When the Sea is Rising Red

When the Sea is Rising Red - Cat Hellisen The sea is rising, one two three,What will that get for Ivy and me?Pelim House gave us bones.Pelim House gave us stones.When the sea is rising red,All of Pelim will drop dead.Imagine these lines as a "fast and vicious" skipping rhyme. Then imagine that your family name is Pelim.Pelim Felicia was born into a priviledged section of society. The town where she lives is Pelimburg. She chafes at the rules of her position, always seeking small ways to refute the power of her brother, the head of the family. Her friend Ilven follows her in her rebellion, up to a point. When Ilven is promised in a marriage that is the equvalent of a sale, a marriage that will take her away from Felicia, she throws herself from Pelim's Leap, committing sucide.When Felicia must face a similar marriage, she is stronger than her friend. She only fakes her suicide, subsequently hiding among the Hobs of the lower orders. She suffers the tedium and effort of washing teabowl after teabowl.  Between the spans of tedium, she finds herself attracted to the Hob renegade Dash, who has taken her into his fold, who has both a strange need to avenge the higher orders, and an equaly strange fascination with Felicia. Felicia, on the other hand, is distracted by the attention of the "bat" vampire Jannick who seems similarly obsssesed with her.I was prepared to be disappointed by yet another YA novel hinging on a love story. As an honourary member of my bookstore's teen book club (and from personal experience), I can witness that there are teen girls who aren't obsessed with love and in fact seek to avoid it in their reading. Thankfully, Hellisen sets up the love triangle only to refute its tropes, which would please those readers I know best.Like her treatment of romance, the plot of When the Sea is Rising Red is strong, taught, immensely readable and quite unexpected. It is, perhaps ironically, because of this strength that I felt the book was incomplete. I'm a reader of character and politics and worldbuilding. I wanted to know more about the history of Pelimburg, about the discovery of scriv (the magical dust that gives the elite of society access to their magic) about the prevalent theories of how that magic works. Even if those theories are to be smashed in subsequent books, I need to know how they currently stand.CateCaveat: The author and I are mutual followers on Twitter and Goodreads and were briefly part of the same critique group. While this means I am predisposed to love her novel, it also means I hold her writing to very high standards. This review also appears at Boxes of Paper