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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

[BLOG TOUR: Review + Giveaway] Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison

Welcome to the second day of the blog tour for Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! Today I give you my 4-star review of this amazing book. You guys, you should definitely read it! You can also visit the other tour stops to read more reviews, excerpts, interviews and Top Ten lists. Follow the schedule [here]. There's also a tour-wide giveaway at the end of the post so make sure to enter. Read on and good luck! ^__^

Of Sea and Stone

Series: Secrets of Itlantis, Book 1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: February 2nd 2014
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes&Noble
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...


My Thoughts

*I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for the book tour.* 

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect from Of Sea and Stone because I've never heard of this book before I signed up for this tour. While I must admit that what drew me to this book in the first place was the cover, I also thought the blurb seemed promising so I signed up for a review copy. And boy, I'm just so glad I did.

Of Sea and Stone is an impressive story set in a fantasy underwater world. It follows Aemi, a slave in the Village of the Rocks, who suddenly finds herself in the mercy of Itlanteans, the sea people – stuff of legends no one but a crazy old man believes. Wrenched from the only home she’s ever known and trapped in a city deep under the ocean, Aemi struggles to find a way to escape and find her mother’s home. With just an old nemesis to help her, she uses her wit and cleverness to explore the secrets of the deep. If only escape is that simple . . .

I definitely enjoyed reading Of Sea and Stone. It has the right amount of drama, mystery, humor, romance and intrigue that hooked me until the very last page and left me wanting for more. I practically devoured this book. I actually read it twice because it’s that good! The start is a bit slow, but it gets better. The writing is generally smooth, although there are bits of inconsistencies here and there. I didn’t mind those minor lapses that much because I was engrossed. Some aspects I’d like to emphasize are the following: 

Strong heroine. I liked Aemi. She’s smart and determined. She’s feisty, but she knows when to show her tough side and when to shut up and observe from the sidelines. And when she sets her mind on a goal, she does everything to achieve it. It’s also easy to sympathize with Aemi. Being a slave all her life, she only had one friend: Kit. So when she met Tob, Mella and Lyssia and eventually formed friendship with them, she was confused and unfamiliar with the notion that someone could actually care for and be friends with her. There’s not much description on her so I couldn’t really picture what Aemi looked like, but the character development was impressive. It was interesting to follow Aemi’s transition from a futureless slave to a more confident and assertive person.

Dynamic side characters. What is a story without the colorful secondary characters to complement the hero/heroine? Aside from Aemi, one character that also went through a remarkable character development was Nol. From a cocky mayor’s son, Nol became an angry and reluctantly submissive slave then emerged as a savior. Tob provided the comic relief. He’s hilarious and straightforward and his cooking ideas were outrageously funny. Lyssia – I loved this girl. She’s genuinely kind and treated Aemi as a friend from the moment they met. Like Aemi, Lyssia never had many friends so it’s not really a surprise that she immediately sought friendship from Aemi. I admired her for being a friend to Aemi in spite of the latter’s Indentured status.

Superb world-building. The world of Itlantis is excellently created. The imagery is so vivid that it’s really astonishing to visualize the beauty of Celestrus and the other cities. The author successfully captured the mysterious and ethereal appeal of an underwater world. The history of Itlantis would make for an interesting back story too, with the Cataclysm and all. I would very much like to know more about how the Itlanteans came to live under the sea.

THAT TWIST! While not really that unpredictable, that revelation about Aemi’s identity definitely stepped up the game. It changed a lot of things, including how Aemi would proceed with her plans, and made the story more exciting.

Of Sea and Stone is an astounding and enjoyable fantasy novel. I’ll definitely pick up the rest of the series to follow Aemi’s journey across Itlantis. A must-read for fans of the fantasy genre!


Meet the Author

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:


2 print copies of A Gift of Poison by Kate Avery Ellison (US/CAN)
25$ Amazon Gift Card (INTL)
ends Feb. 19th

This tour is organized by:

author image

Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!


  1. Ooh this sounds so good and very well written! To me, characters are everything so I love a great cast of big personalities that are charming and memorable. I also like the sounds of the heroine - def my kind of MC! Great review, Julie!

    1. Thank you, Giselle! Aemi is an admirable MC and I really liked her. :)

  2. Thanks for the great, honest, and insightful review, Julie! Despite the play of the name (Itlantis? Atlantis? XD) the underwater world sounds so riveting already. I haven't read an underwater world that sounds so imaginative and as vast as this. Will def. give it a try if given the chance :)

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. This is actually the first book about an underwater world that I've read and I'm really impressed! I hope you also enjoy this, Faye. Thanks for dropping by! :)

  3. Consider me intrigued! And that cover is really really lovely! ^^

    1. I know, right? Real pretty! :) Thanks for dropping by, Stephanie!


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