Book Review: Lalani Of The Distant Sea

There are stories of extraordinary children who are chosen from birth to complete great quests and conquer evil villains.

This is no such story.

Sometimes, you are an ordinary child.

Sometimes, you have to choose yourself.

This is the story of Lalani Sarita, a twelve-year-old girl who lives on the island of Sanlagita in the shadow of a vengeful mountain. When she makes a fateful wish that endangers her already-vulnerable village, she sets out across the distant sea in search of life’s good fortunes. Grown men have died making the same journey. What hope does an ordinary girl have?

Lalani Of The Distant Sea – Erin Entrada Kelly

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Beautifully written and incredibly dark. This is a sad story that deals with pain, loss, and violence. The atmosphere throughout the book is dark and melancholic, but with a hint of hope. I loved the world of Sanlagita, it was not the happiest of places, but I loved the descriptions and atmosphere around it.

The book weaves parts of Filipino myths and stories through the plot, and though it is not an area of mythology I currently know much about, I loved the way it was done. I was on edge the entire time I read this book, I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next, but it was a nail-biting experience to get there.

I adored protagonist Lalani, her courage and determination was beautiful, especially when everything around her seemed to be so hopeless. Lalani has such a kind heart and I definitely loved getting to know her.

“Sometimes the only way out is through”.

It takes a little while for the plot to really get going as the worldbuilding itself takes some time. I didn’t mind that part as it really helped to set the story. A lot of side characters were introduced in a relatively short succession, and I found myself getting a bit lost among all of them. I also found the ending to be just a little abrupt, maybe because I just wanted more, it left me with a few unanswered questions.

I would like to read this with my daughter someday, though currently at 8 years old I think this would be a bit too dark for her.


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