Book Review: On Such a Full Sea

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Read for: Liked the synopsis
Rating 1/5
I didn’t like this. At all. I get sad when I don’t like a book, but if I liked everything I read that would be absolutely bonkers. The premise sounded promising; a dystopian future setting and a female protagonist that leaves the safety of her compound to find her missing boyfriend. But there were several things here that weren’t working for me. 1. The narration. The story is told from a plural POV similar to Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, but it didn’t fit the story. The POV is presumably the population of B-Mor, the city that Fan leaves, but if they are telling the story of Fan as they know it, how do they know all the details of what Fan has gone through? There was a major disconnect between the reader and the characters because Lee failed to offer us any insight into what Fan was thinking and feeling throughout her ordeal and it made it really hard for me to care what happened to her. It wasn’t really made clear what her motivations for leaving B-Mor in the first place were, and that really bugged me. Admittedly I didn’t make it to the end so perhaps there is a big reveal that I’m missing that has this narration style making sense, but there were no hints in the first 60% and that was enough for me. In fact, not much at all happened in that first 60% beyond an overload of narrative exposition, which brings me to point number 2. It was BORING. The narrator gives you a shred of Fan’s story, then goes off into some dull rambling about the people of B-Mor, which didn’t interest me. The world building fell way short of what I would deem an interesting dystopia; for a future world it felt a lot like the world we live in today and that’s no fun! Gimme something dramatic, shocking, and different. Something captivating, at the very least. 3. While the prose was nice in places, the whole structure of the novel fell flat for me. It is sightly different from a start to finish narrative in that “Fan’s story” is being told to the reader in snippets mixed with world building, and there is very, very little actual dialogue. Without dialogue or inner monologue or seeing the POV of the actual characters, how are we supposed to become involved in what is happening? I feel like a turd for not sticking it out but really, there are better books waiting their turn. Taking a peek at the reviews and status updates of other readers on GR I saw a lot of the same comments. Bummer that this didn’t wow me but you can’t win them all.

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