Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: Joanna Ruth Meyer’s BENEATH THE HAUNTING SEA


33803113Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.

It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods’ history—and her own—the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.

I have been friends with this author for many years via Twitter writing groups. I had the good fortune to be a critique partner for her in SEA’s earlier stages. Even then, I was struck by her lyrical, haunting writing style. Her words reminded me of fantasy from an earlier era, in all the best ways. It has been my joy to watch as she signed with an agent, sold her book, and had it published. I received an ARC of this book through a Twitter giveaway, but didn’t receive it until its actual publication day, and then, because of life intervening, wasn’t able to finish it until 2 weeks later.

At its heart, BENEATH THE HAUNTING SEA is a story of how far one is willing to go for the ones they love. We see this in Talia’s brave search for her mother, trapped in the evil sea goddess Rahn’s Hall of the Dead, and in Wen’s loyal refusal to leave her side. I’m always attracted to books with a thread of mystical magic woven in, and a healthy dose of music, and this book has both. Meyer weaves together music, myth, and emotion so seamlessly, one can almost forget this is her debut novel. As a writer myself, I often find myself pulled out of stories, critiquing the author’s use of plot points, moments when characters make decisions I feel they shouldn’t, based on their established actions. From the first paragraph, SEA dragged me to the depths of the sea to dance forever with the Billow Maidens, and I never wanted to let go.


About the Book:


 Page Street Publishing (SEA is Page Street’s first YA title)


Alyssa Raymond


Sarah Davies


Joanna Ruth Meyer (Twitter, Goodreads, Website)

Publication date:

January 9, 2018


400 pages




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