28 Following

Bibliophilic Monologues

The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay I almost don’t want to write a review for this one. I want to keep my feelings for the novel unexpressed so the emotions I felt while reading it remain unsullied by the analytical thinking that usually accompanies any review writing I do. However, this book is too beautiful for me to not talk about. Too beautiful for me to not urge you to read.The writing in this book is what separates The Sea of Tranquility from others of its ilk. The writing is what makes it distinct. The rawness of the pain, the despair in the words, the realness of the characters – these are all things that makes the book so very strong. People who like fast paced, plot driven books will not like this one. The pacing lags, sometimes too much, and things happen very slowly. The book is not devoted to action or to things happening. Rather, the books offers you an unveiled view into how a girl breaks apart into several pieces and then tries to put herself back together in the only way she knows how.Nastya is one of the strongest protagonists I have read recently. From all the walls she has built around herself to all the little rituals she must do in order to feel safe in a world that has hurt her so badly, she is unabashedly original. While I do not always agree with the actions she takes or the decisions she makes, I understand why she does what she does (except for the whole thing with Josh, that I do not understand). I see the glimpses of the girl she used to be in the cracks in her new personality. As much as she denies who she was, as much as she proclaims that the girl she was is dead, the reader is able to see the truth – to feel the truth. Josh is just as enigmatic and his grief is enormous but where his pain is tampered by acceptance, by numbness, Nastya’s pain flames, sometimes smoldering, sometimes raging.Drew is a strong character in his own right and a very interesting one at that. He is whole different types of stereotypes put together to create someone new with facets you wouldn't be able to guess, someone layered that you can try to figure out but who keeps on surprising you. While Nastya’s relationship with Josh is made of cookies and a sharing of pain, Nastya’s friendship with Drew is full of acceptance. There are some things Drew does that I don’t understand nor do I like but such is the nature of humanity.This is not a book that you can sum up prettily and pass a sentence on. You cannot say to read it or not to read it, you cannot say it was nice or mediocre. You need to experience it. It isn’t flawless by any means, there are portions where stuff seems repetitive and the pacing is unbearably slow but the payoff is worth it. The book takes pain, a thousand different kinds of pain, puts it under a microscope and examines it in detail. For all the heavy themes this book deals with, it is very easy to read. Not because the words are so gorgeously arranged into sentences that seem to peer into your soul and speak your pain but because the people you read about probably do exist out there in the world somewhere.I liked how Nastya thinks she has nothing special left to her now that her music has been taken away from her not realizing that baking is her new talent. She doesn’t just bake, she creates and while it is something so prosaic, so common, it is hers. I loved how that is left implicit, the author lets the reader figure out what Nastya's new talent is.I was very impressed with Katja Millay’s debut novel and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. I recommend this to anyone who wants to read a truly excellent book. A book that will linger in your mind, making you think beyond the next sparkly vampire.