Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly: A Review

Sea Spell (book 4) by Jennifer Donnelly

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Cover Rating: 9/10 it’s gorgeous! One of my favorite things about this series is the covers. They are stunning. The black and white with jacket to give Astrid the look of her personality it’s so well done. Eye catching for sure.

Publish Date: June 14th, 2016

Number of Pages: 357

Received: thrift store buy

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

At the end of Dark Tide, Book 3 in the Waterfire Saga, Astrid leaves her mermaid friends to confront her ancestor, Orfeo, the evil force behind the rise of the monster Abbadon. Orfeo possesses one of the talismans that the merls need in order to keep the monster locked up forever. But without the ability to songcast, how will Astrid be able to defeat the most powerful mage in history? Meanwhile, Serafina and her Black Fins train goblin troops for battle against her uncle Vallerio’s death riders. Will Sera ever see her beloved home–and her beloved Mahdi–again, or will the Volneros take over the mer realms while Orfeo takes on the gods themselves? Nothing less than the fate of the underwater world is at stake in this breathtaking finale.

Opening Sentence: “Manon Laveau, regal on her throne of twining cypress roots, regarded the merman before her.”

Musings:

You know a book is solid when it’s been two years between the time you read one book to the next and your not confused at all when your reading again and being reintroduced into the world. That in itself is an accomplishment. I’m in love with this riveting story about friendship and magic and doing anything to make things right in a time that is going terribly wrong.

What I loved:

The world itself! Jennifer does an amazing job at making you feel like your truly underwater. Her world building is incredible. There is no filler and every detail adds to the story in such a rich way.

The sisterhood! These girls have gone through so much over the course of this series. They’ve had drama between each other, two of them basically acted as enemies for a while, and together they’ve experienced so much loss. Through it all they’ve become so strong together and nothing could tear apart their friendship. They’ve lifted each other up and pushed each other to be the best versions of themselves. It’s such a beautiful thing of hope to see.

These lines:

I love great romance! These lines were so good especially in the deeper context of the rest of the story. Made my chest glow in joy. Had to take pictures and send them to my partner with the excitement I felt reading! I love these storylines!

The romance is there, but not at all central to the plot. The romances in this book are great and lovely, but the focus is centered around the girls friendship and their quest to save their realms from great evil. It makes me smile to see a book that has such a wonderful balance to it like Sea spell does.

The pets! I swear I love a book with pets. Plus, these ones are so unique. For example, the adorable octopus Opie owned by Marcos. I love it so much!

All in all:

I don’t want to be too spoilery in a review on a fourth book in a series. I’m just going to say that I greatly enjoyed Sea Spell. It was truly magical.

About the Author:

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of the adult novels The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose, as well as the young adult novels These Shallow Graves, Revolution, and A Northern Light, winner of Britain’s prestigious Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, and a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award. She lives and writes full-time in Upstate New York. You can visit her at jenniferdonnelly.com or follow @JenWritesBooks on Twitter.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

Dark Tide: A Review

Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 10 out of 10! These covers always look beautifully illustrated, but i know for a fact that they are not, well not completely. I think that it is so evocative and beautiful. Plus, it’s a beautiful look of diversity on this cover. I love it!

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publish Date: October 13th, 2015

Number of Pages: 392 pages

Received: Christmas of 2016

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Please note this is a book 3

Once a lost and confused princess, Serafina is now a confident leader of the Black Fin Resistance (BFR). While she works on sabotaging her enemy and enlisting allies for battle, her friends face challenges of their own. Ling is in the hold of Rafe Mfeme’s giant trawler, on her way to a prison camp. Becca meets up with Astrid and learns why the Ondalinian mermaid is always so angry: she is hiding a shameful secret. Ava can’t return home, because death riders await her arrival. And it is getting more and more difficult for Mahdi, Serafina’s betrothed, to keep up the ruse that he is in love with Lucia Volerno. If Lucia’s parents become suspicious, his life–and all of Sera’s hopes–will be extinguished. Political intrigue, dangerous liaisons, and spine-tingling suspense swirl like a maelstrom in this penultimate book in the WaterFire saga.

Opening Sentence: “The mermaids sword glinted in the watery twilight of Tanner’s Deeps.”

Musings:

I read this book last moth pretty much a year after I had completed. the first two books and it felt like fitting into the perfect fit of shoes. My memory of what had past came quickly and the world, characters, and development felt better then ever. If that isn’t proof of some fabulous storytelling I don’t know what is.

What I Loved:

It felt brand new. Despite my familiarity with these characters and how they think and act I experienced them as new people, all had been transformed by their previous experience and they each took on new identities in my mind. I loved seeing that every character had grown from there unique fears and personal flaws. They all still remained flawed, but they all made the decision at different points to change and I found that admirable.

The world description. Every single one of thee novels has such lush writing and description. You feel immersed in the novel like it is a place you could go to if only you could swim well enough.

The adventure. I am so attracted to these novels because they always take me on a journey like no other. It makes me feel like a kid dreaming of lost land and hoping for a grand and beautiful destiny for my future. It is a glorious adventure this story tells indeed.

The love. Family, friendship, and romance, you get all kinds of love in this series. The best of all is that it grows and evolves over the course of the novels. It always reads as wholly authentic and genuinely felt.

I always want to know more. I always want to live in this world and see where it takes me. There is one more book in this series and as sad as it is I think I’m ready to take it on.

Final Thought:

Jennifer Donnelly shows that she is brilliant in every book she writes and this book is no exception. I adore Dark Tide and I feel sorry I didn’t read it sooner.

About the Author:

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of eleven novels – Lost in a Book, These Shallow Graves, Sea Spell, Dark Tide, Rogue Wave, Deep Blue, Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose – and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History.

Thanks for reading! Let me now your thoughts down in the comments.

_Till next time!

A Northern Light Review 2016

A Northern Light By Jennifer Donnelly

My Rating: 5 glowing stars

Publisher: Harcourt

Published: April 1, 2003

Recieved: Trift store find

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository


Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace’s drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Jennifer Donnelly’s astonishing debut novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

“A Northern Light” is a book that I never expected to fall in love with. I had put off reading it for several months thinking that it wouldn’t be my cup of tea, but I took a chance on it because I had read other books from Jennifer Donnelly and loved them. I am so glad I did, this book is phenomenal. The unique way it was written and the soul of the book spoke to me. I will admit that because I was unsure of how I would feel reading this book, it took me about 30 pages or so to get into it, far longer than it should have taken, but once I was hooked, I was a goner.

There were lives in those books, and deaths. Families and friends and lovers and enemies. Joy and despair, jealousy, envy, madness, and rage. All there. I reached out and touched the cover of one called The Earth. I could almost hear the characters inside, murmuring and jostling, impatient for me to open the cover and let them out.

This book is a book for the readers soul. The way Mattie describes her love of books is so true to how I feel. Her desire to be a writer, is a desire of my own. I have never related to a character as strongly as I have to Mattie. Her desire to love, read books, and write novels and poetry are the same desires I harbor in my own heart and it created a connection to this book that I haven’t felt for another in years. 

And I knew in my bones that Emily Dickinson wouldn’t have written even one poem if she’d had two howling babies, a husband bent on jamming another one into her, a house to run, a garden to tend, three cows to milk, twenty chickens to feed, and four hired hands to cook for. I knew then why they didn’t marry. Emily and Jane and Louisa. I knew and it scared me. I also knew what being lonely was and I didn’t want to be lonely my whole life. I didn’t want to give up on my words. I didn’t want to choose one over the other. Mark Twain didn’t have to. Charles Dickens didn’t.

The fear in these words spoke to me. They broke my heart. The unfairness of it all with having to choose between not wanting to be alone and chasing your dreams when others (mostly makes) before didn’t have to, is a tragedy. The way Jennifer wrote this piece is disarming, howling babies, chickens, cows, and hired hands to feed, the sheer amount of duties a women had to undertake in a marriage was and still is an incredible amount. How does one have the time to do it all and pursue a dream on top of it all? 

Go round cringing like a dog, Matt,” he said, “and folks will treat you like one. Stand up like a man, and they’ll treat you like a man.” That was fine for Weaver, but I wondered sometimes, How exactly do you stand up like a man when you’re a girl?

My favorite character after Mattie was Weaver. He was an African American that was strong and true, who loved books as much as Matt did and I loved every minute of their friendship. Their word games and easy way with one another was wonderful. I loved how Weaver never backed down from what was right even if it got him into a lot of trouble. I loved that he believed in Mattie just as much as he believed in himself and he was always there for her and she for him when need be. Their friendship was true and I don’t see that often in books. 

I also loved how Weaver wanted Mattie to pursue her dreams so badly that he was willing to be honest and tell her why she shouldn’t be with Royal, the love interest in this book that I felt wasn’t the match for Mattie. 

Royal is Mattie’s handsome neighbor that is interested only in being a farmer. I disliked how he treated Mattie, but I think the point of her romance with him is to show that no matter what others think that heart desires what it desires and it’s not for anyone to say tell you who you are meant to like. 

Thoughts on the Author’s Note: 

Jennifer’s words at the end of the novel made me smile, because she wrote this story out of grief for the death of a good soul, the soul of Grace Brown. She wanted to give Grace’s life more meaning then what was previously given and I admire Jennifer so much for that. Jennifer definitely accomplished that goal by telling her stories and creating care inside the hearts of readers. She definitely inspired me to care and that is beautiful.

Final Thoughts: 

I could go on about this book for ages, but to say more would spoil the experience. If your reading this, you probably love books, so I hope you give this one a try. If it doesn’t leave your heart soaring with your love for books, well, I don’t know of any other books themed around books that could top the feeling of this one. It is glorious, hopeful, true, and masterfully imagined. Please find it in your heart to give it a try. 

-Till next time!