i received a copy of to the sea from harper collins nz in exchange for an honest review.

star rating

to the sea review

to the sea follows a cult like family who live in a remove part of new zealand. they live off the land, and where necessary they rent out a cabin for income.

while to the sea sounded good in theory, i found the execution was somewhat lacking. there were plenty of interesting things going on in iluka – ranging from manipulation to murder.

the book got a little boring sometimes with the time jumps (the book alternated between anahita many years ago, and ana in the present). i found anahita to be rather boring and unrelatable. ana was tolerable. while i enjoyed nikau, he also became somewhat annoying in the middle (only to be good again by the end).

this book tackles some tough topics. the patriarch of the family is heavily sexist and full of himself – forcing his family to live away from society and by his rules. it was difficult to read some of the scenes where abuse was laid on certain characters (including infants). (i believe there was also hints at child sexual assault, but i could have misread the situation).

to the sea is labelled a “thriller”, although there was really nothing that thrilling about it. it was a mystery that handled some difficult topics.

overall, while the plot was solid, i think to the sea could’ve worked better with some more relatable characters. while our main character and nikau were the most interesting, it wasn’t enough to keep me invested.

if you’re looking for a dark book that tackles some heavy topics and delves into psychological trauma, i think this book would be a great fit for you. if you’re looking for a fast paced thriller, it may not be the one.

buy your copy now

mighty ape | the nile | paper plus | whitcoulls


  1. avatar
    WendyW says:

    You’re right, the premis sound promising. Sorry you didn’t love this one.

    1. avatar

      i’m sorry too. hopefully the next one is better.

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