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Given to the Sea
Cover of Given to the Sea
Given to the Sea
Given Duet Series, Book 1
Borrow Borrow
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 dancean 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.
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 dancean 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.
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  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2017 Mindy McGinnis

    GIVEN TO THE SEA

    C H A P T E R 1
    •••••••••••••
    Khosa

    It is in my blood. It is in my bone. It is in my brain.

    One day my body will betray me, dancing into the sea, my mind a passenger only. The water will close over my head and I will drown, my death bringing a reprieve for those who are not me. This is what I've been born and bred for. The food passing into my mouth, the clothes covering my body, every breath I draw—these are smaller offerings, each a promise that I will endure, bear my own cursed daughter, and then succumb.

    How that will happen I do not know. My mother suffered the touch of another at least once, long enough to fulfill her duties and bring me about. I know it was badly done. I see it in the faces of my Keepers, these people who care for me without caring. I hear the small things in their voices. They worry I will not be pleasing to the sea, that my mother and her chosen mate created something less than perfect. I understand their concern, but cannot share it. Why should I care if the tides rise again, if I am only a corpse riding the waves?

    To live aware of your own doom is no easy thing. I spend my days at lessons, my body fulfilling the expected duties, though my mind is elsewhere. The Keepers are worried that I have not prepared well, have not set my face in the appropriate response to their commands. "Happy," for instance, is an emotion I cannot be expected to parade, but they tell me it is necessary. "Melancholy" I excel at.

    My mother and grandmother had other lessons, ones to please at table and dancing. Proper chewing, proper speaking, proper walking— only expected, of course, when we are in control of our limbs. My lessons have taken a different course, my other instructors quietly dismissed once I learned all that was expected.

    All except how to contort my stone face appropriately.

    The Keepers have tried, their emotions chasing through their faces so quickly I can't keep up, my own trying to mirror what I see. They say to me, "Pleased," but look nothing like it themselves, and I am easily confused on this point. So I often retreat, my mind escaping the room where I learn to mimic emotion, returning itself to some well-ordered facts absorbed from a musty book, its scent still lingering on my fingers, a source of comfort.

    Their pages follow me through the day, their words imprinted on my mind. I know the history of my land better than the Scribes, better than the royals who rule it. I can recite the names of my predecessors, from the woman who gave birth to me all the way to Medalli, one of the Three Sisters whom the sea gave back after the wave that took nearly all. Seaweed was pulled from their hair, their locks drying as they worked alongside other survivors to rebuild what had washed away, not knowing they would be taken again, the first of the Given.

    The sea waited until the sisters had married and had children of their own before it called for them, the price of its leniency to the blood of their line. For the children went too, and their children after them, the first twitches of their childhood pulling them toward the water, the final coordinated movements driving them deep into the waves, the dance of death one their kingdom deemed the will of the sea. And so it continues. Their footprints in the sand not returning, my feet now itching to follow. Medalli's line—mine—remains strong, the other two Sisters falling short, the last names in their column females who did not...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 24, 2017
    As the “Given,” Khosa has been bred to dance to her death in the sea, an offering to protect the land of Stille. When an opposing army rises up, prematurely driving Khosa from her home before she has given birth to the next Given, she becomes a captive. Forming an unlikely alliance, Khosa, Prince Vincent, and his adopted siblings try to separate myth from real danger and change Khosa’s fate using historical records. McGinnis (The Female of the Species) creates a lush, oceanic fantasy world, writing Khosa as a smart young woman with far more to offer than just her body. Other characters’ focus on her womb borders on obsession, and the fixation on legend leads to brutal threats of rape in the name of salvation. Superstitions run high, and seers are relied on to guide kings, but the threats of impending invasion and a world being slowly swallowed by the sea are eclipsed by dueling love triangles. The story abruptly shifts course at the end, suggesting that all must make sacrifices for the greater good. Ages 14–up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Foundry Literary + Media.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2017
    Multiple perspectives reveal the story of several people--and a kingdom--in turmoil.Khosa is the Given, destined to sacrifice herself to the sea for the sake of her kingdom. Her village attacked, she escapes Pietra leader Witt and his hordes for the royal city so she can do her duty. There, she meets Vincent, third in line to the throne, as well as his adopted Indiri siblings, Donil and Dara. Both Vincent and Donil fall for fragile Khosa, but it's Donil who captures her affections--the only person whose touch doesn't repel her. Meanwhile, fierce Dara has feelings for Vincent but knows a speckled-skinned Indiri can never sit the throne with him--and, as one of two of the last of her race, she is obsessed with finding another Indiri male. But this 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. With the present-tense narration rotating, in first person (for Khosa and Vincent) and third (for Witt and Dara), among the members of the deftly drawn cast, readers see how they all deal with this tension differently--and credibly, until the rather arbitrary climax. This is an immersive, violent fantasy world (rape is attempted in the novel) with a white default. This well-paced, thoughtful story will have readers eager for the sequel. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2017
    Gr 7 Up-The people of the kingdom of Stille enjoy exceptionally long, peaceful lives thanks to the sacrifice of the Given, a young woman who is raised only to have a daughter and then give herself to the sea as an offering. This practice has kept the danger of the sea at bay for many generations. There are challenges to this tradition, however, when the people of Pietra and Fineen start to scheme against the tranquil kingdom of Stille. Life is further complicated when the Given is unexpectedly driven from her home to escape these invading enemies and becomes a guest at the Stille palace. She is confused about her growing feelings for the Stille prince and his adopted brother as well as her role in ensuring the safety of the Stille kingdom. Her emotions, and the entire Given tradition, may be moot with an encroaching sea and a changing environment. The novel is told from four different points of view, and it is initially challenging to connect with any of the many characters. The book is confusing on occasion, as some of the character voices are in the first person and the other perspectives are in the third person. Eventually, the flawed heroes, relatable villains, and creative storytelling will pull in readers. The threads weave together, culminating in an eagerly anticipated conclusion. However, the plot points are addressed quickly, with battles over before they begin and complex love triangles packed up in a few pages. VERDICT A solid recommendation for romance readers and a good purchase for larger collections.-Paige Rowse, Needham High School, MA

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Given to the Sea
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Given Duet Series, Book 1
Mindy McGinnis
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