The Ocean of Secrets, now I’m going to preface this review with the statement that I particularly wanted to like this, I really did. I’ve probably read this more times than I usually do when I decide to review something. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I can see a good story just below the surface and out of reach. I not here to review the story I wish I got, I here to review the story I actually got. Without further delay on with the review.
Nina and her adopted sister, Lia, decide to have a day at the beach, and despite the weather warnings, the two girls go out on their uncle’s boat. The weather does prove to be dangerous, and Lia is lost at sea. However, fortune smiles on Lia and she is picked up by a magical ship with just two crew members, Moria and Albert. With no way to get back, Lia joins them as they continue hiding from the floating Kingdom of Lyronaz. But they can’t hide forever.
Now, as awesome of a summary as that is the actual execution leaves something to be desired. The pacing to start is just a little too quick for me to get an idea of who Lia and Nina are. This is the only part that Nina is in so I can let that slide, but Lia is the main character, and this really should have been the time to get to know who she is before she gets pulled out of her life. This does make character growth difficult to find for her by the time you reach the end. And this may just be me, but I think the beginning is a better-told story than the rest of the actual story.
The artwork is very nice, and most of the time following a situation is easy enough, but sometimes it is hard to follow; like panels or pages are missing which doesn’t help the pacing. A couple of times the words go right into the spine making it hard to read at all. It can be done without ripping the book in half, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Occasionally a phrase pops up that reminds you that English isn’t the first language of the author, but it’s not too distracting.
The real problems with the story start showing up when Lia is rescued by Moria. The problems are not because of Moria and Albert bring Lia into their magical world, but more of the result of trying to present too much too fast. This results in a metric tonne of information being dumped on the reader; nearly the whole of chapter 2 is just an exposition dump with very, very little character being introduced for Moria and Albert.
Chapter 3 starts by remedy the lack of characterization for Moria and Albert; giving they something a little more to their characters. But another problem becomes far more pronounced; the lack of a sense of time. Things start happening and move on far too quickly. On one page for example, in one panel they start doing something that would take a good bit of time and the next they’re done.
The rest of the story more or less just coasts on what chapter 3 built for it, and the story ends with a nice little bow and room for a sequel. Not really improving on any of its previous problems, and not introducing any new problems or bringing other problems to the forefront.