Hey guys, I’m so happy to be a part of the Blog Tour for Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron. I was provided with an eARC copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which you can find down below. As the book is now published there will be spoilers in this review, fair warning before you read it!
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.
Publisher: Entangles Teen
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Magic, young adult, romance.
I don’t mind stories that jump right into it and the new world you’re inhabiting but this book took that to the extreme. There is no explanation for any of the terms given within the story so I felt like I was constantly playing catch up and trying to figure out what everything meant. I spent the first quarter of the book extremely confused and wanting to stop reading it altogether. Especially since it took so long to set up the story for where it was going to go. So if you are going to read this story I definitely recommend reading the glossary of terms and class rank system that are located at the back of the book before you start or as you’re reading along. I didn’t see the, until after I had finished the book, and it would’ve made it a much easier read if I’d have known.
The reason I continued on reading was because of the worldbuilding that is done within the story. This world was so intriguing with its class system, the magical system that has been created, the history of the groups of people within the story, I just couldn’t stop wanting to learn more about it. I eventually became more engrossed as the story went on and I could piece things together more, and it turned out to be an enjoyable read in the end.
Khya was an enjoyable character to read; I never got annoyed with her and I could understand exactly why she chose to do the things the way she did. She has a fiery temper, she can fight with an array of weapons, has the common sense needed and the emotions we can all empathize with. I think what I liked the most about Khya as a character was getting to see her journey in character development as she went through the story. There is a huge difference between the character we meet at the beginning of the book and where she is at the end. Her powers were also really cool, she is the mindset where she would rather go on offence and yet her warding powers are all about defence. I loved that juxtaposition in her character.
Tessen was a very unassuming and constant presence which I really liked about him. I loved seeing his presence go from being in the background to coming to the foreground. While I sometimes did get frustrated with him and wanted to say just tell her how you feel, I could completely understand why he didn’t. His powers also really intrigued me and they were so integral to him helping Khya with her plans.
Yorri I thought was interesting at the beginning but then my interest waned after he “died.” He completely caught my attention again towards the end of the story though. Yorri is now kind of shrouded in mystery. I understand that he is a descendant of the Miriseh, but why has he been put to sleep on the island? I thought they killed all of the descendants. Can they not kill him so they just put him in his island prison? What do they want to use his powers for? Why didn’t the islamd affect Khya in the same way? I have so many questions about Yorri now and since they didn’t manage to rescue him I suppose I will have to wait to find out.
I thought a couple things in the world building were really interesting. First, the fact that this group of Miriseh have basically set up this enormous cult, where over 10 000 people listen to and obey their every whim. I had to wonder at this though. Why did they set it up where they ruled through ignorance rather than fear? Did they think it made the people easier to control? Being the “benefactors” made it less likely a revolt would happen? I thought it was interesting, and while I did suspect that the Miriseh weren’t saying everything, I didn’t expect everything practically to be a lie.
The second thing I thought was odd at first but made sense later was how the children were raised in this society. The whole it takes a village mindset kind of confused me and seemed quite brutal at first. But as I and Khya began to see her world for what it really was I began to understand why it had to be like that. As Khya proves in the story, familial bonds can be extremely strong and makes people be willing to do anything for those they love. By separating the children there are no longer bonds with their parents and even among the siblings themselves. Since soulmates and marriage are rare in this world if people began to question the lies of the Miriseh they could just be killed off without others searching out the reason why. I really liked how everything seemed to tie in in the book.
The pace of the book was kind of at a slow and constant pace for me. That pace was quite frustrating for me in the beginning, and even when the big event started happening towards the end of the book I didn’t really feel that build up and it instead felt like a constant pull forwards. The only times I really got excited were the romantic scenes between Khya and Tessen. I loved seeing their relationship flourish and how they push each other to be better and that they don’t have to pretend to be anybody but who they truly are. Those were the sweetest scenes in the book and their flirting made me fangirl with glee.
Overall I have become interested enough in the story, the mysteries to be solved, and the characters to want to continue reading this series. A subtle fantasy, this book sneaks up on you as it hooks you with the world and magic system created within it and the characters slowly work their way into your heart. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes, and what adventure our motley crew will go on next. For those who love magical systems as much as I do, I recommend you read this book.
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