Changelings, warlocks, seafaring and sirens this book has it all! I thoroughly enjoy a good sea-based adventure so I was thrilled to be able to give Across the Darkling Sea a try. How did it turn out? I’m glad you asked…
Magic is forbidden in Brielle, but that never stopped Evelyn. Until Now. Because Evelyn has discovered she is magic, and now she is running for her life.
Her only hope is on an island cloaked in shadow, an island of dark magic and even darker beasts. An island warlocks call home.
Evelyn’s friends have turned against her, her own mother tried to kill her, and the place she calls home has banished her. Hidden away in the belly of a riverboat, a stowaway, her journey begins.
Content note: Mention of rape and sexual assault.
Ok I am not the best at writing summaries but this honestly does nothing to convey the actually quite cool concepts this book covers. Evelyn is a changeling, the result of powerful magic and every morning when she wakes up she has forgotten everything from before she was ‘made’ and has to remind herself who and what she is. It’s like a more serious version of Fifty First Dates. For me this was the most interesting part of her character and I am surprised it isn’t in this summary as I think it would draw more people to read the book.
But anyway, what can I say about Across the Darkling Sea? Well, for one thing it isn’t very long. I finished this in a couple of hours which is short even for me. If you’re on the lookout for a quick read then this will definitely suit you. I think part of that was the fact that this was the first book in the series and it does a lot of setting up of the world in which the action takes place and what our character’s goal is. I was surprised it ended where it did as the story as a whole felt very incomplete, I don’t think Evelyn (or ‘Ling’) grew very much in this book which was disappointing because I at least expect some change to occur throughout a novel, even if it is mostly just setting things up for the future.
But I did think this book had some really cool concepts, the ‘amnesia’ the different types of magic and some of the settings were incredibly creative and powerful ideas that I genuinely did appreciate. What I was left with, however, was the feeling that these ideas could have been used more. I wanted more descriptions of the darkling sea and the creatures within, I wanted her daily forgetting to have been more of an issue, it just felt a little gratuitous in this story, I wanted more magic to be wielded throughout the book or else you might as well not have magic?
One word of warning, there is very nearly a rape scene in this book (attention authors, please stop adding rape and sexual assault to your books for no reason it adds little to nothing to the plot and it devalues your story and makes it impossible for some people to read, thankyou).
I think this a great example of a creative author with a lot more to show, it may be that the sequel has everything I am looking for, I wonder if the sequel and this first book perhaps ought to have been squashed together just to give the story a bit more length and a bit more to get your teeth into.
At any rate, if you enjoy stories with interesting concepts, seafaring and magic you will probably have fun with Across the Darkling Sea. There’s not much I can say to actually fault this book, I just think the ideas had more potential than was actually used.
My rating: 4/5 stars (one star knocked off but all in all this was an enjoyable – if swift – read)
By the way, I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What do you think? Is this the kind of book that you like to read? Can you think of any other books that just don’t quite live up to their potential? Comment below!
I can’t wait to hear from you