Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron
Series: The Ryogan Chronicles #1
Read: January 17 – 28, 2017
Format: E-ARC (NetGalley)
My Book Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA Reading Challenge, Flights of Fantasy 2017
ABOUT THE BOOK
In this diverse, gritty survival fantasy, a girl warrior turns against her island clan to find the brother they claim died, uncovering secrets. Perfect for fans of Graceling and Snow Like Ashes.
In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.
On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.
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.
To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Island of Exiles fits in well with the popular YA titles of current times, but at the same time, it is unique enough to set it apart.
If you look at my reading progress comments on Goodreads you can see that up until halfway through the book I was confused and struggling, but by around 50% I was completely sucked in. This book is worth the struggle in the beginning.
What I had the most trouble with was all of the new vocabulary words in this world that Khya lives in. They have an entire caste system (mostly based on magic) that is easily confusing, plus a few other words that are substitutes for what we would say and honestly, I don’t see the point in the author changing them.
For the longest time while I liked Khya, I didn’t really care about her. I blame this on the above vocabulary issue. It took me a while to really engage. Once I really committed, I discovered I did like her. She is a strong female character and her personal growth throughout the story was wonderful. I loved where her character ended up by the end and I look forward to seeing how she continues to grow and change throughout the series.
I give the author credit for this unique desert world she’s created, as well as the Miriseh people. All very cool, especially once I let go of trying to keep track of the ranks and titles and what it all meant.
A cool thing bout this particular community is that they’re part militia-part hippie commune. Parents don’t raise their kids, they’re all put together and raised together. Blood siblings are rare, and Khya is fortunate enough to have one. Sexuality is also very open and free, everyone is allowed to love whomever they want. Khya has has multiple relationships with her peers, both male and female. In this world, that’s the norm. There are no boundaries on love.
Tessen is my favorite in this book. His undying loyalty to Khya, even when she doesn’t entirely deserve it, is wonderful. I don’t even remember how he was described in the book, but in my head he’s pretty dreamy. Definitely book boyfriend material!
SHOULD YOU READ IT? Readers who enjoy unique fantasy worlds that are somewhat similar to our own will probably enjoy this book. The new vocab can be a bit intense, so my advice is to let it all go and just enjoy the story being told, don’t even worry about trying to keep track of the ranks.
Island of Exiles releases February 14, 2017
Get it here!
~ Add to Goodreads ~
Animals can be outsmarted. Enemies can be fought. Storms can only be survived.
…on Shiara, death is the one think that’s inevitable.
Heat, dirt, blood, death. Life is made of these things.
“I don’t want to talk,” I warn him. “About anything.”
“That’s fine.” His grin spreads across his face like the first glint of sunrise. “You know I can talk enough for the both of us.”
“You know me.” Tessen’s smile grows, like he knows he’s won this argument. “I’ve always been too curious for my own good.”
There’s at least an inch of space between us, but I can feel him in a way that makes my skin seem sunburned—warm and prickly to the point of painful.
I’ve never allowed myself to have this. I’ve never let myself trust anyone enough to dare let my guard down enough to have this. No one else has pushed past my walls persistently enough to earn this.