Review: Kathryn Lasky – Daughters of the Sea: Hannah

Daughters of the Sea: Hannah
Kathryn Lasky
Hannah has been brought up in an institute for orphans, yet she feels a yearning for something more. She is surprisingly well educated, yet she can’t guess what she is going to become. Some transparent drama complicates Hannah’s life, yet she doesn’t know she can move on.

0-439-78310-0Hannah was tolerable. I was really very disappointed in this book. There was no depth. Hannah is a flat character, the three sisters are flat characters and the painter is rather like a cameo. Something I did like was the way the beautiful painting was described in great detail. I would have liked to see more of the painter’s work, and know what happened to the painting once it was defaced.

The family’s rather sudden sympathy for Hannah makes no sense. The reader doesn’t see her socialising with the staff, and although she gets along well with Ettie, I don’t think it was shown clearly enough that Ettie had come to love her. I’d almost say there was too much telling and not enough showing.
I knew almost from the beginning what Hannah was, it was so blindingly obvious. Transparent, that’s what I’d call this book. Transparent and unsatisfying. Not unreadable like Wit’ch Fire, but still not great. No real danger in the book to satisfy the reader, not even really any anticipation. The cat Jade and her owner Lila are nasty, irrational and mean but they don’t really do anything to Hannah.
 
The book is Americanised to an extreme. Hannah travels from Boston to Kansas. See, I have some knowledge of geography, but only very little bit. So I felt almost completely lost. I’m sure Americans might appreciate the localisation more.
The ending was quite unsatisfying. Too open ended for me, and I just couldn’t love the way Hannah thought she could choose anything she wanted. The question of Lila wasn’t answered. Worse still, the next book in the series (there was a small excerpt at the end of this book) doesn’t seem to be about Hannah, and what she found. I’m just glad I didn’t get the sequel which was right next to it in the store.
I picked this book up while on my overseas holiday, and was actually tempted to just leave it at the house I was staying at. If I’ve met my weight limit when flying home, this one will not be returning with me. I don’t think it’s worth a second read – not enough depth.
Although this is marketed to young adult readers, I’d recommend this book for children who can’t see through transparent plots. Normally I would be relatively tolerant of perceived inadequacies in children’s books – they aren’t aimed at adults like me – but in this case, I’m not sure there were any really good redeeming qualities.
In my opinion, save your money, but if you’re still interested:

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