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BLOG TOUR: Review: Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron

SeaOfStrangersTour

SUMMARY

36571468Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Received From: NetGalley

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.

GENDER SEXUALITY PAIRINGS

GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: bisexual
PAIRING: M/F

TAGS TROPES WARNINGS

TROPES: magical abilities, hurt/comfort
TAGS: young adult, fantasy, queer characters, queer romance, POC characters, interracial relationship
WARNINGS: explicit violence, open water, dissociation, suicide, torture, genocide, slurs, enbymisia, parental death

REVIEW

The incredible worldbuilding of the first installment in the Ryogan Chronicles continues with this novel, and the characters become ever more lovable, one can’t help but root for them and their success.

Once again, Erica Cameron has produced a wonderful novel. The fantasy world that she’s created with this series continues to grow more complex, revealing other cultures and ways of living as Khya and her squad travel across the sea to Ryogo in search of a way to take down Varan. They land on Ryogo and discover a land that is the complete opposite of the desert home they know, as it’s filled with trees and snowy mountains and reaches levels of cold that are unimaginable to Khya and her friends. On Ryogo, they meet several different peoples and cultures, with various different ways of life. Of special interest was Lo’a and her family, who travel by caravan and have magic like those on Shiara, but who have different methods for channeling the abilities.

It was also interesting to see how the Ryogans treated gender and sexuality differently than Shiarans. In those aspects, and others, Ryogo is definitely far more like American culture in that it oppresses and disdains those who are anything other than allocishet, and to read it puts a bad taste in your mouth. We only learn about Ryogo in bits and pieces as Khya and the group travel, but it’s enough to make the reader decide that Shiara is the preferred culture to live in.

And, as always, Cameron has an amazing cast of characters. Khya, Tessen, and their group are familiar as we met all of them in the first novel, but we get to see them change and develop and grow as more of their beliefs are shattered, as they’re faced with new situations that force them to come out stronger on the other side. Alongside them, however, we meet another, smaller cast of characters in Lo’a and her family, the travellers who reluctantly take Khya and the group on but prove to be the best of allies in the end, and a child they meet in the mountains who clings to Sanii and Etaro once ey join the group.

Also, it was so great, on a personal level, to watch Khya and Tessen’s relationship develop. It’s hugely different from the first novel. In this, they are more tender and careful and loving with each other, while acknowledging the other’s strength and supporting them in their decisions. They make a really fantastic pairing and I cannot wait to see how that develops further in the third book.

By far the most treasured aspect of this series is the diversity. All the characters are racially diverse, with next to no white characters, and everyone is queer. The mentions of skin tone, past sexual partners, gender, and so many other related topics are so easily dropped into conversation, and largely unquestioned, that it’s so incredibly refreshing to read. One of my favorite scenes was when Khya and Tessen manage to find some alone time and he just casually mentions that he had sex with another boy back on Shiara and Khya just makes a joke and they continue what they’re doing. She doesn’t bat an eye because it’s seen as natural to be bisexual and explore with other genders. And I still love the Shiara has a third recognized gender for enby people and they aren’t considered lesser at all.

Erica Cameron brings together another fantastic novel with Sea of Strangers, and I look forward to the third installment, as well as other projects she’ll produce in the future!

RATING4 STARSABOUT THE AUTHOR

6539315After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years studying psychology and creative writing, basically getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Now, she’s the author of several series for young adults. She’s also a reader, asexuality advocate, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, Florida resident, and quasi-recluse who loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.

Her debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, released March 2014 and it was the first volume of The Dream War Saga. In May 2015, Erica and her co-author Lani Woodland launched the Laguna Tides series with Taken by Chance. Riptide’s YA imprint Triton Books began the Assassins series with Discord in September 2016. The Ryogan Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy through Entangled Teen, launched in 2017 with Island of Exiles. Next up, Erica will be working with Entangled Teen to create a young adult science fiction trilogy pitched as Star Trek: Voyager meets The Expanse and Battlestar Galactica; Pax Novis is set to fly in 2018.

BUY LINKS

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REVIEW BY LEAH

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