Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron: Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Sea of Strangers, the second book in the Ryogan Chronicles by Erica Cameron! Today I have a review for you, as well as a really fabulous giveaway! 

Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron: Review & Giveaway Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron
Series: The Ryogan Chronicles #2
Published by Entangled: Teen on December 5th 2017
Pages: 340
Format:ARC
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review

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.

Way back in January, I read and reviewed the first book in this series, Island of Exiles. It’s set in a really unique and diverse world, and I was really excited to dive back in! This sequel picks up right where book one left off, and I will be keeping this spoiler-free for both books!

What I Liked:

  • So. Much. Diversity. Like I said in my review of book one, this world is so full of diverse characters. It is, to our main characters, something to be celebrated. Not only is differing appearance, culture, and sexual identity/preference the norm here, but our main character Khya is clearly eager to learn about the cultures and mores of others she encounters. It’s refreshing that she actively seeks to learn the way others outside her group do things, and she tries incredibly hard to honor their differences and embrace them.
  • Sex has always been portrayed in this series as a good, positive, normal part of life. In Khya’s world, no one is judged by who they are, who they love, or who they don’t love if applicable. There are three genders, and each is treated with the same dignity and respect. Khya and her group does encounter some people who don’t feel the same, and I like that this was addressed, since in our own world, this is unfortunately the case.  Khya’s group, especially those of the ebet gender, are forced to face some discrimination, but also use their experience to help others.
  • This world continues to be impressively unique. The author has basically made up an entire society, full of culture, language, and traditions. In book one, we’re introduced to Khya’s home, but this book ventures out a bit more and the world is profoundly expanded. Therefore, the author has created an even more spectacular, bigger set of unique elements. It’s certainly like nothing I have encountered before!
  • There’s a lot of moral gray area while Khya and her team try to do the “right thing”. There isn’t always a “good” choice; often there is just a choice that the group deems less awful than another. It definitely makes for some quality tense moments as the story progresses. They also often have to choice between personal desires and what is best for the group at large, something that most people will face in their lives. Again, makes for provocative storytelling.

What I Didn’t:

  • The biggest hardship for me while reading was trying to remember/figure out all the elements of this world. It’s not an easy series to read. There are a lot of words that have to be translated, and a lot of magical terminology that I needed to try to remember. A lot of “oh crap, what the hell is that again?”, which did take me out of the story a bit.
  • Similarly, the deluge of characters made me feel a bit disconnected. As there were of course new characters added into this sequel, there were plenty of leftover characters from book one to be accounted for. Sometimes, when the characters were injured or facing death, I had a hard time remembering if I was supposed to care about them, so that was a bit of a bummer.

Will I Read the Next Book: Certainly! I definitely am excited to find out how it ends!

Bottom Line: This is a solid follow up set in an incredibly unique and diverse world!

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About Erica Cameron

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.

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

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So, what is a book with really unique world-building that you have read and loved?

Posted December 21, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review / 7 Comments


7 responses to “Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron: Review & Giveaway

  1. This is pretty much exactly how I felt about the second book, minus the remembering part (since I had just finished the first book). I just couldn’t quite connect to all the new characters and so I didn’t feel a lot for them when bad things happened to them. BUT I loved the magic in this installment, and I still loved the diversity and the creativity in the worldbuilding.

    • HA we are such twins sometimes- I had to try hard to NOT say all the same stuff as you since you posted your review first 😂 There is so much good stuff about this series, and I think it’s actually helpful to know that it IS a harder read when going into it- like I knew it would take me a bit more time than usual, so I wasn’t as overwhelmed I think? I am curious to see how it ends!

  2. Ooh sounds good. I love the moral gray areas, and having to make choices that are “less awful” rather than ideal- kinda like The 100, yes?? Ha ha. Plus the worldbuilding sounds fab. I’m not always a fan of made up words and languages that have to be translated, especially if it’s overdone to the point where it slows down the story, so that might irk as well. Otherwise sounds pretty dang good!

  3. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but it sounds really creative and captivating. Sometimes I get a little bogged down by books that have too much newness, such as the invented langauges.

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