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Given to the Sea (Given Duet) Hardcover – April 11, 2017
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*Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Novel for A Madness So Discreet
*Mindy McGinnis has been nominated for an Anthony Award
PRAISE FOR Given to the Sea:
"Star-crossed love is at the heart of this darkly vivid tale, woven with hypnotic prose and captivatingly intense characters [. . .] Readers will be hypnotized by their relationships as well as the allure of the created world in this first book of the Given duet." —Romantic Times
"[T]his book isn't just about love triangles (or squares): themes of duty and fate are thickly woven into the fabric of this tale as each character grapples with balancing moral obligation against desire."—Kirkus Reviews
"Four neatly interlocking narratives build a riveting story about destiny [. . .] There’s plenty of gore, romance, plot twists, and cliff-hangers, but readers will also find thoughtful challenges to racism, misogyny, and cruelty—plus a strong feminist element too." —Booklist
"Readers willing to look at the larger ensemble cast, the characters’ connections, and the subsequent political machinations may appreciate the world building and the disturbing but satisfying ending." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"[T]he flawed heroes, relatable villains, and creative storytelling will pull in readers. The threads weave together, culminating in an eagerly anticipated conclusion." —School Library Journal
"McGinnis (The Female of the Species) creates a lush, oceanic fantasy world, writing Khosa as a smart young woman with far more to offer than just her body."—Publishers Weekly
"In a mythical land near the sea, five young people struggle to avoid their destinies. . . . All relationships are complicated by rivalries, wars, and shifting alliances."—VOYA
About the Author
Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you've read anything else by Mindy McGinnis, you know that she writes about social issues. I was surprised by how much of that carried over into her fantasy world. Here, she shows a flawed society full of sexism, racism, and ableism that our main characters have to face. There were some moments I didn't enjoy reading, some moments that felt very empowering, and some moments I don't know what I thought about them. (Specifically, I have conflicted feelings on how the ableism was portrayed. Like maybe it wasn't challenged enough, but this isn't something I know much about, admittedly.)
I've seen several reviews saying the world-building was bad or confusing and so I want to address that. I read a lot of fantasy and I didn't find this world confusing. Maybe you will, we're all different, but don't let that be the thing that scares you away from this book. I actually remember stopping at one point and thinking to myself: "wow, this was easy to get into for a fantasy world," so try it for yourself and see. It's a political fantasy and is a mostly non-magical world. It's more reminiscent of Game of Thrones than YA fae series, so know your preferences. Lots of adult themes. I've been saying it forever, Mindy writes adult books that masquerade as YA.
I enjoyed this world with its threatening sea and different nations with a tangled history. One thing I think would have GREATLY benefited the book though would have been the inclusion of a map! Maps not only show you the land, but they give you an easy reference for all of the nations and groups involved. There are about 4 groups involved in this story, but some of them merged and in the first half of the book I kept forgetting about one of them.
There are four POVs. Two of them are first person, and two are third person. I had a really easy time with the first person narratives (Khosa and Vincent) and blew through them. But then I would get to one of Witt's chapters and just get bored. I really did not enjoy his POV, but I do see why it was important. We needed to see his side to see how things came together. Dara was the other POV and while I enjoyed her character, her POV felt a bit useless since she's already so present in Vincent's chapters. I think hers could have been cut out, but have a hunch that something will happen in book 2 that we needed to have her POV for, though. But I admit, some of the POVs are less interesting than the others.
I mostly liked the characters. Khosa is touch averse and she also spends most of her time in a library. There is a love square involved and two of the characters that like each other grew up together as adopted siblings and I am not shipping that. Nope, sorry.
As for the writing, I've read all of Mindy's books and I wouldn't exactly call her the most lyrical writer, but the imagery in Given to the Sea was so vivid for me! I felt like I had the perfect image in my head for every single scene, and that is very rare for me! She paints the picture without flowery writing (which you may have learned from my past reviews is VERY hit-or-miss for me) so this was just a writing style that really worked for me and sucked me in.
Also, I thought the plot and story arc were solid. It could work as a standalone, but there is room for more.
Overall, I enjoyed the world and characters, but I have definitely preferred some of Mindy's other books. I will be reading the sequel though!
I absolutely loved this book's setting. McGinnis has created a vivid, beautifully haunting world. It's merciless, and brutal, yet there's something about it that pulls you into it, and has you rooting for those who are trying to change the course of their fate. Given to the Sea is book that centers on the sea, and the land that surrounds it's borders. It's a story about the people who live within the borders, all of whom will do what ever it takes to protect their people, and those chosen by the sea, called The Given.
Character wise, I liked that this book was told from 4 different points of views. Each of their stories are deeply embedded with each other's. Each character has a pivotal role in the story. I enjoyed reading each of their points of views. My favorite characters in the story however, were Donil and Dara, the misfits of the story. I also liked Vincent, the reluctant heir to the throne, and then there's Witt, the brutal leader of the Pietran people. Next is Khosa, the Given. While I didn't connect to one particular character, I liked that this story was written in such a way that not having a character connection didn't effect it.
There are so many elements to this book that I enjoyed. Those outweighed some of the smaller issues I had with the book. It wasn't hard for me to get sucked into this story. McGinnis's storytelling and world building are my favorite elements to this story. However, toward the middle of the book I found myself not being as interested with story, and I'm not really sure why that was. However, McGinnis threw in a few surprises and a strong finish that has me anxiously awaiting the next book's release. I need some more answers.
Given To The Sea is a fascinating fantasy. I loved how the element of the sea is a character all it's own, controlling and ruling all that Khosa and those who live around it's borders do. I really enjoyed the way this story was told. I love the world building, the unpredictable story line, and the book's strong finish. This is unlike anything I've read before. Along with the story, this cover is one I absolutely love!
The only thing I don't agree with is having to wait for the next book! Wonderful job Ms. McGinnis!