Books & Literature

Book Review: The Silver Sea, by Belinda Murrell

MIDDLE GRADE: The second book in Belinda Murrell’s Tuscian series, set in an Italian Renaissance inspired world filled with magic, mystery, mischievous creatures, and danger at every turn!

A spellbinding adventure inspired by Italian culture, history, and folklore.

The Silver Sea is the second book in Belinda Murrell’s Tuscian series. Sophie returns to the enchanted land of Tuscia, where she must rescue her Nanna and Caterina Rossellana, who have been kidnapped. To save them, Sophie and Nicco must team up with a travelling theatre troupe and venture across the Silver Sea to the mysterious city of Venetto.

Continuing with the message of female empowerment that weaved seamlessly through Book One, The Silver Sea introduces readers to a new confident and dynamic character, Viola. She is the head of the theatre troupe and leads her team through a land where men are in charge and women are given less of a voice. Sophie also has a run-in with a Siren, introducing readers to another layer of mythical creatures in Tuscia.

The only letdown is how helpless the grandmothers become once they are kidnapped, after being portrayed as formidable women in the first book and at the beginning of this book. It was hard to believe they would give up so quickly. Granted, they are elderly, but their minds become as weak as their bodies. Much like learning our parents are not invincible, it felt like a bit of a disappointment and one I am not sure middle-grade readers would be ready to learn.

The rest of the story remains as engaging as Book One, with strong world-building and fleshed-out characters, mixing historical events with Murrell’s fantasy world. If the first book was the introduction to Tuscia and Sophie’s family history, Book Two explores the other cities within Tuscia with a more political focus. With women’s rights at the forefront, Sophie experiences situations which allow her to appreciate how much her world has progressed.

In true Belinda Murrell style, this middle grade read continues to interlace thoughtful messages of forgiveness, empathy, teamwork, and believing in yourself through an action-packed adventure, resulting in an enjoyable and engaging read for young audiences.

The review of the first book in the series, The Golden Tower, can be read here.

Reviewed by Jessica Incoll
Twitter: @littlejadventur

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: August 2022
RRP: $16.99

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