Sunday, June 17, 2012

ARC Review: Call of the Sea by Rebecca Hart + Giveaway

Title:  Call of the Sea
Author:  Rebecca Hart
Pages:  278
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Inkspell Publishing
Obtained:  From Publicist for Blog Tour
Summary:  Elysandra Winters has always yearned for a life of adventure on the rolling seas and is willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill her dream. When her Privateer father continually refuses to allow his only daughter to sail, Ellie defies him, disguises herself as a boy, and goes in search of a captain who will give her a chance to prove her worth.

Thanks to the cursed selkie blood coursing through his veins, Daniel O'Rourke needs the sea to survive. After giving up on his humanity and spending three years in seal form, he decides to give his human side another chance. Daniel goes in search of a job and a sense of normalcy, earning himself a position aboard Captain Winters' ship, The Siren's Call. However, his new captain's first assignment has nothing at all to do with sailing, and everything to do with his headstrong young daughter.

Years later, when the leader of a band of bloodthirsty pirates murders Captain Winters, Daniel and Elysandra's lives come crashing back together with the force of a hurricane. Both experts in deception, they must find a way to trust each other if they are to have any hope of hunting down the captain's killer.

The Dish:  All Elysandra Winters desires to do is to sail the seas aboard her father's ship, The Siren's Call. The sea is in her blood and even as a child, Ellie can hear it calling to her. However, her father has other plans for his fiery daughter when he hires young Daniel O'Rourke as the new cabin boy to serve on The Siren's Call. When Ellie doesn't take this news well, Captain Winters gives a new task to Daniel which in turn further entwines the paths of his daughter and his new cabin boy over the next ten years.

Ellie is one of the most headstrong and stubborn heroines I have had the opportunity to find in a debut title. She knows what she wants and she's willing to do what it takes in order to get what she wants, even if it means disobeying her father. I admire Ellie for that trait, yet it's also a bit worrisome that it will make her blunder into danger. This is actually why she has someone like Daniel to help look after her, especially since he is nearly as stubborn as her. I was smitten with Daniel right from his introduction until the very last page from his loyalty to Captain Winters to his growing fondness of Ellie. So what if he has to change into a seal one month out of the year? These two were definitely made for each other even with Ellie's initial reservations while she was so focused on her own goals rather than looking at the overall picture.

I haven't read much in the way of selkie folklore, and I'm happy to say that Rebecca Hart's is the first novel I've read featuring selkies as the supernatural element. Hart's descriptions of Daniel's various transformations either from seal to human or from human to seal were rather detailed, and I found myself almost cringing with the cracking of bones. It added a sense of realism to the selkie's transformation that goes beyond just magically changing into another form. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more novels that feature selkies.

While the first part of the story is a bit slow, the pace picks up as soon as Ellie makes a break for the sea, soon sending her father and Daniel in search of her. Readers who enjoy a high-seas adventure story with supernatural and romantic elements won't be disappointed with Call of the Sea.

In celebration of the release date, I'm giving away a signed copy of Call of the Sea courtesy of the publicist. The giveaway will run until the official release date on June 21st, so good luck!

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