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The Changeling Sea (Firebird Fantasy) Mass Market Paperback – April 14, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The sea has taken everything away from Periwinkle; it has drowned her fisherman father and left her mother barely able to cope. So Periwinkle, a chambermaid at the inn of a small fishing village, decides to hex the sea. It works surprisingly well, disrupting the sea queen's magic. A chained sea monster appears from the depths, and the king's melancholy son, Kir, nearly drowns trying to get to the country under the sea. With the help of the magician Lyo, Periwinkle uncovers and reverses the sea queen's curse. Beautifully sustained metaphors and an even tone make this fantasy, like McKillip's The Forgotten Beasts of Eld , a pleasure to read. Further, McKillip's deft characterization and smooth, tender resolution result in a memorable, often poignant novel. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up An enchanting fantasy that is tinged with realism and romance, set in an ordinary, pre-industrial fishing village, with a heroine seen by herself and everyone else as even less than ordinaryan unkempt and uncared for child turning woman in spite of herself. Peri's fifteenth year has been a difficult one. First her fisherman father was lost at sea, then her mother became so haunted by the loss that she stopped caring for and communicating with Peri, and finally even the old woman whom Peri relied on for comfort disappeared. Peri spends her days scrubbing floors at the local inn and trying to hex the sea for causing her losses. When the King and his retinue come to the island, unhappy Prince Kir comes to Peri's lonely beach and begs her help in delivering his message to the sea. Strange things begin happening in the sea, including the appearance of a huge sea dragon held captive by a golden chain, and the villagers ask a magician for help. With Peri's help, he unravels the tangle of events and results that began more than 17 years ago, when the king loved a sea-woman but married a human queen. Peri's coming of age and coming to terms with herself and her surroundings are an important part of the story. Lyo, the magician, is a human sort of magician, wise but skeptical, powerful but also vulnerable. What begins with isolated and occasionally jarring events and appearances gradually enfolds the village and the story in a fog of mystery and magic that clears only when the situation is resolved via Lyo's wisdom and Peri's love. Rewarding and engaging. Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, Pa.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Firebird Fantasy
  • Mass Market Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Firebird (April 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141312629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141312620
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 3, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of Patricia McKillip's lesser-known works, "Changeling Sea" is reminiscent of her rare short novel "Something Rich and Strange," as both deal with the sea and its pull on human beings. Thankfully this book will soon be reprinted by the excellent imprint Firebird books; it's an enchanting short novel full of vivid images and characters.
Peri's father was drowned, and her mother lives half in a dream world. Peri herself scrubs floors for a living, and remains embittered against the sea that stole her parents both in body and in mind. One night as she is weaving hexes to cast into the sea, she encounters Kir, a young prince with an obsessive longing for the sea. He asks her to put a mysterious message in with her hexes, and she agrees. A sea-dragon with a gold chain around its neck surfaces not long after she tosses the hexes into the ocean, and a passing mage named Lyo tries to take the chain for the fishermen -- except he accidently turns it into hundreds of tiny flowers.
Soon strange things begin to surface from the sea, just after Kir and his father leave for a distant island. Peri encounters the sea dragon pulling itself onto the land, and sees it transform into a naked young man who strongly resembles Kir. A years-old web of magic, love, revenge, and sea-longing must be unraveled before Kir can find peace, and Peri can find love.
One of the enchanting things about Patricia McKillip's novels is their simplicity. Though we have some of the essential trappings of typical fantasy -- wizards, dragons, mermaids, kings and princes and plenty of magic -- they are used in a very diffeent manner than most readers will be used to. The plotline is deceptively simple, and has the feeling of being far more complex than it is.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Janine Allen on April 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Despite the age reccomendations on this book (9 to 12), McKillip's story is a wonderful fairy tale for any reader, as are all of her other works.
The Changling Sea is an excellent combination of fantasy and reality - the balance of hard working villagers and magical beings from another world make this story not only enchanting, but lovely in its realism.
Fans of McKillip will of course love this story. For children and adults who have never read her: this is a great place to start.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R.M. on April 26, 2001
Format: Library Binding
No matter the age of the reader, Patricia McKillip has always astounded with her power to draw us into her intricately crafted worlds seemingly without conscious effort. Her prose, always beautiful, paints such gorgeous pictures in our heads that it is impossible not to be engaged as soon as we pick up the page.
The Changeling Sea follows the life of a small young woman named Periwinkle (but everyone just calls her Peri) as she deals with the realities of a father taken by the sea and a mother who does nothing but grieve for him. From the very start, introduced to this unlikely heroine as she scrubs floors at a local Inn, we cannot help but be charmed by her. Even better, as the tale goes on, despite her lack of concern for what others think, this woman not only catches two princes but also becomes the focal point in a web of intrigue, mystery, enchantment, and power. That she ends up finding new resources of power within herself intrigues and delights us; for a change, and unlike most fairytale characters, this girl is neither beautiful nor classically sweet, and yet she still ends up with a happy ending.
Despite its age, this classic will never grow old. I recommend it to anyone, as a great intro to fantasy and as an evocative fairy tale that bends the definitions in enchanting new ways.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Willow and Jasmine on June 3, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Changeling Sea is a truly beautiful book to read. It is only 160 or so pages and can be read in about 2 hours, but the story will stay with you for a long time afterwards. It is told from the point of view of Periwinkle, or Peri, a poor fisher's daughter. Her father was lost one day in his boat and her mother sits by the window all day, looking out at the sea. Peri works at the inn and lives in the house of an old woman who taught her spells and hexes and then vanished one day.

Peri's life is fairly boring until one day she sees a dark horseman down by the sea at night. The next day, she meets the prince, Kir, at the old woman's cottage. She realizes that he was the horseman and he tells her that he used to talk to the old woman too. She tells him that she wants to hex the sea for stealing both of her parents and he asks her to deliver a message for him when she does. The message is a ring with the king's initials in it and several locks of hair. Peri is curious, but she does tie the message to one of her hexes when she throws them into the sea with a curse. Suddenly, she sees a great golden dragon rise out of the sea in front of her with a gigantic golden chain around its neck. She is naturally frightened and tries to get away.

The next day all of the fisher folk are talking about the dragon; they want the gold chain. That much gold would be enough to make them all rich, they say. Soon strange things begin to happen to the fishermen though. They are caught in strange fogs, and see mermaids where others see only fish or sharks. Confused and scared, they decide to get a magician to take the gold chain off for them. Some phony magicians come and go, and then one day, Peri meets Lyo. He slips on her newly sponged floor and washes to a halt right under her nose.
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