Cover Image: Along the Saltwise Sea

Along the Saltwise Sea

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Member Reviews

The second book in the YA fantasy series, The Up and Under, by A Deborah Baker (also known as Seanan McGuire), checks in on Zib and Avery as they amble along in the Up and Under hoping to find their way home.

This time they are once again accompanied by their friends Crow Girl and Niahm, as they try to follow the improbable road while looking for the Queen of Wands. This takes them under the Saltlwise Sea, onto a beach, with a brief respite in a vacant cottage. Unfortunately, this abandoned cabin actually belongs to a captain of the pirate ship. So onto the ship to pay off their debt they go. Hopefully, this will bring them a little closer to discovering their way back over the Woodward Wall and home.

This was another sweetly fantastical adventure by this remarkably talented author. A great read for both fans of young adult and adult fantasy. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second in the ‘Up and Under’ series by Seanan McGuire, under pen-name A. Deborah Baker, so I won’t go into specifics about the plot. The characters got a lot more development in this instalment, however the plot itself felt somewhat lacking. The new seafaring setting should have felt more adventurous but I found it predictable.

I’m definitely going to carry on with this series as I love the world that the author has created. Unfortunately this just wasn’t as gripping or exciting as the first and definitely felt like a sequel.

3 out of 5 stars!
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3.75- The adventures continue for Zib and Avery as they wind up on The Saltwise Sea. After climbing Over the Woodward Wall in book 1, Zib and Avery have some new companions traveling with them as they are forced to serve on a pirate ship and many questions arise about what is going on in this strange world they’ve found themselves in. Although I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first, I look forward to seeing where their adventures take them next!
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A delightful sequel to Over the Woodward Wall; a whimsical and oddly wholesome pirate ship setting and new cast of side characters were utterly enchanting. While the first book was quite episodic in nature, this had a more cohesive, singular plot which I preferred. These would be absolutely lovely stories for parents and school aged children to enjoy together if you’re looking for a read aloud bedtime story.
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This book has a pretty decent cover. The author wrote it very well. I enjoyed all of the characters, as well as the plot. It's a book that you just can't put down once you've started reading it. I think everyone who enjoys this genre should atleast try it, if you like it, you like it. If you don't, you don't.
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Brimming with its author's signature wit, humor, and wisdom, Along the Saltwise Sea is a short, yet beautiful continuation of Avery and Zib's journey through the Up-and-Under whose fairy tale leanings will enthrall both young readers and adult readers alike. This series is a perfect read for anyone looking for a whimsical adventure or looking to understand the intricacies of the Middlegame series from which it originates. I'm unsure how many more novellas Baker will write in this universe, but I'll gladly welcome as many as she'll write.
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When I originally requested this book on Netgalley, I was not aware that it was a sequel. I decided to just see if I could read it by itself, and I was thrilled to discover that the author did a wonderful job of summarizing the first book in the first chapter so you can dive right into the second one. 

This book felt just like a trip back to Wonderland. It was all nonsense and mishaps, and it was so much fun. It was a pure joy to read, start to finish, and I just loved it. It's short, which is great for our reluctant readers, and is so much fun that I know everyone who picks it up will just have a blast. I loved all of the characters and flew through this one to see what our heroes would get up to next. Loved this one!
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3.75 stars
This was, unfortunately, a lot duller than the previous instalment in this series, there was very little story progression and only at the end did the world-building expand.
I will still be reading any future books in this series but hopefully, they are more enjoyable
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The Up-and-Under is Seanan McGuire's series written as Deborah Baker from her SFF masterpiece, Middlegame. I love that these books function on their own as a Middle Grade or YA level series that feels a bit like the movie Return to Oz, the The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making series, or the animated series, Over the Garden Wall. And at the same time, they add to the richness that is Middlegame.

In this installment, Avery & Zib along with their two new companions from the Up-and-Under, Niamh & Crow Girl, continue along the Improbable Road and find themselves at the Saltwise Sea, and get a bit of a pirate ship adventure. The story doesn't have so much of a clearly defined beginning-middle-end, because the children's main story is definitely continuing on, but there is still a smaller arc that sees it's time finished. So I felt it was a satisfying read.

For me, the best bits of these books, in addition to all of the gorgeous imaginings, are moments when you see the children grow, when they recognize something about their reactions or decision-making and they make new choices - not necessarily better or worse choices, just new ones. It makes these books feel so hopeful, heartfelt and insightful all while telling a type of fairytale adventure. And it's a fairytale with claws and real consequences alongside the magic and whimsy, but a fairytale nonetheless.

I'd recommend this series for fantasy lovers, MGF/YA readers, and of course for fans of Seanan's Middlegame.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC, this is an honest review.
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I will admit to not liking this one nearly as much as Over the Woodward Wall, though it did keep the really nice "self-aware children's adventure story" vibes that made OWW so great. It did not, however, have quite as much drive. With Avery and Zib divergent from the improbable road, the book didn't have much forward momentum, and it felt more like we were learning background about characters and the world rather than meeting them and having adventures.

I do like the focus on Avery's interior self - both in his kindness and unintentional cruelty, as well as how he views the world and why order is not always ideal. I think we really got to see him grow.

But, again, by the end of the story, it felt like we didn't accomplish much. Will I still read the third one? Absolutely.
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Another delightfully whimsical installment in the Up-and-Under series from A. Deborah Baker. Our adventurous children Zib and Avery are joined by Niamh and the Crow Girl on a high seas adventure full of danger and mystery. Seanan McGuire has perfected these children's fairytale "books-in-a-book' that inspired the characters in Middlegame and they are just as enthralling as those characters found them. 
Thank you to Netgalley and Tor for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions and mistakes are my own.
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Such an interesting book, develop characters and interesting story! 

I enjoyed reading this book and it was very much like being part of an adventure.
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I'm a huge fan of Seanan McGuire. Her Urban fantasy and the gorgeous "post-portal" fantasy of The Wayward Children all  live on my book shelves. I'm also a huge fan of Mira Grant's scifi. I like a good zombie world or a species of killer aquatic humanoid. And I am definitely totally all the way in for a centuries spanning, alchemical epic. While I trust Seanan/Mira, I did start to worry a little when a third persona/personality arrived in A. Deborah Baker writing children's books. All right, I mean technically they're written by a character of the aforementioned alchemical epic Middlegame as part of her manipulative conspiracy, but that doesn't mean that theyre not a fun, clever read for the younglings. Or, if your me, the not quite so young and starting to complain about their knees.

 Zib and Avery's first adventure, Over The Woodward Wall started as a part of Middlegame, but was quickly released as a separate book. In it, two children with nothing in common but are still somehow connected find themselves in a strange and beautiful Oz-like adventure. There are plenty of cute and quirky characters. with big personalities. There are talking owls and trees, and in book two a pirate queen and their found family send them onto further and more nautical adventures. There is also delicate commentaries about parental expectations and gender roles, and McGuire/Grants trademark subtle queerness, and an invitation to explore and be curious, because "not knowing things means you have room to learn.

Woodward Wall  and Saltwise Sea are beautiful, modern fairytales that could easily segue into The Wayward Children as their readers age, and yet offer much to adult readers. Especially as they are likely to feature in, and add depth to the upcoming Middlegame sequel Seasonal Fears. Plus it's especially fun to play spot the alchemy symbolism. In short, a lyrical beauty for readers of all ages.
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I don't often like the second book in a series more than the first but that was the case with Along the Saltwise Sea. Seanan McGuire/A. Deborah Baker has my heart. Zib and Avery are the sweetest pair and the Up and Under is a beautiful and unique place. I appreciate this series for the limited information the reader is presented with, which I think normally I would see as an issue. There is a moment in the book where fairytales are discussed that I think will shape my appreciation for sci/fi-fantasy books for the rest of time.
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It's always a good day when I get to read a new Seanan McGuire/A. Deborah Baker book!

Along the Saltwise Sea continues the adventures of Avery and Zib in the Up-and-Under, a strange and magical world that these children climbed into one strange and magical day. This was incredibly charming and whimsical while also weaving in commentary on gender, sexism, prejudice, love, and friendship. I loved it. I love how Avery and Zib contrast and complement each other, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that they learn to understand along the way.

Unsurprisingly given the title, this installment includes a good chunk of time aboard a ship and the story expands our understanding of the Up-and-Under and its mythology. And if it's been awhile, you'll be pleased to know that chapter 1 is essentially a recap of what happened in the first book! It's a brief novel at just under 200 pages so I won't say too much more except that this swept me away and I loved. Can't wait for more books in the series! I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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These books are a whimsical combination of Over the Garden Wall, Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland; a combination that works pretty well, in some ways!

The writing style is gorgeous as usual - I have been in love with McGuire's prose since I read Middlegame last year, and it did not disappoint here either. My only issue is that I don't think it works that well in a middle-grade novel. It creates distance from the characters and the story, which is a bad combination with a whimsical story such as this, in my opinion.

It also leads to characters whose personalities are only described - and in a story where not much really happens plot wise, it makes it hard to relate to the characters.

I did like how the story relates to children and gives them a kind of wisdom that adults seldom have. They definitely understand things more easily than adults would do in a fairy tale like situation as they are in! The morality lessons were abit heavy handed for my taste at times though, but I'm more forgiving of this in a middle grade novel!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the arc!
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This book is best read aloud, to a child, one chapter per night at bedtime. It is a brief adventure, with a little mystery. It is charming and it feels old and new all at once.

I wish that the author didn't have to recap the previous book, because I felt like that took up so many space (is this a publisher that makes her do it? she's mentioned being obligated to for another of her series), but it works well.
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Along the Saltwise Sea is the sequel to Seanan McGuire's, writing here as A. Deborah Baker, 2020-release, Over the Woodward Wall. These novels, which are loosely-related to her tour de force of SFF, Middlegame, are perfectly suited for the young at heart.

The story follows two children, Zib and Avery, who upon encountering a giant wall where it shouldn't be on their walk to school one day, go up and over, thus finding themselves in a different world; the Up-and-Under. In the first novel, the children travel through a magical forest while following the improbable road, making friends and enemies along the way.

In this installment, Zib and Avery, joined by their new friends, Niahm and the Crow Girl, are exhausted from the continuous stress of their travels. Their hope is to find the Queen of Wands, who may have the answer on how to get them home.

Unsure of how much more they can take, however, they collectively decide they can't go on right away. They need to rest. Children need to rest. As luck would have it, they discover an abandoned cottage. It's pristine, with everything in place that they would need. Sure, it's a little ominous, but they can't resist.

They stay the night. Zib and Avery eternally grateful to have a comfortable bed in which to sleep through the night, as well as fresh running water. Unbeknownst to the children and their companions, the cottage actually belongs to a powerful pirate Captain, who believes they now owe her a debt for trespassing on her property and using her things without asking. The group agrees to board her ship and work for her for one week in order to pay off their debt. It certainly extends their adventure, but does it get the kids any closer to finding their way home?

Y'all, I absolutely LOVED my time reading Along the Saltwise Sea!! I'll admit, I was a little nervous going in, because it has been a long time since I have read Over the Woodward Wall. I was concerned I wouldn't remember enough of the story for this one to make sense. That was completely silly of me. I should have trusted McGuire.

This novel has the perfect amount of refresher at the beginning to let the Reader fall gracefully back into the story. It was seamless and probably the best transition between books I have ever read. Further, I am absolutely obsessed with the narrative voice of this series. It has that classic, whimsical fairy tale feel, meshed perfectly with modern inclinations on how to be a good human.

I say this because, I feel like fairy tales are intended to teach lessons and consequently, Zib and Avery are also learning lessons throughout their journey in the Up-and-Under. Fortunately, the lessons aren't outdated. They are perfectly tailored for today's world.

I love all of these characters so much. Avery and Zib are as opposite as opposite can get, but have learned to love and appreciate one another not just in spite their differences, but because of them. The setting of this one, mostly on the pirate ship, was just so fun! I love stories set at sea and this one captured everything I love about that atmosphere.

I cannot wait for the next installment of The Up-and-Under. I am not sure how long this series is slated to be, but I am hoping it goes for as long as the Wayward Children series. At least!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. It was an absolute delight!
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Along the Saltwise Sea is an enthralling sequel to Over the Woodward Wall, and I loved every minute of it. That being said, as the second book in a series, it sets up the scene for the third series so if you're expecting a lot out of this one, you might be disappointed. Regardless, it's a whimsical tale that captivates you and leaves you wanting more, and I am so excited for the next book in this series.
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This is the direct sequel to Over the Woodward Wall , the children’s book that featured in Middlegame. Zib and Avery are continuing their journey to the Impossible City with the Crow Girl and Niamh.  They fall into debt with a pirate captain after seeking shelter for the night in her cottage. A week’s worth of work for the night’s stay seems to be an ok trade with the pirate crew treating them fairly well. But there is a mystery on the ship and a book of Up and Under fairy tales that will bring the mystery to light.  
This is more of a middle book in the series and the children still have more traveling to do. Not sure where their journey will take them but it is a fun ride.  
Digital review copy provided by the publisher through Edelweiss
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