First, let me say how absolutely amazing this cover is—and not just because I have a current crush on aquamarines. This would definitely jump off a shelf at me.
I have read most of CarolRiggs YA books. Though I normally go for a deeper literature type of story, I like to occasionally mix it up with a fun YA adventure, and Riggs delivers.
When I read the first chapters of The Grassy Sea, I was taken back to my recurring childhood dream: I could breathe under water! Oh, how I loved those dreams. To this day, I love being underwater. I know this has nothing to do with the story, but isn’t that what fantasy fiction is about—stirring the imaginative spirit within us?
Lyndra of Biresk, the main character, is one I could relate to more than any other character Riggs has created. Though her others have been bold and brave, this young girl is pushing the boundaries. Abandoned at birth, she feels as though she doesn’t fit in and that the people of her village look down upon her for her differences. She wants to know why life must “be that way.” She isn’t willing to go along just because it’s what they’ve always done. She wants something more. She wants to be her own person. And mostly, Lyndra wants people to love and accept her for who she truly is.
Life is routine for Lyndra. There are daily duties to perform, and everyone has their place in this structured society. It is harvest time, and Lyndra has chores in the orchard. She wasn’t supposed to be on the beach. But if she had been doing her work, she wouldn’t have witnessed the abduction of seven of her village’s men by the gilled people—green-skinned beings who can breathe underwater. Even though Biresk has a peace treaty with the Grassiens, tensions are high between the villages. On top of that, there is a wicked sickness spreading in Biresk that has already killed many of her people.
This adventurous story takes Lyndra across the Grassy Sea where she witnesses a life quite different from her own—a life of luxury instead of duties. A life where you can be who you want to be. Lyndra struggles to bring peace between the two villages and resolve a decades-old event that caused the unrest.
There are some great lessons to be learned from this tale of determination and perseverance. Can I say the Grassy Sea isn’t always greener on the other side? Sorry. I couldn’t resist; this story also taught me to be true to myself.
Riggs descriptive writing is lovely, and her characters are unique and richly developed. Though the target audience for this book is probably young teens, readers of all ages will enjoy this story. The pace is excellent, the tension high, and there are many twists along the way. The ending wraps up wonderfully. I can picture this story as a 3-D fantasy in the theater.
You can read the first chapter on Riggs' website. I highly recommend (5 stars) this book to young and old.