To the Sea

A Novel by Dr.Julia James Carlson

Synopsis: Kai Kūulu, half Hawaiian and half Swedish, is a normal 15 year old hapa boy living in Mid-Coast Maine when his mother suddenly dies. To escape the pain, Kai’s Hawaiian father, Keaka, moves them to his birthplace of Pahoa, Hawaii. Kai is thrust into a culture he knows little of, but is lucky to have three cousins by his side to show him the way. Soon after his arrival, Kai meets the beautiful Leilani from the Lona Hui. Kai being from the Kūulu Hui knows that the families have a centuries old hatred of each other. Leilani is also the daughter of Keaka’s former best friend and now enemy. Kai’s cousins and Leilani introduce him to dormant gifts that he has always possessed and is able to explore in the safety of Hawaiian waters and on land. Kai learns his history, why his Swedish side is looked down upon in the islands, and why his father kept secret Kai’s gifts. The teens do not realize that that the Gods are awaken to the Norse blood now in Hawaiian waters and an unlikely bond is formed between the two Hui’s to rescue young love. Kai is in a battle against time to learn his gifts and unify people of land and sea.

First of all I would like to thank the author for gifting me a copy of her book!

The story was interesting, it was a really good premise. There were a lot of fun Lore and Norse elements to it that gave it a really strong story core. There were some shocking discoveries and a little bit of drama and action which really added to the story.

The characters were fun, Kai and Pono’s relationship was such a wholesome one, they were quite loveable. The big loving family vibes really came through in the writing. The feelings of true ohana were so strong and powerful in this story, which I absolutely loved.

However there were a few things about this book that I wasn’t a fan of, the accents for one. I am really not a fan of when authors try to make the accents come through the page. I get that it’s how Hawaiians talk, but making up spellings to make it sound the way they would say the words.. I truly don’t like that, and it wasn’t really that consistent, at one point even the kid from Maine –who pointed out that the accents and ways of talking were different from his– was talking like that on and off. I’ve mentioned it before with a few other books I’ve read, with ‘Boston accents’ or ‘French accents’ that words are written like they’d be pronounced, I find it so hard to read.

The actual physical book itself was a bit of an issue, this could be Amazon’s fault.. but the words were cramped so close together, without any proper spacing that they would almost run together to make an entire sentence into one long word. But I think that just may be a printing issue.

I feel like with a few tweaks and a lot of proofreading —there were quite a few typos throughout the book— the book this could have been pretty decent!

I rate this book




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