The Changeling Sea

Book Card  -  Volume 10  -  Book Review Number 2  -  Tue, Oct 31, 1989 9:25 PM

TITLE: The Changeling Sea
AUTHOR: Patricia A. McKillip
PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books

I spend an inordinate amount of my science fiction / fantasy browsing time at book stores around the beginning of the "M" section. ONE of the reasons for this behavior is Patricia McKillip, one of the great young fantasy authors in the business today. Notable previous works include "The Forgotten Beasts of Eld" and "The Quest of The Riddle-Master", a trilogy. But Miss McKillip also dabbles quite successfully in other genres: adult fiction, children's fiction, and science fiction. "The Fool's Run" is, I think, one of the best science fiction novels of the '80's - at least it is one of the very few I found palatable.

This versatility in subject matter is not without its price: bookstores seem not to know where to file Patricia McKillip's works, and fans need extra diligence to find them. Thus it is that "The Changeling Sea" escaped my notice for a year or more, and then continued to evade my search for a few additional months (my sister finally came to the rescue with a copy from the children's section of the BYU bookstore).

So much for background.

"The Changeling Sea" is a fantasy. It tells the story of Peri, a fifteen-year-old scrubmaid at an inn in a poor village. Frustrated by her inability to deal with her fisherman father's death in the ocean, Peri curses the sea with homemade incantations and hexes made of sticks, seaweed, and thread. Doing so, she sets off a chain of events that I won't reveal here, except to mention that they involve a magician, a king's son or two, a sea-dragon, and a Sea-Queen.

"The Changeling Sea" is a short book, one you can polish off in just a few hours. Plan on blocking out that much time in one sitting - you won't want to set the book down.