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The Changeling Sea (1988)

by Patricia A. McKillip

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0202515,468 (4.11)61
A floor scrubber and a magician try to help a prince return to his home beneath the sea and help his half brother, a human trapped in the body of a sea monster, return to the land.
  1. 20
    Among Others by Jo Walton (Herenya)
    Herenya: Both stories have a heroine dealing with grief and the sometimes-loneliness of being 15.
  2. 00
    Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood by Meredith Ann Pierce (beyondthefourthwall)
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» See also 61 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
I've been making my way through all of Patricia A. McKillop's fairy tale fantasies and I think this one may just be my favorite. ( )
  auldhouse | Sep 30, 2021 |
A lovely fairy tale about the sea, unusually easy to follow for a McKillip book and with the usual lovely language. I have put it on my list of books to re-read. ( )
  dmturner | Jun 29, 2020 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Changeling Sea
Series: ----------
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 142
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:


Peri's father went to sea in his rowboat and only his boat returned. Her mother has retreated inside herself and Peri is angry at life itself. She leaves her mother's house and lives in a shack by the sea where an old woman taught her the fine art of hexing. Peri creates as many hexes as she can think of and one day throws them all into the sea and hexes the sea for stealing her father.

The King of the Island and his son Kir come into their summer residence and Peri meets Kir one night on the beach. He confesses that he has found out he is a changeling and part sea creature. He desires to go to the sea but can't find the way. Peri is interested against her will. Then a monstrous sea creature is seen with a golden chain around its neck. The villagers hire a magician, Lyo, to tame the sea monster and take the golden chain for them. Lyo gets Peri to help him and accidentally turns the golden chain into a rain of periwinkle flowers. Nobody is very happy with Lyo, who disappears.

The next night Peri is at her shack when she sees the sea monster approaching the shore. It comes onto the shore and turns into a young man, very like Kir in appearance but golden where Kir is dark. This young man can only repeat words he has heard and so Peri begins to teach him words. But each night before the sun rises this golden prince returns to the sea and his monstrous form. Peri is bewildered and Lyo reveals himself to her. They figure out that the golden boy is the prince by the King's dead wife who was taken by the Queen of the Sea, who was the lover of the King. She substituted her own son, Kir. Now each son is yearning to return to their native element but neither can figure out how.

Peri, with help from Lyo, solves the mystery. Her hex worked and it was so powerful that it hexed the whole sea. Peri unhexes the sea and that allows them to commune with the Sea Queen and Kir can return to the sea while the golden prince can return to the land. Peri realizes how powerful she is and Lyo says he'll stick around to help her out.

My Thoughts:

Very enjoyable, very short and one of the most “romance'y” of McKillip's books. While not Harlequin Romance or even most Paranormal Romance level, this was on the edge of what I'd be willing to read. That is about the only caveat I have for this book.

The shortness of this book really struck me this time. I started it one evening during the week and I was done the next night. It was kind of nice actually. I felt like I had gotten a small personal pan pizza instead of some huge buffet. Just enough to get a good taste but not enough to satiate or make you sick of it. Gluttony of words by authors is as much a sin, as far as I'm concerned, as is actual gluttony.

This lacked something, a richness I guess, that I'm used to in McKillip's writing and that is why I'm only giving it 4 stars. Still, that is a Star upgrade from 2007. If you like McKillip's other books, you'll like this. Whether you'll like it more, less or the same as her other books will depend on your personal tastes.

★★★★☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Jun 17, 2019 |
Set on the shore and suffused with the susurrus of the sea this tale of longings with magical force is familiar as old shoes and as new as a firework. ( )
  quondame | Apr 13, 2019 |
a story about a fisher girl, a magician, and two princes's. One born of the Land, one of the Sea and how everything is straightened out in the end. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
The story inside is small, but potent, like a well-crafted spell. It makes perfect sense, but it's fairy tale sense, not reasonable sense.
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia A. McKillipprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flerova, ElenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan,MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jean Karl
First words
No one really knew where Peri lived the year after the sea took her father and cast his boat, shrouded in a tangle of fishing net, like an empty shell back onto the beach.
Quotations
Peri, working her mop desultorily, found herself daydreaming. Distant isles on the top of the world, past the glaciers and the icebergs, past the winter lands, past winter itself, gleamed like summer light in her head. Magical isles, where fruit was forever ripe and sweet, and the warm air smelled of roses. Lands deep in the sea, where entire cities were made of pearls, and men and women wore garments of fish scales that floated about them in soft, silvery clouds.
She felt him quiet against her. He turned slowly, shakily, on his knees to face her. He put his arms around her wearily, his hands twined in her hair, his chilled face against her face. He did not speak again; he held her until the tide roared around them, between them, forcing them to choose between land and sea, to go, or stay forever.
"Magic is like night, when you first encounter it."

"Night?" she said doubtfully. She skipped a beat with one oar and the Sea Urchin spun a half-circle.

"A vast black full of shapes ..." He trailed his fingers overboard and the Sea Urchin turned its bow toward the horizon again. "Slowly you learn to turn the dark into shapes, colors.... It's like a second dawn breaking over the world. You see something most people can't see and yet it seems as clear as the nose on your face. That there's nothing in the world that doesn't possess its share of magic. Even an empty shell, a lump of lead, an old dead leaf—you look at them and learn to see, and then to use, and after a while you can't remember ever seeing the world any other way."
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A floor scrubber and a magician try to help a prince return to his home beneath the sea and help his half brother, a human trapped in the body of a sea monster, return to the land.

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