Blog Tour & Review: Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron


Welcome to today’s stop on the Sea of Strangers blog tour! Sea of Strangers is the sequel to Island of Exiles and the second book in the Ryogan Chronicles, a world where magic users and immortals live, and a warrior clan in the middle of a desert island finds out they have been deceived by their leaders.

Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2)
by Erica Cameron
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Know your enemy if you want to survive…
The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.
Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

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EXCERPT

The sight of him against the stone sparks a memory that makes my hands still. I laugh. “You know, it’s several moon cycles late, but we’re finally exactly where the entire city thought we were when we kept sneaking off.”

“I’m glad they’re finally right.” He runs his free hand up my bare thigh, his touch and his voice shaky, but it’s the wide-eyed disbelief on his face that makes my heart skip a beat. “I hoped, but I wasn’t sure it’d ever happen.”

I sit up straighter, flattening my palm against the center of his chest and watching him. “The way you’re looking at me, it seems like you’re still not sure it’s happening.”

“The good moments have been rare recently.” His hand slides over my hip and presses against the center of my lower back, drawing me down until his lips brush against mine before he whispers, “And this is unbelievably good.”


My review

Khya’s journey to get back her brother and stop the Miriseh has the squad going to Ryogo to seek out the secrets of how the Miriseh came to be. Most of this book is devoted to the journey to Ryogo, the hardships they face on sea and on land (having to hide from Ryogan military forces), and the search for the immortality that Varan had created, and finally them having to choose between the right thing and the smart thing.

The pacing of the story is slower than that of the first, even though it takes place over more terrain. They go from the sea, then a hidden port in the northern parts of Ryogo, come across a nomadic outcast clan (who also happen to be desosa wielders in a different way), brave treacherous climbs on sacred mountains, and race to stop Varan and his Itagamin army before they reach Ryogo. The middle third of the book feels too expansive and nothing of import happens for the most part, so I was kind of bored there, but towards the end it picks up. I liked the addition of Lo’a’s clan, and how good it was for them to have at least one ally in this foreign land, but they do run into them too frequently to be entirely plausible. The distances and timeline don’t make much sense but there wasn’t a map to see, so…

On the character side, Khya feels distant in this book. I don’t know whether it was the pacing that affected it, but I couldn’t connect to her emotionally in this book. There are so many new things coming out – like to the extent they were betrayed by the Miriseh, the different social customs and community structure in Ryogo, but it doesn’t seem like it is shown to affect the characters much, or they mostly take it in stride. Even for a warrior clan, they seem pretty chill about the newness of it all. And Varan’s original quest for immortality seems so amazing, considering he did alone what an entire squad is struggling through. Like, I know he is a villain but I’m still impressed, yo!

I, however, liked the continued attention to how the gender and sexuality of this world are quite different; although, it must be noted that this difference is shown to be limited to Itagami and Lo’a’s clan – Ryogo mostly favors a heteronormative structure and there is one instance of queermisia when an ebet (the third sex in this world) child tells of how ey and eir mother were persecuted by Ryogo. There is, on the other hand, canonical bisexual and asexual characters, three sexes, an established polyamorous relationship in the secondary character ensemble, as well as outright depiction of non-exclusive relationships in this book (hint: Khya gets another love interest), which I think is awesome for a fantasy genre book.

The ending leaves us on the cusp of an oncoming war, and I am obviously interested in how Khya will now match up against Varan. Like, even with all their awesomeness, Khya and her squad are still sort of underdogs when you consider the whole Itagamin army of desosa users they will have to face. That third book is going to be epic!

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Entangled Teen, via Netgalley.


Quotes


Also in series: Island of Exiles

In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle. On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.
But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.
To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.

You can find my review of Island of Exiles here.


Giveaway!

Sea of Strangers Prize Pack, including:**
* A signed copy of Sea of Strangers
* A $20 Visa gift card
* A swag pack
**For international: 1 copy from book depository and a $20 Visa gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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