Book Review: Sea of Strangers (Ryogan Chronicles #2)  By: Erica Cameron

Book Review: Sea of Strangers (Ryogan Chronicles #2) By: Erica Cameron

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.
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Pages: 340
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Date of Publication: December 5, 2017
Genre(s): Young adult, diverse book, fantasy, action, adventure, revenge, family, romance, and mystery. 

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DISCLAIMER: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and in no way have they influenced my opinions or my review. This review also contains spoilers so read it at your own risk. 

It was a bit hard for me to jump right back into this world for the second book. It has been awhile since I read the first book in the series that I had forgotten some of the plot, a lot of the words and their meanings and even some of the magic system that was used. The world created by Cameron is such a complex and detailed world that while at first it can be hard to understand, once you do you are immediately immersed and you can’t stop reading to find out more. 

This book isn’t as action packed as the first one, it is more a process of self discovery after their world has fallen apart when they learned everything they were told back home was a lie. This is further developed when they travel to Ryogan which they were told was “heaven” where they would go when they died. Only to find out that they are being chased by the very people they thought would help them and that they fear them for who they are and what they do. Also the Ryogan’s treat their people abysmally and violently which clashes with their ideal “heaven.” Their world has been upended and when they are constantly confronted with the fact when they travel through Ryogan they learn to deal with it and move past it so they can deal with the issues ahead. 

We return with our cast from the previous book although we lose some more along the way. I understand plot wise why it had to happen. Tyrroh had to die so Khya could take his place as leader. But I really liked and thought this book was different by having the main protagonist Khya with a strong support system and the fact that her input was immensely important but she didn’t have to take the full responsibility for the group.  But while she may not want to take up the mantle of leader, it has been thrust upon her. The only thing I would like to change about Khya is her willingness to throw away her life for the greater good or for her brother. 

I still don’t understand the deaths of Chio and Tsua though. I understand why they had to do it, but why did they have to do it at that moment? They could have put it off until a bit later and still been fine. I felt so bad for Zonna, to lose his parents like that but not to be able to die himself.  Personally think it is because he was born immortal and not because he was mortal and then made immortal which go against the laws of nature. That is just my theory though. 

I definitely saw Osshi’s betrayl coming from a mile away. He was discontent with the way things were going practically from the start of this book. I also can’t really fault him for wanting to warn his people of what is coming. This does put Khya and her team at a disadvantage though, but she should think of the well-being of the Ryogans as well as her own people. But I can also see why they are wary after how they have seen the Ryogans treat their own people. I can’t believe he went so far in betraying them though. Spying on them to set up a trap when they are only trying to save his people? I will admit that was low, even for him. 

We get some interesting new characters in the form of Lo’a and Ahta. I really like Lo’a as a character; she is interesting, family oriented, smart, secretive and is very knowledgeable and strong. The group would not have been able to survive and get near as far on their quest without Lo’a and her family I think. She is an interesting addition to the Itagami group and I’m interested in seeing how she further helps and influences them. 

The only thing I didn’t see coming was Khya becoming an immortal. I also don’t understand why she wasn’t more angry when it was forced upon her. Yes, it saved her life and it is an advantage in the upcoming battle; but what about Tessen and everyone else? Is she really expecting to die in the final battle? I don’t know, but that was the one thing I was actually surprised when I read about it. 

It was very refreshing to see how diverse this book is when it came to partners. There were so many different types of relationships and all were immediately accepted. There might be differences in opinion, but they don’t shame themselves or others for their desires or whatever partner or lifestyle they choose. I loved seeing all of the different pairings and how they interact with each other outside of a battle setting. 

It was really interesting where the story ended, I didn’t expect it to end like that. Khya is so into throwing herself into impossible situations that I thought she and her team would definitely go help the town that was in trouble in some way. I didn’t expect them to just watch from the sidelines. It was the smart move to do what they did but I didn’t think they could sit still and watch their former family slaughter an innocent village. Also, that epilogue with Yorri! Ahhhhh! He’s awake but has no idea where he is but knows he is hidden. It seems like Varan brought the Immortals with him based on the storm he was talking about. I need more information about that as soon as possible! I can’t wait to see how he features in the next book. 

While this book feels more like a filler book up to the big battle, it is important to set things up and it gives us more of a background and some history of what the group is dealing with. Sometimes a journey of self reflection is just as important as a physical battle. Knowledge is half the battle and this was a journey for knowledge. Now that they are set up though all they have to do is figure out how to stop the Miriseh with the stones and stop the Itagami army. No big deal. I still have so many questions by the end of this book though! Will Yorri be freed and reunited with Khya and Sanii? What about Varan and the stones? How will the Kaisubeh fit into the next book? So while this may not have been the most exciting book, the plot is never boring, you are always trying to figure out their next move and you are so immediately drawn into this complex world you are loathe to leave it. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next! 
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