Starred Review: Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler
Here’s the full review, from the June 15 issue:
Lilly is a solitary, resourceful, and intelligent girl, her face covered by such a potent birthmark her talents remain forever hidden to the gaping eyes of others. A source of disappointment to a father in search of a capable son-in-law, a source of frustrating to a withholding, magical mother, Lilly finds solace solely in the company of the Kraken she encountered as the seaside at the age of eight. She renames him Octavius, and as the years pass their friendship only deepens. Their routine is disturbed by Octavius’s sudden disappearance, and Lilly decides to abandon her family and devote herself to finding him. Her selfless pursuit leads her to a troll in need of female organs, a witch in search of her skin, a duo of bandits looking for companionship, a landowner endowed with mystical capabilities, and bewitching beauty, and Octavius himself, trapped in a circus side show. VERDICT This debut novel begins in a hushed voice, then, slowly, the beauty of Wheeler’s writing, the beguiling character of Lilly, and the tale’s deeply complicated revisions and distortions concerning sex and gender reach utterly absorbing heights. Wheeler’s truly original, fanciful, and transformative story will delight fantasy lovers of all types, as well as those readers attached to coming-of-age narratives and feminist sf. —Jennifer Rogers, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll. Lib., Richmond
Sea Change will be published on June 18th.