We’re very excited to be a part of the GIVEN TO THE SEA Blog Tour today! We have a fun Q& A with Mindy as well as a review to share, but first, let us tell you about the book!Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: A Madness So Discreet, The Female of the Species
Published by Penguin on April 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, General, Legends, Myths, Fables, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.
Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.
Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.
Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.
The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.
Describe GIVEN TO THE SEA in 5 words.
Adventure. Romance. War. Big. Cats.
How did GIVEN TO THE SEA come about? What made you think you had to write this story?
A kernel for the idea of GIVEN TO THE SEA was planted a very long time ago when I was a child. I loved the TV movie of IVANHOE with Anthony Andrews. There’s an amazing scene with Sam Neill and Olivia Hussey where she’s locked in a tower and he comes to see her. She thinks he’s there to force himself upon her and she gets up in the window and says she’ll jump if he comes a step closer. He’s a decent guy who means her no harm, so he manages to talk her down but it’s a very powerful scene. It stuck with me (even though I didn’t understand all the implications until I was older). Elements from that scene have found their way into SEA at various levels – the girl who doesn’t want to be touched, a boy in a power position who *could* take advantage if he wanted, a girl who’s pride is so strong she’ll die before she submits.
I had to write this story because so many different elements of things I found interesting (genetic memory, rising sea levels, sacrificing the weak to remain strong as a whole) could come together in this way.
If you could introduce Khosa to any other character from another book, who would it be and why?
Someone who lives in a land-locked place and has a deep library.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve known since I was quite young.
Can you share (without spoilers) a line or section of GIVEN TO THE SEA that is your favorite?
Anytime Dara insults someone (which is often).
Since we’re talking 2017 books, what upcoming 2017 release (besides your own) are you most excited to read?
I’m excited for BAD BLOOD by Demitria Lunetta and RAMONA BLUE by Julie Murphy.
What are you currently reading?
A classic author from Ohio, Dawn Powell. She’s one of the great unread.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Do your research. You have to know the industry and how the business works these days. Just being a writer is not enough.
What’s next for you? Are you working on anything right now that you can tell us about?
Yes! GIVEN TO THE EARTH (sequel) will come out in the Spring of 2018.
Tell us 3 random facts about you.
My car is red.
My dog is not.
My cat is orange.
Favorite Song (right now): Don’t really have one
Favorite Book (right now): The Stand by Stephen King
Favorite TV Show/Movie: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Favorite Word: You probably can’t print it.
Favorite Color: Green.
Favorite Curse Word: Oh, well that’s fuck.
Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis is a book I have been anticipating since I heard about it. I loved McGinnis’ other books and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one since it falls into my favorite genre, Fantasy.
This story has multiple POVs and I admit, at first the book felt really choppy as we were jumping from one POV to the next and the chapters were fairly short. The Witt chapters were the ones that made things feel off for me and I suppose it is because the other characters are with each other. With that said, once the story picked up for me, it didn’t seem as distracting.
The world that McGinnis has created is interesting. The Kingdom of Stille has always had a Given who dances into the sea and the belief is that she is what prevents a wave from destroying the kingdom like it did before. Khosa is the Given and was expected to be ready to go by now but before she can, she has to have an heir. The problem for her is that she can’t stand the touch of any other human and now things are at a point where she may not get a choice about what happens. Even though she struggles with human touch, there is one person she is drawn to.
Vince is the third in line for the throne and when Khosa shows up at the castle, he can’t help but be drawn to her even if she is destined to die. As time progresses, Vince does what he can to protect her but his father has made it very difficult for him. He is willing to give up everything to protect Khosa but when the plan goes awry, things change for both of them.
Donil and Dara grew up with Vince but they are considered outsiders by most of Stille. They are Indiri, a race connected to the earth, and they possess magic. While Donil aligns to life, Dara aligns to death and while these attributes help them, they also cause some problems. When Vince and Khosa learn more about them and their magic, things change for all of them.Vince (and his mother) has always considered Donil and Dara family and they are all pretty close but when Khosa arrives, things shift a bit for them.
Let’s talk about feelings for a moment. Dara has always felt something for Vince and now she sees that Khosa has drawn Vince’s attention. This has created some definite tension between Dara and Khosa and it eventually comes to a head. Remember when I said that Khosa is drawn to someone…well that happens to be Donil. There is something about Donil that allows Khosa to touch him without flinching or drawing back. So…now we have Dara loves Vince, Vince loves Khosa, and Khosa has feelings for Donil. We do get to see how things end up for this group by the end of the book but I am curious to see where McGinnis will take this in the next book.
Outside of these relationships, there is another vein to this story and that ties back to Witt’s chapters. He leads the Pietra and they are driven to get more land so that his people can survive. Because of this, a war is coming to Stille and they are in no way prepared to fight such a strong army. Add to that, the agreement Witt makes with Ank, the leader of the Feneen, and they really have no chance considering how much they lost the last time they faced the Feneen. I’m looking forward to how this agreement plays out in the next book as things didn’t necessarily work out as planned for the group in this book.
Overall I found this one interesting. It felt like a departure from everything else McGinnis has written (which I have loved) but that isn’t a bad thing. My best recommendation is to not go into this with any pre-conceived notions about what this book will be about. As with her other books, McGinnis does a wonderful job of creating the world and developing the characters, but that is where the comparisons end. While this wasn’t my favorite book by McGinnis, I still thought the story was solid and am looking forward to the next book to see what happens next for these characters.