I feel the need to start off by saying I don’t typically enjoy books in a series. Sometimes I have a difficult time keeping up with a standalone novel to the end, let alone want to keep reading about the same story line over the span of several books. This book is a great exception from that, and if anything, it made me excited to continue with the other books in the series.
Of Sea and Stone was such a wonderfully written fantasy story, lyrical and beautifully crafted; a definite treat to those who enjoy fantasy novels. Not to mention the unique and well designed cover which is absolutely stunning. Even the main character’s name – Aemi – is beautiful.
Aemi lives in the Village of the Rocks, and she is a thrall, or a servant. Her mother, also a thrall, had passed away, but not before telling Aemi of the beautiful cities under the water – the legends of Itlantis, where the people live happily under the sea. Of course no one believes the tales are true, and Aemi continues to serve out her duties and be looked down upon by the family she serves.
One evening, everything changes. There is a raid in her village, and many are killed. Some of the males are taken in a ship, including the mayor’s son Nol, who she never really got along with. Aemi is also kidnapped, and held prisoner in the ship – also the only female who had been taken.
When Nol and Aemi finally get off the ship, it is an experience that most have only dreamed of – they are in the city of Itlantis – under the water. Angry at being kidnapped and having seen her village being burned, scared about what was going to happen next, and yet a tad bit intrigued about the fact that Itlantis is actually real, Aemi immediately begins to try and formulate a plan to get away and back to her village. She becomes a servant to her new family in Itlantis, and while she sees Nol, he doesn’t seem to want to be her friend, even though they have both been dealt an unfortunate hand. Eventually this begins to change, and Aemi and Nol have to try and work together to formulate a plan to leave Itlantis and get back to their village to see if any of their people are still alive. However, there are quite a few twists (which I won’t go into, because they make the book even better) that interfere and make it difficult to plan their escape.
The world building in this book is absolutely magnificent. You can tell that Kate Avery Ellison put a lot of thought and work into this book, and creating the settings, and it makes for a wonderful reading experience. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a fantasy novel that has drawn me in with its impressive world building, character development, and plot. Everything just works in this book, and I loved every second of reading it! While I wish it had been a bit longer (and wow, that was some cliffhanger at the end), I find comfort in knowing there are few more books that will keep the story going.
I’ll definitely need to be getting the rest of the books in this series, and soon. I think I might have found one of my new favorite series!
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.