Review: The Silver Sea

Review: The Silver SeaThe Silver Sea by Julia Golding
Published by Marshall Cavendish on September 24, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, Mythology, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-half-stars

A raid on a Viking village leaves 16-year-old Freydis seriously injured and her older brother Toki taken prisoner by the attacking pirates. When their father returns to what is left of the village, he gives Freydis an African slave, who is called Blue Man for his blue-black skin. Freydis and Blue Man are left with a neighboring tribe while her father pursues the pirates. Toki manages to escape, but he, Freydis, and Blue Man are set on a collision course with the pirate king. This engaging historical tale features plenty of rousing adventure and some hard truths about love—both familial and romantic. There are also passages that encourage readers to be tolerant of cultures other than their own. Golding includes a brief author’s note that describes the historical facts at the root of the story and a short glossary that helps with the characters’ references to Norse mythology. This addition to the growing number of Norse and Viking tales will be enjoyed by fans of Judson Roberts’ Strongbow Saga or Tim Severin’s Odinn’s Child.

First thing, which really does not matter at all, is that I cannot figure out why they changed the name of the book. The new name, Silver Sea, does not really have any correlation to the story. Yes, they spend a lot of time sailing on the waters, which are probably silver sometimes when the light shines off of them the right way, but there is actually a prophecy in the story referred to as ‘Wolf Cry.’ Pointless change is pointless

Last year, I read my first book by Julia Golding: Dragonfly. Although the story was largely predictable, I loved it. The characters were engaging and felt like real people. (And the P&Pish nature of the romance held appeal too.) I expected this book to be much the same: predictable, but quite enjoyable and clever in spite of that.

Well, I was wrong. I totally thought I knew what was going to happen. But I was wrong. For one thing, I didn’t get the super happy ending that I was expecting. Most books for teens end pretty happily, although I can name a good selection that don’t, although most are somewhere in the middle of a series or a dystopia. In this instance, the sad ending does make for a more realistic story given the setting. Still, I was rooting for the characters and hoped all the good people would get to have everything they wanted and the bad people die.

Julia Golding writes strong women, although not necessarily physically strong. They are clever, resourceful and determined. Although I recommend Dragonfly more than Silver Sea, I will definitely be reading more Julia Golding and think she is a fantasy author well worth trying.

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