One moment Sophie Hansa, is breaking up the violent mugging of her recently found Aunt Gale in San Francisco, and the next she finds herself magically catapulted into an ocean battling to keep her aunt alive in rough seas. "Child of a Hidden Sea" http://www.amazon.com/Child-Hidden-Sea-A-M-Dellamonica/dp/0765334496 is an adventure novel full of pirates, mystery, murder, and kidnapping. Sophie is an orphan, who wanted to find her birth mother, but ended up finding an entire new world - Stormwrack - where her family just wants her to go home and forget about them and their world.
But it seems circumstances are against the family. While Sophie does go home again to tell her step brother all about her trip, her unknown half-sister comes to get her because Sophie has imprinted on some magical devise of Gale. But while again visiting Gale in Stormwrack, Gale is violently murdered by mesmers, shape shifted attackers. While Gale has plenty of enemies, Sophie decides to investigate her death and try to find the killers.
It turns out Sophie is well suited to this role. While the people of Stormwrack seem to place a high premium on honor and a person's word, Gale's enemies are different. They are the children of the pirates who lost a war and their allies, who both are magically barred from fighting by a complex magical spell. These pirates, kidnappers, and killers want to destroy the peace and force Sophie to break the spell that is containing their warlike aggression. Then they kidnap Sophie's brother hoping that will break Sophie's spirit. Sophie however is no pushover. She pieces together their plot and seeks to stop their plan.
But making matters even more complicated, her family in Stormwrack is a disaster. It turns out that her mom being in San Francisco is no accident. She has run far from her husband, but not far enough.
This is a good story and once it gets going it had a lot of good elements. Dellamonica has an interesting magical system. The mystery of Sophie's parentage and the plot to break the peace are both handled well.
However, the beginning of the novel is hard to follow. It takes at least one and half reads to follow the action. This might be because on the kindle we have no flyleaf to alert us to the fact that Sophie ends up in a magical world from this mundane world. But it is also because Dellamonica thrusts us into the action without any exposition. Another minor peeve is the frequent cell phone discussions. While one can understand Sophie's wanting to use technology to prove her visit to the new world, I think Dellamonica overdid it.
Sophie is definitely a good character, who grows on you. Despite being cast adrift in a new world with no magical talent, she uses her smarts and courage to save one character from a hand grenade and a plot to destroy the peace.
Dellamonica has something here. Get on the boat.