Given To The Sea by Mindy McGinnis | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Given To The Sea by Mindy McGinnis | Book ReviewGiven to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis
Series: Given Duet #1
Also by this author: Not a Drop to Drink, In a Handful of Dust, A Madness So Discreet
Published by Penguin on April 11th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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Kings and Queens rise and fall, loyalties collide, and romance blooms in a world where the sea is rising—and cannot be escaped.
Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy—she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.
Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.
Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra—fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before—are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.
Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land—and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.
The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.
Praise for Given to the Sea:"Star-crossed love is at the heart of this darkly vivid tale, woven with hypnotic prose and captivatingly intense characters [. . .] Readers will be hypnotized by their relationships as well as the allure of the created world in this first book of the Given duet."—Romantic Times"[T]his book isn't just about love triangles (or squares): themes of duty and fate are thickly woven into the fabric of this tale as each character grapples with balancing moral obligation against desire."—Kirkus Reviews
"Four neatly interlocking narratives build a riveting story about destiny [. . .] There’s plenty of gore, romance, plot twists, and cliff-hangers, but readers will also find thoughtful challenges to racism, misogyny, and cruelty—plus a strong feminist element too."—Booklist
"Readers willing to look at the larger ensemble cast, the characters’ connections, and the subsequent political machinations may appreciate the world building and the disturbing but satisfying ending."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Given To The Sea by Mindy McGinnis is one of those books that just IMMEDIATELY appealed to me. The cover is so gorgeous. I am a big fan of the color palette used as well as the font. I’ve read Mindy McGinnis’s Not A Drop To Drink duology and very much enjoyed it. Plus, I like books that are set by the sea. As you can imagine, my expectations were set a little bit high for this book. Alas, it was not my favorite and honestly was kind of a drag to read.

Mindy McGinnis’s Given To The Sea follows four point of view characters – Khosa, Vincent, Dara, and Witt. Essentially the characters live in a world where the things that live in the sea are to be feared. In this world, the sea will rise and the creatures in it will destroy everything unless a sacrifice is made. That’s where Khosa comes in. She is what’s called the Given. Khosa will be sacrificed in order to appease the sea, but first she must bear a daughter to be the next Given.

As for Vincent, he is the prince in the kingdom that’s going to sacrifice Khosa. He doesn’t expect to rule though, given that people live an obnoxiously long time in his kingdom and his grandfather still sits on the throne. Dara and her twin brother have been adopted by Vincent’s mother. They are the last of the freckled people called the Indiri. Finally, Witt’s storyline is that he leads these people who are planning to attack and invade against Vincent’s kingdom.

Khosa is hard to really connect with as a character. I mean, she reads as kind of distant. I understood her motivations and why she was so repulsed by her fate and could not choose someone. Plus we get an actual explanation for why she is the way that she is. As for Vincent, he reads as weak and I just do not feel sure about his leadership abilities. Dara is a character where I would rather this whole book be about her because she is very interesting and active. Her character actually does things. Witt, while about to commit terrible acts, at least has a military strategy mind. He kept my interest more than Vincent.

However, where Given To The Sea really lost me was with the writing style. I guess I expected it to read as quickly with the pacing as the previous books by McGinnis that I have read. Unfortunately, this book was super slow for me to get through. I ran into difficulty with the world building. It was hard to get an image in my head of what it looked like. I also did not entirely understand the inner workings of the world or the different factions of society. Results are definitely going to vary with this book. You may like it though, so give it a shot I guess.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I felt the same way. I couldn’t become invested in the characters or even the story. It was if the book was monotone if that makes sense. Loved her other books.

  2. I was rally hoping this one was going to be good. I have it on hold at the library, so I guess I will see how it goes.

  3. Aw, that’s disappointing! This has such a pretty cover. 🙁 Sorry that this one was a bust for you! Thanks for your honesty!