Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
Aemi lives in a village carved from stones and surrounded by sea. She wins spear-throwing competitions in disguise and earns slaps from her spoiled mistress by talking back. She hates being a slave. She survives by remembering her mother’s tales of home, a paradise called Perilous.
Aemi intends to find it.
But then, black ships rise from the sea in the night. Aemi is captured and taken to Itlantis, an underwater world of cities of glass, floating gardens, and strange and wonderful technology.
She is determined to escape, even if it means conspiring with fellow prisoner Nol, who fills her with equal parts anger and desire. Even if it means impersonating her mistress. Even if it means fleeing into the territory of the Dron, the bloodthirsty barbarians of the deep.
But when Aemi witnesses firsthand an attack by the Dron, she realizes not all is as it seems below the sea.
And Perilous might be closer than she thinks
This book was nice, just nice. I do realize I am a bit older than the target audience, but I really liked Ellison’s The Sworn Saga Series so I figured I’d give this a try as well. The main character, Aemi, is a slave who dreams for more in her life. She is intelligent and clever and resourceful, despite her circumstances. I think the Goodreads description plays up a bit to much Nol’s role, her impersonation of her mistress, and her fleeing to the territories of Dron, since much of the book is simply about her trying to gather knowledge and return home.
While I think the book has potential, if fell a bit flat for me. I am not sure how to describe beyond it reads somewhat monologue like for me. Not in terms of what is actually being said, but how it is being said. I didn’t feel a whole lot of emotion through the words and I wished their would have been more detail on the world building. I love when I can vividly picture my interpretation of the setting, and it felt a bit vague. I also couldn’t tell if it was set in the past and future. Much of it seemed futuristic in terms of technology, but then the societal roles and some language felt like it was set in the past.
Overall, while I am curious to see how the series carries out, I don’t think I will continue to read it. I definitely think if you are the a younger reader, you will enjoy this light, quick read. It has some plot twists and leaves you on a bit of a cliff hanger, so I see how it could be exciting to read. The book is available on Kindle Unlimited and in print.