Jackson is an orphan, found in a box and brought to the foundling hospital, but an orphan unlike those who surround him: he has patches of scales and writhing something just under his skin. When a request is put in for orphans to travel West, since this is the 19th century, Jackson is unexpectedly one of those offered a place to live, travelling by train to an uncertain future at Macquarie's.
In his new home, Jackson finds himself embroiled in a territorial dispute as Cressida, the woman who has adopted him, attempts to stake her claim on a bigger part of the city and (he discovers almost too late) also has even more sinister plans. And there's a woman, or two in fact as Jackson becomes smitten with the daughter of Cressida's biggest rival while also romancing a local bakery owner's daughter.
Tobler's characters inhabit a strange world, one where stone and metal guardians can swallow the unwary and where nobody is quite who or what they seem. In all, The Kraken Sea wasn't perhaps quite what I was looking for as it took what seemed to be a long time to get the finale set up and then pretty much just stopped with what felt like an attempt to tie up all loose ends in a couple of pages. I also struggled a bit with Jackson's casual attitude towards the harm he does to other people - some justified by their behaviour, but not always; it wasn't really the ideal book for me, but I liked the writing and will keep an eye out for this writer to see if she puts out something that's more my speed in the future!
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Apex in exchange for an honest review.