Aly in Wonderland

The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay As ever, before reading a book, I read the reviews to see if it's worth wasting my time reading. If a book as, like,a gazillion 1 star reviews, then I would probably still read it, since I might like it anyway.

And that's what happened with [b:The Sea of Tranquility|16151178|The Sea of Tranquility|Katja Millay||21547521]. There are QUITE a few reviews that make it sound worse than it actually is, but to be completely honest, I really quite enjoyed the book, for a number of reasons.

1) Nastya (our main character) doesn't talk. That is something you just don't get much these days. We have plenty of characters out there with dark, horrid pasts that don't like talking about them, but I've never actually read about someone who complete STOPPED talking. It's brilliant and new.

2) It's really rather easy to empathise with the characters. It's your typical high school based cliché storyline, but at the same time it isn't . Throw in the fact that the chick doesn't talk, and it changes your entire perspective.

3) It's not your typical scholastic love story.

And 4) The switches in point of views. Although this can get tedious at times, especially if you don't pay attention to who's point of view you're reading from, it's refreshing. You get two dive into two different minds.

So let's start with the basics

After something dark and awful happens to Nastya Kashnikov, she moves in with her aunt (pretty cliché) and decides that no one must find out about her past (even more cliché). But it's not that difficult, considering the girl doesn't talk. Not that she can't talk, it's that she won't talk. Which yeah, might be annoying, but to be honest, how many books out there actually broach this subject?

Yeah. Not many. So it's refreshing.

One of the things I had a problem understanding (until pretty much the end) is the fact that she dresses like a whore.

No, really. She does. And I quote, " I don't dress this way because I like it so much or because I want people to stare at me in general. But people are going to stare at me for the wrong reasons anyway, and if they're going to stare at me for the wrong reasons, then at least I should get to pick them. Plus, a little unwelcome staring is a small price to pay for scaring everyone off. "

Um. Okay. Sure, cos dressing like a slut and getting stared at is better than dressing like a NORMAL person and getting stared at?

I'd rather my tits and ass were safely tucked away if people are going to stare at me for the 'wrong reasons'. Thank you very much.

There have been many a complaint about the fact that this story is slow and unnecessary long. Baring in mind she doesn't talk, it's bound to go slow. It's not like it would move as fast as if, say, it was filled with conversation BECAUSE SHE DOESN'T TALK. Don't get me wrong, it does get tedious at times, mostly because yeah, it gets slow at some points, but there is only so much the author can say in the space of time it gets us to know Josh (the love interest and the second point of view).

Anyway, so we trudge through this story, slowly getting to know both characters and Josh's 'hunky' but still kinda weird best friend Drew - the jock, of course - and it gets to the point where I'm itching to know what happened in the past. So we know the Nastya's left hand doesn't quite work, and she mentioned it had been put back together, basically, with screws and plates and she doesn't quite have the right functionality, considering every time she tries to use it properly, it loses its grip and we know that something bad must've happened purely because she mentions how awful it was and how she has scars everywhere, but by the middle of the book I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT IS.

So I guess that's tedious, because the build up is slow, but once it happens, it's pretty fucking good.

Of course people have complained that it wasn't as good (or as awful) as they imagined. If you ask me, however, it was pretty gruesome.

She was the Brighton Piano Girl (like, this musical sensation she had been since she was little) walking off to record a new piece of material, and some bloke comes out of nowhere and beats the shit out of her. Literally:

" He says it's my fault. He calls me a Russian whore ... there's blood and dirt in my mouth ... he just leaves me on the ground and starts kicking me instead ... on the ground, is one of my pearl buttons... I see his boots next to my hand ..." I'd elaborate further, but then there would be no point in reading the book.

So slowly, the reader starts to understand WHY she dresses like a whore and WHY her name is Russian, but we don't know until then that it's a fake name. It's kind of annoying, cos I would've liked her to tell me before that it wasn't her real name.

At the beginning, she mentions Emilia: " I think of pearl buttons and white eyelet skirts and wonder what Emilia would be wearing if she were alive today. " And I was a bit, like, "The fuck you on about?" but she doesn't mention it again, so I just assumed it was a dead friend.

But yeah, anyway. So that's BRUTAL. I mean, getting kicked and beaten to scraps is AWFUL. I don't understand why people say it's not as good as they expected. WHAT?! What did you want to happen?!

Moving on. What I absolute adore about Nastya/Emilia/Sunshing (Josh's nickname for her) is that the girl is S.A.S.S.Y . Here are a couple of examples:

1) " I still have four of the seven classes left on the schedule that shit gave birth to. " - She's referring to the fact that he first day at school is going okay. But seriously, I loved that. She's a no-nonsense kind of girl with a personality that eerily resembles mine.

2) " I am a slutty horror show. " She knows, but doesn't give a shit.

3) " Call me Sunshine again, and I'll murder you, cocksucker. "

That's the only ones I can think of off the top of my head. Oh dear.


I hate Josh Bennett, her boyfriend-not-boyfriend. He's a TOOL. So fair enough, his life is pretty shit cos his mum and sister died, then his father and then his grandma and grandpa swiftly followed so he's all alone in the world and boo-fucking-hoo, but he's a total prick. He grates me the wrong way. He treats Nastya like an idiot because she doesn't talk.

But when she DOES, he basically insults her for keeping it a secret.

Actually, that's another thing I didn't like about the novel. How Nastya/Emilia/Sunshine/Whatever TALKS to Josh and Drew, but not to her family, which is pretty fucked up to me. I'd rather she a) not talk at all to ANYONE or b) maybe start talking near the end of the book. It would have a bigger impact on the reader, especially since Josh had no reaction whatsoever -- no gasp, no turning suddenly, no shocked blinking:

" You would think I would spin around at this moment in some sort of shocked frenzy, but it's almost like I've been expecting her to talk to me since the day we met and I've just been wondering what she was going to say. " Presumptuous prick.

In general, I really liked the book. I liked the ending, how she came face to face with the man that practically killed her, in such a strange environment: an art gallery. And the picture he painted is her undoing:

" I don't know anything about art so I can't tell you that it's watercolour or acrylic or that it's on canvas or anything art related at all. I can tell you that it's a painting of a hand, my hand, turned up and opened to the word and that it reaches into my body and rips out everything that's left. Because in the palm, right in the centre, is the pearl button I never reached. "

Oh. My. God. *Gasp* WHAT?

I suppose that's the part that pretty much crushed my heart into a million pieces, and it's definitely my favourite part.

So all in all, I give this book 4 stars. I'd give more, but the fact that it didn't quite turn out the way I would have liked it to, and that I LOATHE the male characters, and the whole suddenly talking thing didn't really do it for me kinda stops me from giving more than four. But it's DEFINITELY a book I'd read again. Whoop-de-do-dah.

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