Book Title: The Breathing Sea: Burning
Book Author: E.P. Clark
Page Count: 529
Publishing Date: July 20th, 2017
Publisher: Self Published
Date Read: February 22nd, 2018
Synopsis: 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?
The sequel to the award-winning novel “The Midnight Land,” “The Breathing Sea” returns to the land of Zem’, where animals speak, trees walk, and women rule. Filled with allusions to Russian history, literature, and fairy tales, this coming-of-age tale straddles the line between high fantasy and literary fiction.
The Breathing Sea 1: Burning is rich and vibrant. It will immerse you in a fantasy world of depth and beauty. For those that enjoy long journeys, you will enjoy this one.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when going in to this one. The prologue of the book recapped the first two books in the genre, as this was meant to be the 3rd book in the series, but also the second part in the series, and it was meant to be enjoyed as part of the series, or as a stand alone with The Breathing Sea 2. So, I was slightly confused, but also intrigued with the premise of the series.
The story started off with rich world building. I was able to dive right in and visualize the beauty of this intense world that E.P. Clark built. She really did an incredible job with creating a vivacious fantasy world with deep history, delving in strong character building, fairy tales, and Russian antiquity.
My main problem was that, with all the intense world building, I felt that the characters, and plot, lacked development and motion. When I say the characters lacked development, I felt that they never really changed. I was aware that there is a second part to The Breathing Sea, and it literally picks up where part I leaves off, but the main characters never fluctuated from their beginning states as far as their personas were concerned.
The characters were written quite strongly. I knew what sort of personalities each one had (though this was part of the problem since I felt like Dahsa and her companions were a bit on the whiny side). But I never felt any progression with their feelings or temperaments. Because of this, I never became fully invested in any of them.
Same goes for the plot. I knew what the plot was supposed to entail. There was supposed to be a journey for the main character, Dasha, to travel and learn to harness her powers, but out of the 575 e-book pages, I never felt like I went on the journey with Dasha. There wasn’t enough action and progression to make me feel like the length was entirely worth reading.
It wasn’t so much the length of the book that threw me, but the fact that I felt like nothing really happened in that time frame. I admit, long books have been intimidating in the past, but I just finished a 600-page book recently that I absolutely loved. The Breathing Sea 1 had some gorgeous details, but I never lost myself to the story or got attached to anyone within it. Conceptually the book was beautiful and had tremendous potential. But, the story just didn’t captivate me or move enough for me to fully enjoy it.
I wish I could say I had the urge to read book 2, but its just not there for me. This isn’t to say that you won’t enjoy this book. It had massive world building and beauty. It was rich in depth and imagination, and if you enjoy long books and journeys, you would probably still enjoy this one. The pacing was just too slow for my taste. I decided to give this a 3 rating because I enjoyed the detail Clark put in to her work, and the writing was fantastic, I just didn’t enjoy the pacing and characters, and decided not to continue with the series. I would still recommend it to lovers of long sagas.
Thank you to the author for sending me this free e-copy in exchange for my honest review.
E.P. Clark on The Zemnian Series:
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