Goodreads Summary: "After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it."The beginning of this one was slow going for me; I didn't get that initial feeling of investment that usually draws me in and keeps me reading. Translation? It was put downable. At first. And then I started meeting more characters. And I was getting explanations. And strange concepts that I wanted explanations for. And things were happening. And then I was hooked and the book became increasingly difficult to put down.
I seem to be hooked on anything pertaining to mythology as of late and in that respect I got quite a bit more than I bargained for with When The Sea is Rising Red, but also a lot less than I wanted if that makes any sense. You see, there were all kind of mythological creatures that were being revealed and little glimpses into stories about them that existed in the world such as a character recalling the beginning of an old fairy tale and then poof it was gone. I wanted more. I wanted to know the "fairy tales" that these characters were told, their urban legends equivalents, etc. I wanted to "see" these creatures, not just get mentions of them. I mean, don't get me wrong, you do get encounters with some of them but they were far too brief for my liking. More I tell you! [Totally saddened by the fact that I've heard this is a standalone in this respect.]
As for our main character, Felicita, I had some issues with the brat in the beginning. I didn't think we would see eye to eye until I realized that it wasn't her, it was the way that she was raised in the world. She was incredibly realistic in that sense. Of course she would react the way she was to certain things, she had been told different her entire life, and so on and so forth. And then I started to enjoy her character because she was right for what was going on. I mean, people don't change in the blink of an eye and she was from a completely other world than those she found herself with, so to speak. [Personally, I hope that someday I can nail this amazing characterization in my own novels. Maybe, just maybe.]
I wanted to love this book, it had so much going for it with the characterization, the world, and the mythology but it just didn't quite reach that marker for me. Where the beginning seemed to lag, the ending seemed too rushed and left me a little disappointed. i wanted more I guess. I did like the story, I just didn't fall in love with it.