The winter is drawing longer than it should when the emperor’s soldiers come to take Pinmei’s grandmother away. To rescue her, Pinmei must join forces with Yishan, a friend with secrets of his own. The two will face people and creatures straight out of legend on their journey and discover the truth in all of them.
When the Sea Turned to Silver is an absolutely wonderful story centered around the importance of stories. As the Storyteller’s granddaughter, Pinmei knows all of the legends she tells by heart. So, as she travels with Yishan, Pinmei relays many of those tales to the people they meet along the way. Through each legend, Pinmei can understand what’s happening around her. She and Yishan make many friends because of her stories. Inserting each story definitely broke up the flow of the book, but it provided an interesting way for readers to connect the legends to the main plot.
I loved how Pinmei’s character developed over the course of the book. In the beginning, she’s quiet and painfully uncertain of herself. However, as the story progresses, she becomes more confident in her storytelling ability. The combination of her upbringing and her growing self-confidence allow Pinmei to skillfully navigate this beautiful world. Yishan serves as the perfect companion, bold where Pinmei is timid and always encouraging her where she falters. The entire cast of characters is intriguing and fits perfectly into the story to support Pinmei’s journey. I found When the Sea Turned to Silver to be an interesting change of pace from other children’s books, and the imagery and illustrations are gorgeous. Overall, this is a beautiful book.
Yours in love and literature,
Content warning(s): mild violence, facial disfigurement used as a punishment and magically cured
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