Given to the Sea

352p. Putnam. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399544613.
Gr 7 Up—The people of the kingdom of Stille enjoy exceptionally long, peaceful lives thanks to the sacrifice of the Given, a young woman who is raised only to have a daughter and then give herself to the sea as an offering. This practice has kept the danger of the sea at bay for many generations. There are challenges to this tradition, however, when the people of Pietra and Fineen start to scheme against the tranquil kingdom of Stille. Life is further complicated when the Given is unexpectedly driven from her home to escape these invading enemies and becomes a guest at the Stille palace. She is confused about her growing feelings for the Stille prince and his adopted brother as well as her role in ensuring the safety of the Stille kingdom. Her emotions, and the entire Given tradition, may be moot with an encroaching sea and a changing environment. The novel is told from four different points of view, and it is initially challenging to connect with any of the many characters. The book is confusing on occasion, as some of the character voices are in the first person and the other perspectives are in the third person. Eventually, the flawed heroes, relatable villains, and creative storytelling will pull in readers. The threads weave together, culminating in an eagerly anticipated conclusion. However, the plot points are addressed quickly, with battles over before they begin and complex love triangles packed up in a few pages.
VERDICT A solid recommendation for romance readers and a good purchase for larger collections.

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