Cover Image: The Sea of the Dead

The Sea of the Dead

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In The Sea of ​​the Dead, the second installment in The Magicians of Venice series, Amy Kuivalainen takes us, along with her characters, on a race across the globe to rescue Tim, a friend and archaeologist colleague of Penelope's.
The big question here is: can Penelope trust her friends Tim and Carolyn to keep Alexis and her family's secret?
The adventures continue, with new characters and settings and a big and unexpected twist, but the enemy is the same: the demon Thevetat and his high priest Abaddon.
Now that Penelope has accepted her role as Archivist, will she be able to control her magic?
I thank the author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
The opinion I have expressed above is based solely on what I think and feel about this book.

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What a wonderful sequel this was..I adored the plot and the characters. The writing was gripping and the story kept me hooked.

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Once again, a 5 star book from Kuivalainen! This definitely didn’t suffer from second book syndrome and I am anxious awaiting book 3!

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ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sea of the Dead is the second book in the Magicians of Venice series and it picks up where we left off in book one - Penelope is now moved into the house in Venice, her and Alexis are still tip-toeing around each other for whatever reason and the Priests of Thevetat are out there building their army. When I read the first book, I remember absolutely loving it, despite its flaws! This series is just one of those for me, where I can acknowledge that it's not the most well done of all, but it's definitely entertaining and engaging enough for me to keep reading!

This book was not much different but I definitely liked the first one better! For starters, this one doesn't really have a high stakes serial killer investigation going on on the side to keep the pacing up. It follows a more Mission Impossible/Indiana Jones-esque plot where there's this one important thing and a bunch of bad guys don't want you to have it. I mean it wasn't bad per se, but I guess I enjoy a classic murder investigation more is all.

Once again, you could tell that a lot of research went into the whole...mythology behind everything Magician-related in this book, but I would've liked it if it were relayed in a less info-dumpy way! It was still okay, all things considered, but not the most fun, I guess.

I wanted to see more of Phaidros and the gang, but we didn't get as much backstory. Which was kind of a bummer. The romance between Alexis and Penelope was kind of center-stage but even it felt like it was oscillating between being overly open (like I'm talking almost a Rhys/Feyre level of flirting here) and extremely shy and uncertain and I was like 'pick a struggle you two'. It didn't make sense to me that they were so shy around each other because, like, didn't they declare their undying love for each other in the last book? Wasn't that a whole thing? Anyway, they do get over it around the halfway point so it's okay, it's forgive-able.

My least favourite part of this book was the writing style. It felt very matter-of-fact and cold and didn't do enough for the mystical nature of the story for me! It wasn't unreadable but that's a low bar.

Overall, I didn't really love this book as much, but I don't think I dislike it either. Atleast not enough to stop reading the series! I'm looking forward to seeing how the author takes the story from here! I will definitely say though - this is just not everyone's cup of tea!

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First off, the book was well-researched!

It was just not a pleasure to read. It felt like miles of dialogue interspersed with some mythological, religious, cultural references.

I had hoped it would be as good as Book 1, The Immortal City. It started strong but then somehow fizzled out.

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I ordered this book not knowing it was a sequel, so ... Shame on me.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.

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What did I like about The Sea Of The Dead?
I’m extremely impressed with Amy’s writing style. It feels graceful and full-bodied but still amazingly easy to read. I enjoy her prose; the way she weaves different languages into her tale while adding the archaic Atlantean. The ancient historical and magical languages added a depth of realism which was inspiring.

The Magicians of Venice series is an unexpected find that I will treasure. I thought that the story in The Sea Of The Dead was intelligent and felt professionally researched and cleverly balanced myth and fantasy with the hard brutality of a suspense thriller.

I need my female protagonists to exhibit certain traits. She has to be intelligent, resilient and look after herself. Penelope proved to be all of these things and continued to grow and evolve during this adventure. However, this story isn’t just about Dr Penelope Bryne, there are a host of well-written characters in this book. Some we met in book 1, while others were introduced during the course of this story. However, each character played their part and helped the plot to move forward. I liked the way that Amy seemed to build upon our relationships with the entire supporting cast over the course of this book. Giving us further insights into their personalities, histories and motivation brought them alive in my imagination.

Crime thrillers aren’t my usual reading genre, especially ones involving brutal killers. However, The Sea Of The Dead captured my interest and kept me hooked. It had me so captivated and invested in our protagonists that my emotions came thick and fast. I found myself blubbering like a baby as well as giggling out loud. Some of the scenes horrified and shocked me and I didn’t want to keep reading. It also had my blood boiling with fear and rage. However, the romance and love within its pages warmed my old romantic heart while the more erotic, sexual scenes hit all the right spots passion-wise *blush*.

Was there anything I disliked about it?
As you can tell by my rating, I really enjoyed this book. My only niggle was that I had already guessed a few twists before they had been revealed. There were a few growls at my Kindle because I was frustrated that these proven intelligent characters hadn’t already realised what I had worked out myself pages earlier.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that, as the second book in a new series, there are threads that are left to continue to book 3. However, rest assured dear reader, there’s no perilous life-or-death cliffhanger for our main characters to leave you bereft and frustrated. Woop!Woop!

Basically, what I’m saying is…
I really liked this gripping story and lost track time while reading it. The Sea Of The Dead has everything that I look for in a great read. There’s adventure, mystery, action, great characters, a little humour, and some wonderful romance.

Content Warning:
This book has graphic violence and explicit sex as well as some darker themes. Therefore, I’d only recommend this book to adults who are OK reading material of this nature.

I’d recommend The Sea Of The Dead to adults enjoy urban fantasy stories about myths and magic. Especially those who love modern crime thrillers – think Dan Brown – with the added layers of relationship drama – family, platonic and romantic.

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"The Sea of the Dead" has been one of my most anticipated ARC books this year. I LOVED "The Immortal City"- urban fantasy/romance/history at its best. Which also made me very nervous for book two- but this was mostly as amazing as I hoped it would be :).

In a series, character growth is as important to me as the actual story line. I appreciate an author who can continue to write his or her characters in a way that furthers the plot. Book Two introduces Penelope's two close friends- Tim and Carolyn. As Penelope's two worlds merge, Penelope develops as a character- she has to consider to what extent she 'owes' explanations to her older friendships, but also what she needs to do to be loyal to her new ones. The author did a wonderful job with this while of course, pushing the magical plot forward.

My only complaint with this book was the romance between the two main characters. It reminded me of old teenage drama shows I loved as a teenager. Two characters nauseatingly obsessed with each other. As an adult, all I could think was, "I get it... I GET IT. Enough with describing how unbelievably sexy the man is. Yay. He looks good with clothing. YAY he looks good without clothing." If my tone didn't come through there, imagine lots of eye rolls.

The book ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger, but the episodic plot is resolved. I am very happy with this book (especially as a book 2), and look forward to what the next book has to offer. Thank you to Netgalley and BHC Press for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to author Amy Kuivalainen for an excellent follow-up. Definitely an author to keep watching!

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this was a really enjoyable read, the characters were great and I really enjoyed going through this journey. I liked the way the author writes.

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A highly entertaining and gripping story. Great character development and world building.
The author is a good storytelling and the story kept me hooked.
I can't wait to read another story by this author, recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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The second book in the Magicians of Venice series by Amy Kuivalainen is titled The Sea of the Dead. A young adult paranormal fantasy that does not disappoint! Kuivalainen writing style is captivating with intriguing storytelling and world-building. The characters have layers that slowly unveil to show the characters' backstories. The Sea of the Dead is an intriguing fantasy.

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I really enjoyed the first book in this series so I was looking forward to getting back to this world but unfortunately I found this book so boring I could not finish it. This book starts off so slowly and focuses so much more on the relationship between Penelope and Alexis that it felt like a completely different series. In the first book there was the murder and mystery that Penelope first found herself in but that’s missing here. There’s a new mystery involving her fiend but the reveal is so painfully slow it could not hold my interest. Unfortunately I have to say even if you enjoyed the first book like I did this follow up is not worth your time. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Thank you netgalley for a review copy. I really enjoyed this sequel. I would definitely recommend to read the first book "The Immortal City" to set the tone. But separating the first book from the second, the sequel had a solid plot that built on from the first book and more interesting characters.. The main character, Penelope was very likable and smart. If you like reading about an academic main character that goes on an adventure and meets magicians from an ancient, thought to be fictional civilization, this book is a great option. The author's writing is very good and I really liked my time reading her books

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A great continuation of the Immortal city, a book filled with history, wonder and characters who despite being immortal are distinctly human in their pain and joy.

I really enjoyed this book, though it felt it was missing a little something towards the end. I kept expecting a big bang ending like in the first book, with Kreios and Abaddon finally showing if only to escape again, but this happened a bit differently and while it made sense, it wasn’t as satisfying as a big showdown might have been.

It was great to learn more about Penelope’s human friends – I really appreciated Carolyn’s character and the fact that we as humans think we know and understand something (magic) but once we’re faced with it, we react in an expected way (horror, disbelief).

Alexis was a wonderfully understanding lover, in more ways than one, and seeing a good, working, consensual relationship on the page was great. I don’t know why more authors don’t do it – hunks can be hot, powerful AND understanding. All other side relationships were developed well too, making every couple distinct because of the people taking part in it.

The Sea of the Dead was definitely an enjoyable read and I remain a strong fan of the series and Amy’s writing – it’s clean, with flowing prose and obvious research hours put in. I can’t wait for book 3, where I’m sure I will get my big showdown and sate my thirst for paranormal bloodshed.

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Actual rating: 3.5 stars
"The Sea of the Dead" by Amy Kuivalainen picks up a few weeks after "The Immortal City" left off, but this time in Israel. The story begins once Penelope takes off with the other Atlanteans and her friend Caroline.

Kuivalainen's cast of characters continues to be entertaining. This book allows the Atlanteans to come together as a family since there are more scenes of them interacting beyond the needs of the plot.
Penelope remains headstrong but she does take a few steps back to evaluate her actions and come up with a plan that involves the others. Meanwhile, Alexis is less reserved as his drive to protect Penelope increases. As such, I find they balance each other out well as a couple.

There are a couple of things with the characters that I wasn't a fan of. The first was Tim's whole character. When Tim is described by others, he's always an excellent archaeologist who follows the rules, and who's passion for his subject is borderline obsessive. However, this isn't what comes through in practice. Rather he's reckless and little better than a treasure hunter who's been handed an academic pass.
The second was how Penelope's pre-existing friendships were handled. Within a few weeks, Penelope's oldest friends become irrelevant in her story. Surrounding herself with just the Atlanteans isolates her character and leaves her with little outside support.

The world continues to be fascinating, though. Kuivalainen weaves the Atlanteans through our history, through flashbacks, stories and historical items that show up throughout the text. She gives the group a solid backstory without it being info-dumped onto the reader.

In terms of plot, "The Sea of the Dead" is fast paced, with plenty of action as well as quieter moments. It's never overwhelming and I enjoyed my reading of it. I was especially surprised by one of the plot twists. I didn't see it coming but, in retrospect, it fits into the story very well. However, the plot structure lacks certain elements that would allow the book to stand on its own. "The Sea of the Dead" constantly builds towards big moments without having one overarching climax so it felt like the book was cut short. Even though this is the middle book in a trilogy, I believe it could have had its own big final scene, the way the first book did.

Overall, I enjoyed Amy Kuivalainen's "The Sea of the Dead". Despite its flaws, it's a good sequel as well as a good set up for the final book.

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The Sea of the Dead follows through on the promise of the intricate new magical world started in last year's The Immortal City. It picks up after the events of Immortal City as Alexis, Penelope, the delightful Marco Dandolo, and the rest of the Magicians of Atlantis are trying to come to grips with entering a new war against the demon Thevetat. But it's Penelope's world that brings them the next clue, in the shape of her friend Tim Sanders. An archaeologist focusing on the Dead Sea, Tim finds a scroll with a curse on it, but stays sane long enough to send the scroll to Penelope to keep from Thevetat's acolytes, who are hunting him for it. Penelope and her best friend Carolyn go to Israel to find Tim and become caught up in the race to find prophecies from the Dead Sea Scrolls before the demon's followers can bring about more destruction.

Part of what I enjoyed about The Immortal City was the almost non-stop action and danger. Penelope gets thrown into the deep end and has to sink or swim- and in the process of following her heart she becomes a part of an amazing new world of magic and mysteries. There's almost no time to think, its all about action and instinct. The Sea of the Dead takes a different approach with slower pacing, less instant and violent danger at every corner, and the chance for the characters to think through their actions and choices in ways they couldn't in The Immortal City. Here, they aren't trying to stop a serial killer on a deadline but are trying to unravel a prophecy Tim has found in order to take the next steps in the war against Thevetat. And the change of pace and mindset works surprisingly well. As instantly explosive as Penelope and Alexis were in The Immortal City, in Sea of the Dead, we get to see both of them trying to figure out what their relationship is when there is no life or death threat hanging over them. They have plenty to learn about each other, and how a relationship between them could work- and both are charmingly awkward and afraid to take the steps necessary to figure it out.

Penelope's old world and new collide here as she brings her two best friends into the circle, with mixed success. Carolyn and Tim react very differently to the knowledge that magic is real and a lot of the emotional punch the book gives us is in how they handle that knowledge- and with how Penelope has changed because of that knowledge. I also loved getting to see the magicians in different settings, to learn more about their pasts- either in throw away lines or in deeper memories. They've each got thousands of years of experiences that made them who they are and we get to peel through the layers with Penelope to discover them. The improving relationship between Phaidros and Aleia is lovely to watch, and we get to see a new a protective side of both Lyca and Zo that is great.

The Sea of the Dead is wonderfully written, with masterfully detailed world-building and plenty of suspenseful action and emotion. A new reader could start here and not be overly lost, but I would still recommend starting the series with The Immortal City. Although not exactly a cliffhanger, the end is clearly ramping everyone up for an epic Book 3. Hopefully in Book 3 we'll get lots more of Marco and the story of the Dandolo family and the Magicians, as well as the wonderful relationship between Penelope and Alexis and Phaidros and Aliea. Between sea monsters and secrets, deserts and the waters of Venice, heartbreak and the beautiful discovery of love, The Sea of the Dead has it all, and will thrill fantasy lovers everywhere.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Penelope’s adventures with Alexis and the magicians continues in the second book of The Magicians of Venice books by Amy Kuivalainen. And my adventures too because I was with her when she wandered the palazzo by herself, discovered the Archives further and courted Alexis.

The story picks up mostly where the first book left off. Penelope and the magicians still try to chase down Thevetat and his followers. This time though one of Penelope’s friends is in deep trouble. Tim finds an ancient scroll which contains a secret that was buried for thousands of years. Penelope and Alexis must travel Israel to find Tim before Thevetat’s followers do.

I was so very excited when I received an ARC for The Sea of the Dead because I absolutely loved the previous book and wanted to get back to the story. The story flows nicely and I couldn’t put the book down, I needed to know what happens next.
The love between Penelope and Alexis is magical, I could practically feel their love for each other radiating from the pages.

The characters are all well-developed, I just love that Kuivalainen reveals more and more from their past lives which makes me love them all the more.
They are funny, always poke fun at each other and have each other’s backs all the time. I can imagine living with them, fighting with them, laughing with them…

Thank you to NetGalley and BHC Press for my copy.

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Loved this continuation of The Immortal City! What a great series so far. Full of magic, adventure, and intrigue. Not to mention the magic, and the kick-ass heroine! The world building is phenomenal and I love the bits of historical fiction thrown in as well.

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Upon finishing Amy Kuivalainen’s The Immortal City last year and discovering it was the first in an intended series, I decided it was promising enough to keep an eye out for the second book. With most of the world building out of the way, that second book, the upcoming The Sea of the Dead moves a lot smoother. While the plot does advance the larger arc of the series a few steps, the main focus is on Penelope’s adjusting to the life she’s chosen as the Archivist and the repercussions that decision (and the war the magicians are fighting) has on her existing friends.

One of Penelope’s friends from college, Tim, is an archaeologist as determined to find more fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls as Penelope was to find the rest of her Atlantis tablet. But what he finds sets dangerous people after him and he does the only thing he can think of – he mails his discovery to Penelope for safe keeping. Soon, Penelope learns that Tim is missing and that means flying their mutual friend Carolyn in from Australia to help with the search… and figuring out what – if anything – to tell both of them about her new life and magician friends.

The characters and their friendships remain my favorite thing about this series (and I think they’re the most compelling and consistent element as well). Seeing how Penelope interacts with the other magicians as opposed to how she interacts with Carolyn and Tim illuminate just how much her character grew and changed from the early pages of the first book. So much of the emotional side of the story focuses on the dilemma she faces as she wrestles with how much of the truth to share with them. The battle with the priests of Thevetat is something she wants to protect them from. She also needs to protect the magicians from the larger world. It’s a test of friendship that includes a great deal of philosophizing on what healthy friendships look like, how those relationships need to grow and evolve along with the people in them.

While the plotting of the action is pretty tight, the action itself remains a little underwhelming, particularly at the climax. Not that it’s necessarily better or more powerful to see some of the violence that takes place, but compared to how the previous book ended, I was expecting a little more to this next step in the larger story. It packs an emotional punch but so much of it feels like it happens “off-screen” and almost like a cop out. Luckily, the characters are so well developed that their reactions help to make up for the odd way the climax unfolds.

As with the first book, every time the detective, Marco Dandolo, appeared, I wished that he was given a more prominent role in the story. The fact that he still has a role in the story and that he’s one of the few who knows the whole truth about the magicians and their war, gives me hope that there is still a chance he’ll play a larger role yet in the series. The final pages of The Sea of the Dead create a clear cliffhanger (though one that I didn’t find as compelling as the conclusion to The Immortal City) and I’m still invested enough to keep going, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for book three, hopefully sometime next year.

The Sea of the Dead will be available September 17, 2020.

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The sequel to "The Immortal City" was underwhelming, at best. I so wanted this book to blow me away and be full of amazing magical archivist action! But, alas, that is not what happened. The book went on a romp through the Middle East and became more of a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" meets "The Librarian" (movies), without living up to the awesomeness of either. The author keeps teasing interesting things - things that the meat of the series/books SHOULD ACTUALLY BE ABOUT - and abandoning them for whatever frivolous adventuring she'd prefer to focus on.

Why can't this book focus on the magical archive? The magic Penelope has inside of her? The fact that Penelope is probably actually an actual natural magician? The answer is probably because the author is trying sooooooooooo hard to stretch this into some long series. Well, when the books are boring, is it really worth sacrificing a great idea for stretch? Meh.

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