what I expected nor what I was hoping for in Mindy’s first fantasy novel. It was as readable as her other books, except definitely on the slower side, which did not make this any better. I think the slower pace was a hindrance, because it made the barely-there plot noticeable, and I was looking for more action and found none. This was basically a story wrapped around one girl’s virginity and need to produce a kid before she takes a dive into the waters that *everyone* is so damn afraid of, even herself.

And what’s sad is that I just wanted Khosa to take that fucking dance into the waves and disappear. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her character, but it was that she was so bland with little personality that I wondered how she had not one but two important boys clamoring to be in her presence. She does NOTHING in this book. The only part of her I liked was the fact that she loved books and knowledge. I understood her pain and anger, and I could only imagine what this “tradition” does to a person. But she wasn’t a fighter until pushed, and even by the end, she still just continues to accept her lot in life without dissent.

She was a striking difference to Dara’s character, who was my favorite, probably not altogether the fault of Khosa being so opposite but the way that Mindy wrote the two of them. Here is a girl who survives, who refuses to stay down and who will murder anyone who stands in her way. She is one of the last of her kind, and she is cold and rude and she does not help the people of Stille want to warm up to the Indiris. But she was fascinating and powerful, and I’m so sad that her heart was broken by her childhood friend, the prince. Because after that, her story just kind of washed away and I wanted more from it.

The whole plot of the book revolves around who is going to finally bed Khosa and provide her an heir, to be given to the sea when it’s their time. It creates SUCH romantic drama that I ended up not really caring about either of the two boys that Khosa finds herself attracted to. Donil, Dara’s twin brother, who was by far the more interesting of the two and who was a stark contrast to his sister. He at least had personality, and Vincent was, a bit boring to be honest. I was very annoyed by him, and the back and forth shit between these characters. And while this was all going on, it seemed everyone in Stille forgot about WAR.

The other half of the plot was focused on the political maneuvers between the big kingdoms. A hell of a lot more exciting compared to the issue of the Given. But still not quite enough to get me invested in what was happening. I think part of the problem was also the multiple POVs, when I really only cared about Dara’s. I also did not really get why Witt had a voice, leader of the Pietra, a group of people harsh and unforgiving and set on destroying Stille. I didn’t really find him to add anything to the story. Gah, I don’t know guys. I’m just sad, and disappointed. Given to the Sea was very weird and different, but it didn’t work for me.


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