Date of publication: July 20th, 2017
Series: The Zemnian Series
The Midnight Land: Part One: The Flight – Book 1
The Midnight Land: Part Two: The Gift – Book 2
The Breathing Sea 1: Burning – Book 3
The Breathing Sea II: Drowning – Book 4
Where you can find The Breathing Sea 1: Burning: Amazon
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
Dasha is a gift from the gods. Only she’s not very gifted. Or at least so it seems to her.
Eighteen years ago, Dasha’s mother made a bargain with the gods. She would bear a gods-touched child, one who would stand on the threshold between the worlds, human and divine. Dasha is that child, now almost ready to become a woman, and one day take her mother’s place as Empress of all of Zem’. Except that Dasha is shy, lonely, and one of the least magically inclined girls in the Known World. Instead, she has fits and uncontrollable visions. When she sets off with her father on her first journey away from her home kremlin, she hopes she will finally find someone who can help her come into her powers. But those whom she finds only want to use her instead. What will it take for her to unlock the abilities hidden within her, and take up her proper place in the world?
Trigger Warning: None
The Breathing Sea took me by surprise. From reading the blurb, I knew I was going to be reading a YA fantasy. I thought that the book would be set on another planet or a more alternative Earth. So when I figured out that The Breathing Sea was set in medieval Russia, I was surprised and pleased. Medieval Russia has become a favorite subject of mine to read about. When I saw that the author included various figures from Russian mythology (the Domovi and the Bannik), I knew that this book was going to be good.
The Burning Sea is a story about a girl who sets off on a journey. She wants to find someone who can unlock her abilities and help her learn them. Her journey isn’t an easy one. She meets a variety of people on the journey. Some will be friends and some will want to harm her. Will she find someone to help her? Or was the answer to her problems right under her nose the entire time?
This book is long. 527 pages. While some people would run away screaming “This is too long“, I loved it. I like books that have meat to them. Long books are easy to get lost in. Sure, they take more time to read but there is more oomph to a long book. More character development and world building. Don’t get me wrong, I like shorter books fine but sometimes you need something to sink your teeth into. And The Burning Sea is such a book.
I liked Dasha but man, did she annoy me at first. But the more I read, my annoyance started to go away. She acted how an 18-year-old should. Well an 18-year-old who was God touched and the heir to her mother’s throne. She also acted like a teenager who was away from home the first time in her life, which she was. There were parts of the book where I giggled at. Like her sleepovers with her half-sister and friends. Screamed “teenager” to me. I did feel bad for her when she was having fits and visions. She was trying to find someone to help her come into her powers. Her fits and visions were becoming more and more powerful. Her dreams did hold the answer to who/what would help her. Only thing, she didn’t want their help.
As with all books, the secondary characters are a colorful tapestry of what is going on in the book. The secondary characters can either make or break the book. With The Breathing Sea, they did both. I loved some of the secondary characters and disliked most of them.
Dasha’s half-sister, Svetochka, drove me freaking nuts. She was a whiny, miserable brat. Her jealousy of Dasha came off the page. I don’t know how Dasha dealt with it. If it were me, she would have been told to have an attitude adjustment or go her own way. Not coddle her.
I did like Dasha and Svetochka’s father, Oleg. The author had kindly provided a forward that explained what happened in the first two books. Oleg is a hunter was granted longevity by the Gods. He only has to father lots and lots of daughters. It is mentioned several times that Dasha has a ton of half-sisters and will be having more. But that isn’t why I liked him. I liked him because he didn’t put up with anything from anyone. When he found out that Dasha was apologizing to the servants, he flipped out on Dasha’s mother. He also warned Dasha about hiding her identity (which she didn’t listen to him about). He counseled her on her visions. He might have not been around a lot when she was growing up but he was there for her when she needed him.
I did like how the author dropped hints about the end of the book throughout the entire book. At one point, Dasha’s mother even told her what she had to do to come into her power and get training. But Dasha didn’t want to do it. So she went on the journey. Then she started to dream about who she had to see. So when she told Oleg and company what she was going to do and where she was going, I wasn’t surprised.
If I had to suggest one thing to the author, it would be a glossary. I can’t tell you how much I love glossaries. All the characters names, places, and relationship all in one place. That way I am not searching for names in the book.
I would rate The Breathing Sea as a book for Older Teens. There is no sex or language in this book but there is violence. This is a book I would recommend to family and friends. This is also a book that I would reread.
I would like to thank E.P. Clark for allowing me to read and review The Breathing Sea.
All opinions stated in this review of The Breathing Sea are mine.
**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**