This post is a part of a series for my blog where I break down YA novels. It’s not a review, but rather an analysis of what I liked and disliked within a YA context. This post’s analysis is about Seafire by Natalie C. Parker.
What I liked:
- Female-led cast
- Why it worked: There are women of all kinds of ability in the main cast showing a diverse range of ‘strong’ female characters. Strength is represented in many ways and provides some great examples for building female characters. Seafire also provides stellar examples on female-female friendships and the power of sisterhood.
- Fast-paced plot
- Why it worked: Pulled me through the story. There was a strong sense of momentum without being overpowering or overwhelming. Chapters are short and sharp with their own conflicts. A few slower chapters balance the pacing and provide reflective moments.
- Setting details
- Why it worked: In a story mostly set at sea, Seafire does a great job at adding texture to the ocean environment. The descriptions rarely feel repetitive and each part of the sea has its own flavour.
What I disliked:
- Why it didn’t work: The world feels hollow. Every piece of information was to further the plot or enhance a conflict. While this is normally good, there was foreshadowing. This leaves the reader knowing that the next location is there to further the plot, rather than being a part of a fleshed-out world. Locations exist in silos. Could have used a little more detail.
- Character Histories
- Why it didn’t work: For the same reason as the world-building, the character histories and motivations felt hollow. It was hard to get a sense that any of the characters existed before the plot of the book begins. Motivations are one-note and tied into defeating the villain. I think the book starts too late and could have given a bit more space to understanding the journey the character has been through.
- Action scenes
- Why it didn’t work: The action scenes, while fun, lacked a certain punch. Reactions often aren’t realistic and serious injuries are shrugged off. The stakes never really feel that high as the characters move on quickly from the pain. There are minor character deaths, but these feel underused, and mainly service the main plot, rather than developing an emotional response.