- Age Range: 12 - 17 years
- Grade Level: 7 - 12
- Lexile Measure: 830 (What's this?)
- Series: The Ryogan Chronicles
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Entangled: Teen (February 14, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1633755924
- ISBN-13: 978-1633755925
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 28.7 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,522,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Island of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles) Paperback – February 14, 2017
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"Cameron expertly blends worldbuilding and intriguing characters with page-turning action scenes and a story that builds in tension and complexity. The novel's commitment to diversity adds new dimensions to thestory, as the cast is entirely nonwhite, and the clan recognizes nonbinary gender identities and complex sexual orientations. This is a rare gem of abook.... [and a] fresh, original series starter." ~ Starred Kirkus Review
"Erica Cameron's ISLAND OF EXILES is a remarkable achievement: a fantasy world so richly imagined, so finely detailed, and so strikingly original, even the most incredible elements feel totally real. The energy of the desosa will tingle along your skin as you race through this amazing book, and at journey's end, you'll long for the sequel so you can immerse yourself once more in the mysteries of Itagami! -Joshua David Bellin, author of the Survival Colony series
"Island of Exiles is imaginative, bold, and as electrifying as a Shiara storm."-Lori Lee, author of Gates of Thread and Stone and The Infinite.
A beautifully wrought fantasy filled with magic, rebellion, and romance, plus a strong, butt-kicking heroine to root for!"-Lea Nolan, USA Today Bestselling author of Conjure, Allure, and Illusion
"I was consumed by the savage mysteries of Cameron's harsh and haunting fantasy world. A story of love and loss as searing as the desert heat."-Diana Peterfreund, author of For Darkness Shows the Stars
"Harrowing and heartfelt. The intricately-realized world of ISLAND OF EXILES crackles with harsh magic and gripping suspense."-A.R. Kahler, author of The Immortal Circus series
"ISLAND OF EXILES has everything I've been looking for in a fantasy--powerful characters, magical powers that make me itch with envy, and a spoken language that is as intrinsic to the story as it is beautiful."-Amber Lough, author of The Fire Wish and The Blind Wish
About the Author
Erica is many things, but most notably a writer, reader, choreographer, movie and musical theater-nut, sucker for romance, and quasi-recluse. After graduating with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State, she began pursuing her career as an author. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passions for Salvador Dali, Venetian Carnival masks, unique jewelry, and dreams of traveling the world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.
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Top Customer Reviews
The desert island of Shiara is a harsh world where allegiance to the clan means all. Khya, a young warrior, has ambitions to the council that helps the immortal elders rule the clan. Only one thing can rival Khya’s loyalty to the clan… her loyalty to her younger brother. So when her brother is endangered, Khya faces a choice that will reshape everything she knows about her world.
When I first saw the summary for Island of Exiles, I thought it was a story I’d read before. Warrior girl, survival, younger sibling as motivation, mysterious male love interest she’s not sure she can trust, the rules of society are a lie… there were a lot of elements that I’d encountered in other YA novels. And while Island of Exiles did follow some YA tropes, I thought it was one of the best executed examples I read. Plus, the world building is far and above what I’ve encountered in most YA fantasy books.
I loved how casual inclusion of queer characters was built into the world, including nonbinary and asexual characters. Khya herself is bisexual or pansexual, it’s never presented as a big deal or even particularly noteworthy. Her society includes three different genders, and neopronouns are used regularly throughout the book. The only thing I wasn’t clear about is if ebet (the third gender) is something assigned at birth, maybe to intersex individuals, and how the society deals with people who’s identity doesn’t match what they were assigned.
Khya’s clan lives in a city that’s partly located underground, a necessity to survive the harsh environment of Shiara. The clan is also extremely hierarchical. Everyone is placed into a caste group partly based on magical ability that will determine the shape of their lives. The naming system felt Japanese influenced, although I could likely be wrong. Regardless, I definitely read the cast as being entirely non-white, so ignore the white chick on the cover. There was also a wonderful backstory to the entire society. I adored it, but I’m going to let you discover it for yourself, so let’s move on to other matters.
While I loved the world building, I did find the heavy usage of conlang difficult. There was a glossary at the back, but I find those awkward to use for ebook reading. If you have a low threshold for fantasy words and constructed language, this is not the book for you. I’m used to dealing with fantasy words, and I found it challenging!
One of the most important aspects of a book is always the protagonist. I don’t think Khya’s making my list of all time favorite characters or anything, but I did like reading about her. Well written, tough as nails warrior girls are likely to be a win for me. It didn’t hurt that Khya also felt like a product of her society. She read like someone who actually grew up in Shiara and its culture, not a modern teen inserted into a fantasy world.
Although Island of Exiles does have some formulaic aspects, I still liked it a lot. It’s fast paced, got lots of action, a badass female lead, and some great world building. It easily fulfills my criteria for a fun read, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
I received an ARC of Island of Exiles from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.
The blurb was a definite hook for me, especially with the Graceling being one of my all-time favorite young adult fantasy novels. But the language and terminology confused this 38-yo writer/avid reader, so I wonder how much a young adult will comprehend while reading.
I've struggled over the course of two weeks to read this novel, reading about 10% in a sitting before switching to another book, then coming back for another tenth of the book, more than determined to finish it. At the start, I felt like I was forced to solve a complicated puzzle with all the terminology and how the reader is thrust into a world with no explanation, being left to figure it out on their own.
I'm not necessarily a simple reader, but this novel made me feel like one with how confused I was. I've read thousands of books in varying genres, especially this one, so I know what some of the terms used meant. I grasped the overall plot, but was still left to solve what was being said in the paragraphs.
In a nutshell, I felt as if I was reading a foreign language after being dropped into a foreign land, and through familiarity I had to learn how to speak the language (eventually I got it, but it harmed the entertainment factor). While beautiful, and lent an ethereal and realistic feel to the world created, it created a jarring flow as the reader tried to puzzle through understanding the words used to tell the story.
As the writer and creator, the author knows what she meant when writing, but that didn't necessarily translate to the reader understanding. Eventually, yes. But it shouldn't be so much work at the start. The beginning is when the reader must be hooked, and I fear the majority will toss in the towel long before they comprehend the beautiful world created. I personally experienced a disconnect between me and the characters due to the writing style, which I battled the entire duration of the long book.
AFTER I conquered the novel, there was a glossary of terms at the end of the book, which I wish I knew existed prior to starting. If you're reading my review prior to purchasing/reading the novel, click to the glossary first. It will make your reading enjoyment much more fulfilling. Though, at the same time, it feels a bit like you have to study and keep notes in order to read the book.
At the start, the reader is thrust into a harsh world, with Khya as our narrator. She's a strong, stubborn, responsible role model of a character, with utter devotion to her brother- Yorri. Yorri was one of my favorite characters. The strong connection the brother and sister shared was endearing.
I appreciated how the focus was on the plot, unlike how many young adult fantasy novels focus on the romance. There was a romantic thread, but it wasn't insta-anything. There was a slow-build vibe between Khya and Tessen, which is a trope that always keeps my attention. Khya is blind to the attraction between her and Tessen, more focused on her brother. They had known each other for most of their lives, so there wasn't a scene (like in most YA books) where the new hottie totally makes our heroine lose her focus. No matter how much Khya wanted to be left alone, Tessen maneuvered his way in by being helpful.
The universe created was diverse, with 3 genders and no sexual orientation qualms. I give mad props to the universe the author created, all the time spent researching and maintaining the world-building from start to finish, the ability to write a highly complex novel.
I wasn't the intended audience for this novel. I like to be entertained, to fall into the story and not want to crawl back out until well after the final page. With the way Island of Exiles was written, with the complexity, I couldn't fall into the story without struggling to understand the story. It was like working instead of relaxing. While I can appreciate the hard work and beauty the author injected into the story, it wasn't a pleasure to read.
I do recommend this title, but only if the reader downloads a sample to get a feel of the writing style and world-building. While I can appreciate the story, I won't be reading the sequel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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