Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Of Sea and Stone: Review




Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
(Secrets of Itlantis #1)
Publication date: February 2nd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:
All her life, clever Aemi has been a slave in the Village of the Rocks, a place where the sea and sky meet. She’s heard the stories about the fabled People of the Sea, a people who possess unimaginable technology who live below the waves in the dark, secret places of the ocean. But she never dreamed those stories were true.

When a ship emerges from the ocean and men burn her village, Aemi is captured, and enslaved below the waves in Itlantis, a world filled with ancient cities of glass and metal, floating gardens, and wondrous devices that seem to work magic. To make matters worse, her village nemesis, the stuck-up mayor’s son Nol, was captured with her, and they are made servants in the same household beneath the sea.

Desperate to be free, Aemi plots her escape, even going so far as to work with Nol. But the sea holds more secrets than she realizes, and escape might not be as simple as leaving…


Review:

Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison is the launch pad and first instalment in the Secrets of Itlantis series. Told in the first person from Aemi’s perspective, the novel opens in the Village of the Rocks. However, it soon moves to the Cities of Itlantis, built beneath the water, after our heroine is kidnapped along with others from her village.


Aemi is a ‘thrall’, a fancy word for slave, so was her mother. However, Aemi has been collecting as much money as she could in order to buy her freedom and go to a place her mother told her tales about; a place called Perilous. Kidnapped, Aemi goes to Itlantis, where she becomes an Indentured, a person serving a sentence in order to pay debt. This is a means to hide both her identity and Nol’s, the only person left with her from her village and a person she constantly dislikes.


Of Sea and Stone is quick-paced, although the final five or six chapters move at torpedo-speed.


Aemi’s character is an interesting one; she is quick, intelligent, capable of plotting and overall likeable. However, she is often paranoid, which is both useful as it makes her observant but often annoying. Once in Itlantis, she constantly tries to find a means to escape and go back to the surface. However, as time passes and she gets closer to the family she serves, she feels a pang whenever she thinks of her escape plans and that she would never see Lyssia, her mistress and friend, again.


Nevertheless, something lingered in my chest, heavy like sadness. Leaving this house would require its own kind of grieving, one that made little sense to me but that was undeniable. A captive caring for her captors.


We see Aemi’s character develop from hard-headed to kind and loving, especially as she becomes acquainted with new feelings and terms like ‘friends’. Since the novel is narrated from her perspective, her emotions are very clear and beautifully written.

At one point she says: “I was a pit of shadows, an ocean of unshed tears.”


Nol, too, is an interesting character. The novel opens with him as the mayor’s second son, who is smug, haughty and obnoxious. But as events progress and he is thrust in Itlantis, he realises many things and captivity changes him. His character gradually changes, showing signs of clear and quick thinking, a good understanding of politics and a caring heart.


Of Sea and Stone is rich with likeable characters. I also liked the names given to the Itlantean cities, and how the name reflects the general theme or focus of the city: Celestrus, Primus, Verdus, Arctus, Magmus and Volcanus.


Ellison’s word choice and imagery throughout the novel is beautiful and nicely-fitted to the sea and its imagery.


I had been wondering about the connection of the title “Of Sea and Stone” and the novel itself; I didn’t quite figure it out for myself but it came at the end and kept me thinking.

Given the chance and time, I would definitely look forward to see more of Aemi and her adventures, particularly as the novel ends at a climactic point.

Of Sea and Stone is a clean young-adult novel, and I truly liked that and that there was not much - if any - romance in the novel.






Note: Special thanks to Xpress Book Tours, from whom I received a free copy in return for an honest review and as part of a Blog Tour for the book.

Add the book to your Goodreads to-read list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20456671-of-sea-and-stone

About Kate Avery Ellison:
I’ve been making up stories since I was five years old, and now I’m thrilled to be able to do it as a full-time job. I have an obsession with dark fantasy, dystopian futures, and Pride and Prejudice-style love stories full of witty banter and sizzling, unspoken feelings. When I’m not writing, I’m creating digital art, reading funny blogs, or watching my favorite shows (which include TVD and BSG). I live with my geeky husband and our two bad cats in Atlanta, GA.

Author links:

Purchase:
Amazon and B&N