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When the Sea is Rising Red Hardcover – February 28, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Books of Oreyn Series

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Editorial Reviews


“…an intense look at the seeds of rebellion and the individual consequences they sometimes reap…” ―BCCB, Starred

“Hellisen creates an interesting world where magic and superstition rule…” ―VOYA

“Hellisen's captivating debut will haunt readers.” ―School Library Journal

“Debut author Hellisen's style features evocative descriptions and unflinching detail, drawing readers into the unusual and intriguing elements that make up Felicita's socially complex world.” ―Publishers Weekly

“…worldbuilding intrigues, and the open-ended conclusion begs a sequel.” ―Kirkus

“Hellisen's first novel combines the survival tactics of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games books with a fascinating array of magical creatures and powers.” ―Booklist

About the Author

Cat Hellisen lives in Capetown, South Africa, near the sea, and drinks a lot of tea. She tends not to start revolutions. When the Sea is Rising Red is her first novel.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374364753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374364755
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,446,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I started reading Cat Hellisen's WHEN THE SEA IS RISING RED and knew right away that I was going to love it. It was dark and a little creepy, yet imaginative and beautiful. Cat Hellisen was so luxuriously descriptive that I felt like I was right alongside Felicita in every scene.

So let's get to it. Why should you get this book?

First of all, the main characters are absolutely incredible. I felt emotionally connected to each of them. The secondary characters are just as amazing as the main cast, and they all had special, unique, and wonderful things about them. Some of them had special powers; some of them were especially kind; some of them were cruel and mean-spirited. But all of them blended together to make this novel magical and really marvelous. Let's talk about the main characters for a second:

1. Felicita was born rich but moved to the slums after faking her own death. I loved this bold move, her reasons behind this, and her life once she got to the slums. She was willing to work and get her hands dirty even though she'd never worked before. She's brave, independent, and a hard worker. She's also a thinker and has to make a few pretty big decisions in the book which made me turn the pages faster and faster.

2. Jannik is a vampire and a wildly interesting character. I think he was my favorite. I loved everything about him-his look, his attitude, his social status, and even his status within his own family. Mysterious and dark, in my mind I imagined Jannik as super handsome. I loved the integration of the vampires into the Pelimburg society even though they weren't necessarily accepted. Jannik's vampire character is written differently than other vampires in books right now and I found that refreshing.

3. Dash is charming and charismatic.
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Format: Hardcover
When the Sea is Rising Ded by Cat Hellisen is a deliciously dark fantasy that holds a plot so enticing that I couldn't put it down.

The world of Pelimburg was so expertly crafted. It was an enchanting world that I hope to see more of. It was the perfect host for a story of rebellion, magic, and escape. I do wish some aspects were explained a bit sooner, as it felt a bit too much like a puzzle at certain points of the book. I still wasn't entirely sure of some things by the time I had finished.

The characters of When the Sea is Rising Red were wonderful. When it came to most of the characters, there was this wonderful sense of intrigue and I just had to know more. Felicita was such a strong character - I loved her defiance and her just all around character. Dash was an interesting guy to say the least. He always had such a tale for everything he did. I absolutely loved Jannik. He was perhaps the more intriguing character of the book and I just loved every scene with him, and wish he had been in even more of When the Sea is Rising Red.

I found myself caught up in the mayhem of the story instantly. When the Sea is Rising Red starts with such a tragic moment, and Cat Hellisen dives right into the story. It is a story of danger, betrayal, and first experiences. I was so sad when it was over, as it was just that great of a story.

When the Sea is Rising Red is a fabulous debut, and I am eager to see what is next for Cat Hellisen. It's been awhile since I've read a fantasy this dark and this great, and I'm happy When the Sea is Rising Red came along to fill the gap. The world is so enchanting, and I would just love to dive right back into that world. This was a book I read at work, in two hours, sneaking in pages between everything else I had to do. It was just fabulous.
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Format: Hardcover
When her best friend, Ilven, plunges to her death to escape of life of patriarchal control and arranged marriage, Felicita realizes she must also escape her similar, imprisoning lifestyle. As a daughter of the ruling House of Pelim, she's lived a privileged, sheltered life - her entire existence governed by the decisions of others. And so, Felicita fakes her death, disappears into the underworld of Pelimburg and takes a job as a dishwasher. Her life is humble, but she's out from under the thumb of her cruel, domineering brother, for the first time in her life able to make her own choices. When she meets the roguish, streetwise Dash and the quiet, compelling Jannik, her life and choices suddenly become more complicated than she ever anticipated.

Misfortune and pestilence soon fall upon Pelimburg, and the citizens begin blaming the suicides of the two high House daughters for stirring a dark, evil magic up out of the sea. Tension in the city is already running high, stoked by a festering, deep-seated social unrest, and Felicita finds herself torn between her new life and the honor of the family she left behind.

Pelimburg. With beautiful description and wonderful fantasy elements, Pelimburg is a city that Hellisen brings to life vividly. She's given it depth, history, a mythology all its own, and has filled it with magic and mythical creatures such as selkies, boggerts, and vampires. Her descriptions of life in a seaside city are enchanting, and gives the impression that Hellisen herself is in love with the beauty and mysteries of the sea. However, it's not all unicorns and rainbows. Pelimburg is also a place weighted by a gritty realism and a dark underbelly that lend interest and controversy to both the setting and the plot.
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