Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron

Sea of Strangers

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 go...

Title:Sea of Strangers
Author:
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Edition Language:English

Sea of Strangers Reviews

  • Leah

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

  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    Way back in January, I

    . 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!

    Like I said in my review of book one, this world is so full of d

    Way back in January, I

    . 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!

    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,

    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.

    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 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.

    The biggest hardship for me while reading was

    . 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 

    again?", which did take me out of the story a bit.

    Similarly,

    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.

    Certainly! I definitely am excited to find out how it ends!

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

  • Shelley

    *Source* Publisher

    *Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy

    *Rating* 3.5

    *Thoughts*

    Sea of Strangers is the second installment in author Erica Cameron's The Ryogan Chronicles. Sea of Strangers is the follow up to Island of Exiles which was released earlier this year. The Ryogan Chronicles is a diverse, gritty fantasy with multiple complex cultures, and high-tension romance. Sea of Strangers picks up several weeks after the action packed finale to The Island of Exiles. The protagonist of this series is 17-year o

    *Source* Publisher

    *Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy

    *Rating* 3.5

    *Thoughts*

    Sea of Strangers is the second installment in author Erica Cameron's The Ryogan Chronicles. Sea of Strangers is the follow up to Island of Exiles which was released earlier this year. The Ryogan Chronicles is a diverse, gritty fantasy with multiple complex cultures, and high-tension romance. Sea of Strangers picks up several weeks after the action packed finale to The Island of Exiles. The protagonist of this series is 17-year old Khya, a resident of a country called Shiara. 

    *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

  • Di

    **Any quotes used are from an advanced readers copy and may not be in the final publication**

    I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Sea of Strangers from Entangled and since reading

    earlier this year, this book was one of my most anticipated releases and I'm happy to report that

    **Any quotes used are from an advanced readers copy and may not be in the final publication**

    I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Sea of Strangers from Entangled and since reading

    earlier this year, this book was one of my most anticipated releases and I'm happy to report that

    .

    There is so much attention to detail which I really appreciate that in a book and especially in a YA book. Not only this but the plot just flows so instinctively and never feels forced. The characters are faced with situations and frustrations that make so much sense and there's absolutely no deus ex machina which again, I can definitely appreciate!

    , now let you tell me about this world building! I have to spend a moment here fan-girling about the blissful world building in this series: It's complex, diverse in so many ways and oh-so-amazing for this reader! There's culture, politics, language and so many layers and textures to everything that it's created a rich and organic experience. There's a 'Cast of Characters' in the beginning of book two which can help reacquaint you with the people of the world but I have to say that I was so glad that I re-read

    before jumping in to this book because the plot picks up exactly where the last book left off and there's little to no recapping. These definitely cannot be read as standalones.

    The character development in this series is

    on par with the world building and I loved seeing the main character, Khya grow throughout these books. For those of you that don't know, Khya is a Desosa Mage which means she can manipulate energy and in her particular case she is a fykina ward mage -able to shield herself and others from both magic and the physical world. She has spent a lot of her life with a single goal in mind and after facing a huge betrayal at the hands of those she trusted the most, her life has been a riot of turmoil ever since. Seeing her face her dilemmas and tackle the complications that life is stacking up against her is heartening and, as with the first book I couldn't help but be invested in this story. She's flawed and yet so compelling.

    Speaking of compelling characters, Tessen is Khya's lifelong rival and was always one step ahead of her at getting the promotions that she so desperately was working towards and desired. Tessen is a Basaku mage which means that all five of his senses are enhanced and he can also sense the subtle changes in the desosa (the ambient magical energy of the world). I love his relationship with Khya and his pragmatic approach to life. He is a soothing calm to Khya's fiery nature and it's so nice to see a good strong male character that is also happy to be in the background and not taking the lead or forcing his alpha-ness into a situation.

    It's also refreshing to have an entire series built on the compelling ties of family and of responsibility, and not just on that of romance. The romance is wonderful, don't get me wrong - it is profound and complex and subtle and is synergistic to the plot while never BEING the plot. Erica has written beautiful relationships full of sizzling chemistry and sincerity.

    I also need to specifically address the diversity in these books -

    without ever being forced upon the reader that 'this book is diverse'. It's not there for the sake of being diverse - it just IS. There's diversity of culture, of skin colour, of gender (there's even a third gender!!!), of sexuality (including asexuality which I've never seen featured before in a YA book/series).

    There's plenty of new characters and culture in this installment and

    . I think the balance between the shifting of characters into their positions for the final book and the introduction of this part of the world was a good one and there was still plenty of action sequences detailing the Itagamin's proficiency both in their magical abilities and military like training.

    The only major problem that I had with the book was that CLIFFHANGER!!!!!!!

    . Write fast please Miss Cameron!

  • lacy

    This series is just so cool, for lack of better words. I should find more words other than cool or awesome. Anyway. The

    This series is just so cool, for lack of better words. I should find more words other than cool or awesome. Anyway. The entire world and the world building is seriously some of the best I've seen out of dystopian/fantasy books. Granted, I haven't read a lot of fantasy books but these books make me want to check out more.

    This book is all about the travel and the preparation of war. So it was a tiny bit slow in places but that was to be expected. I'm not sure there are a lot of ways to make travel fun. But this book was important for the next (which I'm sure there will be). There are a lot of answers that get resolved from the first one.

    There were two things from this book that really stood out for me that I feel I can talk about without spoiling the entire thing. One is the character growth from Khya. She is really blossoming and it makes me so incredibly happy. She is learning that accepting help is completely okay and failure doesn't mean the end. It means getting up and trying again. Character growth from a character is the one thing I look for when I start a series. Erica Cameron is nailing character growth so well.

    The second thing that really stood out for me in this book was the concept of sexuality and how freely it flowed through the book. Asexulity came up more and more in the convorostations. I am not an expert on asexuality but I think it was awesome that sexuality could just

    . This is an #ownvoices book, which I think makes it all the more awesome. Love really is love in this book.

    Overall, I am totally hooked! I can't wait to get the next book in my hands. There are still a lot of things to be resolved and I'm anxious to see how Kyah continues to grow as a person. I also would love to see where Kyah and Tessen's relationship goes. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who is looking for their next #ownvoices fantasy series.

  • Tes (thepaperbackproject)

    In the first installment of

    by Erica Cameron,

    , we follow the story of a young warrior and ward mage from the island of Shiara. When Khya’s brother Yorri is pronounced dead following a surprise attack by their enemies and then his body mysteriously vanishes, the truth comes out quicker than Khya is prepared for it. The leaders of the clan

    In the first installment of

    by Erica Cameron,

    , we follow the story of a young warrior and ward mage from the island of Shiara. When Khya’s brother Yorri is pronounced dead following a surprise attack by their enemies and then his body mysteriously vanishes, the truth comes out quicker than Khya is prepared for it. The leaders of the clan have lied and betrayed her people for endless centuries. In order to save her brother, and her home, Khya must team up with a rival, a person her brother had a secret relationship with as well as many other surprising characters.

    , the second installment in the series, continues Khya’s story as she and her friends and allies leave Shiara and travel to a land they didn’t know existed. Ryogo is the home of Varan and the other immortals who rule over Itagami. Khya must find the secrets hidden in the mountains of Ryogo in order to kill Varan and bring her brother back alive; both of which are seemingly impossible tasks as Varan is immortal and has accumulated knowledge and power over his many years of existence. Finding the secret of immortality might help her defeat Varan but she fears she may lose something in the process - her brother, Shiara, Ryogo, or even herself. The journey she must take isn’t even half the battle.

    There are so many things about this book, as well as the first, that I thoroughly enjoyed that I feel like I could write an essay about it. In fact, the only complaints I can find after reading is that at times the ranks within Itagami, the slang terms, and the use of non-gendered terms could be incredibly confusing. But as I read, these became easier to understand and pinpoint. Once I discovered the glossary in the back of the book, it was even easier to just enjoy the story.

    Erica Cameron has created an incredibly complex, diverse, gritty and detailed world in these books. It is unlike anything I have ever had the honor of reading before. Especially since it doesn’t feel forced. Instead, it is incredibly realistic. The best example I can find is how we are introduced to the ebet characters. These people are non-gendered and they are considered completely normal and welcome in Shiara. It isn’t until Khya leaves that we see how they are treated in Ryogo - as if they are punishment from the gods - and realize how effortlessly Cameron has managed to normalize something that even in our society can be wrongfully deemed as unnatural. In fact, it seems like it could actually be a reflection on our own society.

    It is also shown in how the citizens of Itagami have been kept isolated from the world, made to believe they are the last beings on the planet by the immortals who rule the clan. When Khya and her allies travel outside of the world they know, they learn about new cultures and people and you can visibly see the contract between her society and the new one because of how detailed the writing is. The real world is much like this.

    Aside from the diversity, there is the world building which is incredibly breathtaking. There are endless descriptions of the beauty of the land, the rawness of the elements, the differences between the people. And the magical system in this world is incredibly complex and interesting to read as it is expanded on. There is also the character development. It is most seen in Khya and Sanii. Khya begins to see that asking for help does not make her weak, that she is not fully responsible for every single failure that comes up them. Sanii grows into the person you are able to see beneath the whole time, waiting to unfold and steal the show.

    Although at times the story seemed to drag along, it was easy to push through because each thing that happened held importance for the story. The journey the characters take in order to discover the secrets they need to save Yorri, Shiara and Ryogo is such an important part of this story. Reading along as these characters face the elements and the prejudiced people of Ryogo made me feel a much deeper connection to it all.

    I am so grateful to have been given the chance to read

    . This series is one I will highly recommend to those who enjoy the genre but also to those who enjoy incredible worldbuilding, diversity and characters who practically jump off the pages at you. I cannot wait to be absolutely ensnared by the next installment of this wonderful story.

  • books are love

    Received in exchange for a honest review.

    Erica Cameron followed up the first book in the series with a sophomore book that packs a punch. The writing is fluid and really keeps you in the moment. The characters just draw you in and keep you there with them as you feel the danger like a living breathing entity. You are engaged and invested in the story from the beginning. As Khya and her group are racing against time to find a way to stop Varan but also stay alive.

    they are now in Ryogan and wow s

    Received in exchange for a honest review.

    Erica Cameron followed up the first book in the series with a sophomore book that packs a punch. The writing is fluid and really keeps you in the moment. The characters just draw you in and keep you there with them as you feel the danger like a living breathing entity. You are engaged and invested in the story from the beginning. As Khya and her group are racing against time to find a way to stop Varan but also stay alive.

    they are now in Ryogan and wow so much happens. We have friendships and alliances bloom. Alliances break and betrayals that you don’t see coming happen. THey are understandable but still shocking. The attraction between Tessen and Khya grow and go to the next level. You see battles and loss of loved ones that give those around them guilt. Secrets revealed and some really wild decisions made. Khya grows into her leadership role with the help of Tessen and his unwavering faith and belief in her. But also his love for her grows and shines through. the situations this group of loyal and caring friends get into are so dangerous and just keep your heart in your throat as it beats so fast and you sit on the edge of your seat wondering if they will come out of this unscathed.

    Varan’s secrets are slowly unraveling and Khya is seeing just who he is and all his lies. She is also figuring out what he did to become immortal and her power and understanding of the desosa grows. This group comes into their own and grows into a force to be reckoned with while still showing compassion for those around them. They only want to do what is right and see their loved ones come out unscathed as well.

    so much danger and intrigue in this book but also friendship, love and loyalty. You do wonder though if in the end Khya will be able to lead even if it means sacrificing what got her started on this journey in the first place. Also the immortality deal and some being born with it is wild. So was that ending. Dangerous and jaw dropping. Has you wanting the next book right away.

  • Danielle

    Sea of strangers is book 2 in The Ryogan Chronicles. It's the middle child journey book of the trilogy. It's full of adventure, action and mysterious lands. The Ryogan Chronicles are continuous and cannot be read as a standalone. Sea of strangers is a fantasy, magical book with an undesirable world. It is aimed at the young adult audience. It has romance, however, there is so much more to this series.

    Khya is desperate to get her brother back even if the task seems impossible. The mission will be

    Sea of strangers is book 2 in The Ryogan Chronicles. It's the middle child journey book of the trilogy. It's full of adventure, action and mysterious lands. The Ryogan Chronicles are continuous and cannot be read as a standalone. Sea of strangers is a fantasy, magical book with an undesirable world. It is aimed at the young adult audience. It has romance, however, there is so much more to this series.

    Khya is desperate to get her brother back even if the task seems impossible. The mission will be difficult and dangerous. Luckily she has her friends to help her. Knowing the right people could help them find what they need, but also opens them up to new dangers. Varna is the ultimate enemy. His defeat seems impossible. Using magic, knowledge and their survival skills the quest to find Khya's brother continues. This book ends with a high and leaves you wanting more.

    I found this a little more enjoyable than the first book, which is probably because we already know some of the characters. There is a character list at the beginning and a glossary at the back which are essential. This is not a light read and I would recommend you clear your schedule and find a quiet place to read.

    *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review as part of the chapter by chapter blog tour*

    4 stars out of 5.

  • Katherine Paschal

    Khya is disappointed in herself for not saving her beloved brother Yorri, but instead barely escaping her beloved city with just a few of her trusted comrades. Khya now knows that everything she was taught and believed in is a lie, making her question her purpose and abilities. But she must put aside her doubts and failure to prepare for the bigger threat- a war that nobody saw coming.

    I found myself enjoying book 2 more than book one, and I think that was due to the fact the world building wa

    Khya is disappointed in herself for not saving her beloved brother Yorri, but instead barely escaping her beloved city with just a few of her trusted comrades. Khya now knows that everything she was taught and believed in is a lie, making her question her purpose and abilities. But she must put aside her doubts and failure to prepare for the bigger threat- a war that nobody saw coming.

    I found myself enjoying book 2 more than book one, and I think that was due to the fact the world building was already established and the plot of this book was forever moving, no time for the self-reflection and doubt that plagued Khya the first book (sure there was some here, but not nearly as much- she was more reasonable to her limits here). There were still a LOT of words that I had not previously been exposed to before the first book (because they are made up) but I was way more comfortable with the use of them and the glossary was extremely helpful. Also, I liked that there was a small cast of characters here for me to get to know and understand, where as before I was overwhelmed by all the people, details, ect. Book 1 is 100% necessary to read before picking up Sea of Strangers for world and character building, and book 2 picks up just a few days after the events of book 1.

    I believe that the word epic is ideal to summarize this leg of the adventure that Khya is on. Seriously, this was an incredible action filled journey, going from the sea to the land, all completely unknown, dangerous, treacherous, magical and mysterious. I loved how much action the small band of misfits encountered, where survival was questionable and death potentially eminent (this was one ring to rule them all level adventuring!). The new inventive uses for magic was fun to discover and very complicated.

    This series is listed as YA but I would not call it YA at all, it fits more into fantasy in general. The characters are teens (at least most of the main characters) but they are independent people who care for and make decisions for themselves. The content is pretty adults as well, with sexuality being the norm (not that that is a bad thing per se for older teens to be familiar but I would not suggest for a younger teen) and there is so much death and struggle. Survival may not be an option for the characters I have grown to love, and they too have made peace with their possible future outcome.

    Based on the ending, this series is at least a trilogy (maybe more!) because there is so much more to come. I feel like leg of the story was very much so needed to the plot overall, that the books are an extension of each other, one every so gently filling the gaps the other has, like puzzle pieces. I was pleasantly surprised by the direction the story took, something I could never predict, and I am really excited to see how Khya and company handles what appears to be an intense battle (most likely to the death). The author has created such a detailed, lush world with unique magic and cultures I could never have even dreamed up, completely brought to life. If you are looking for a fantastical journey I highly recommend pick up this series.

    I received this title for reviewing purposes. Come visit me at

    for a chance to win prizes!

  • Danya

    This review and others can be found on my blog,

    .

    I loved Erica Cameron’s ISLE OF EXILES, and I was very excited to see where she’d take her readers in the sequel. While I didn’t think SEA OF STRANGERS was as strong as its predecessor, it does expand the fascinating world we were introduced to in the series opener.

    Forced to flee her home in search of a weapon – or magic – that can defeat her enemies, Khya along with a few members of her squadron washes up on the shores of a land they th

    This review and others can be found on my blog,

    .

    I loved Erica Cameron’s ISLE OF EXILES, and I was very excited to see where she’d take her readers in the sequel. While I didn’t think SEA OF STRANGERS was as strong as its predecessor, it does expand the fascinating world we were introduced to in the series opener.

    Forced to flee her home in search of a weapon – or magic – that can defeat her enemies, Khya along with a few members of her squadron washes up on the shores of a land they thought they’d only see in death. But Ryogo is very much alive, and its people are ill prepared for the invasion that’s coming. If Khya wants to save the ones she loves and stop the tyranny that runs rampant in her homeland, she’ll need to convince the people of Ryogo that her group of outsiders can be trusted. Just as with the first book, SEA OF STRANGERS does an excellent job building a new landscape, political structure, and cultures; seeing Khya, Tessen, and Sanii try to navigate the differences and celebrating the similarities between their peoples was my favourite part of the story.

    Where SEA OF STRANGERS falters is with the actual plot itself, which is quite pared down: move from one place to another in search of magic, weapons, and allies. Compared to the wild action of the first book, the lack of excitement was a bit disappointing. I was also hoping for more from the character development: while Sanii grows substantially, I felt like Tessen’s character remained stagnant. Maybe he’ll be featured in the conclusion.

    The effortless and natural diversity of the characters and the exploration of difference through a curious and compassionate lens remains the strongest part of this series. Despite my problems with this volume, I’m eager to see how Erica Cameron concludes the story.


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