Island of Exiles

Island of Exiles

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 war...

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Title:Island of Exiles
Author:Erica Cameron
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Island of Exiles Reviews

  • Melissa (YA Book Shelf)

    Haven't been reading much of late, but wow! I'm not a fantasy reader really, but honestly, I loved this diverse story and can't wait for the rest of the books in this series to release.

    Tons of action, adventure, and there's a good reason why so many authors and even Kirkus Reviews have fallen hard for this book. Pick it up today and see for yourself.

  • Leah

    In Erica Cameron's ISLAND OF EXILES, we visit a nation ensconced in magic and a hierarchy based upon strength and ability. They're is taught to put complete faith in their leaders and to put the well-being of the clan before themselves or anything/anyone else.

    The only person Khya really loves and trusts is her younger brother Yorri, and she is determined to protect and take care of him. When Yorri is suddenly procl

    In Erica Cameron's ISLAND OF EXILES, we visit a nation ensconced in magic and a hierarchy based upon strength and ability. They're is taught to put complete faith in their leaders and to put the well-being of the clan before themselves or anything/anyone else.

    The only person Khya really loves and trusts is her younger brother Yorri, and she is determined to protect and take care of him. When Yorri is suddenly proclaimed dead due to a surprise attack from their enemies, it's not long before Khya starts to suspect that's not the whole truth. To discover what's really going on, she must team up with the boy who's always been her competition, and a person who she doesn't know but who Yorri loved and trusted implicitly.

    ---------

    Erica Cameron has never let me down, and she continues to succeed in hooking me in with ISLAND OF EXILES.

    Admittedly, it took me a little while to get into it at first. From the very beginning, we're immediately tossed into this new world, with a bunch of different terms and sayings. Even with the help of the glossary (which I didn't know existed until I get to the end of the book, so keep an eye out for that, if it's not at the front in the final version), I felt a bit like a fish out of water for a while, trying to understand what exactly was going on. But after a few chapters, and some helpful context clues, I was able to immerse myself in the world Cameron creates without stumbling over the new words.

    Which I am so thankful for, because the worldbuilding in this novel is incredible. Cameron details different ethnic nations, social and magical hierarchies, multiple sexual and gender identities, technological advances, and so much more. It doesn't read like a history book at all, but as a history nerd who is fascinated by the progression of these things throughout the ages, it was so fascinating to read about all of these in ISLAND OF EXILES.

    Speaking of sexualities and gender, I loved Cameron's work in these two areas, because they are both such non-issues in the society she's created. There is a third gender that is recognized by all in the society, and there are specific pronouns that they use for those who identify as ebet. It's pretty much the same with sexuality. The main character, Khya, is either bisexual or pansexual, and it's never an issue. The same with Etaro, one of Khya's friends and squad members, who is asexual. No one give's a fuck! (Heh. Literally in Etaro's case.) I'd love to to live in a society that is so accepting of sexuality and gender that isn't heterosexual and cisgender. (Not this society because I've read the book so I know what's up, but you know what I mean.)

    Finally, I loved all of the characters! None of them are flat or one dimensional. They're all human, with vast and differing emotions. They love, they hurt, they get angry, they forgive, they keep secrets, they try to protect their loved ones. None of them are perfect by any means. They're just as flawed and broken as an every day person, which is something I love to see in characters I'm reading about and trying to identify with.

    Overall, this book is amazing and a wonderful read. I cannot wait to read the second one, and to see what else Erica Cameron releases in the future.

  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    Like, so much. The creativity in this world is mind-blowing, honestly. The author didn't just create a place, or a group of people, she created a whole world, complete with customs, language, traditions, and so much more. It's basically the

    Like, so much. The creativity in this world is mind-blowing, honestly. The author didn't just create a place, or a group of people, she created a whole world, complete with customs, language, traditions, and so much more. It's basically the definition of rich world building. And I wanted to know 

    the things about it. Because it 

    so new, and has so much to offer, to uncover, it felt like constant discovery, and that is a win.

    The author paints the picture so very well, I could feel the desperation when the storms hit, how awful it must be to be stuck in these hellish conditions. But I also felt the sense of safety when the characters made it to the city walls. Really, the whole book was quite well written in general.

    It's like... you know it's happening, but it's so slow, and Khya is so resistant. She wants to focus on her goals, distraction-free. Yet, she gets two very unexpected allies- one in the form of her own potential love interest, and the other her brother's loyal love interest. These characters are definitely multi-dimensional, and it is nice to see the various sides of them.

    It's quite interesting, and I 

    that the author explores this. Like, there is love, and there is sex, and sometimes they go together, and sometimes not. And some people are asexual and that's cool too. There is a third gender, and literally 

    is judged. Well, about that, anyway. It's also incredibly diverse all around. Such a win.

    She gets pissed off like any of us would, she sometimes acts shitty to her friends, she is just so 

    . Also, she talks about underwear and her period, so holy awesomeness. Please, can we have more realistic characters in books? She also goes through a lot of growth, too. It's quite great.

    It took me a long time, honestly. I was wondering why I was reading so slow, but it was because I had to try to define tons of words in context. The good news? No info dumps. The bad news? Shannon was a little lost. BUT it did eventually become easier to get the hang of, so it is definitely 

    a deal breaker.

    . So while the world was 

    unique, sometimes I felt a bit let down when I realized that I had known all along what was coming.

    I will be grabbing this sequel as soon as I can. Because the book, despite a few minor glitches, was freaking awesome and full of diversity, great characters, and exceptional world building.

    *Copy provided by publisher for review

  • Miranda (MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It)

    was a gripping, addictive, and captivating book. This book sucked me in from the very first page.

    was a book that pulled me in and never let me go! I was pleasantly surprised by this book!

    I loved the world the author created, but I did have some issues with wrapping my head around everything. I thought the author did a great job of avoiding info-dumping, but I the world was so unique that there were some aspects that took me a while to completely understand and

    was a gripping, addictive, and captivating book. This book sucked me in from the very first page.

    was a book that pulled me in and never let me go! I was pleasantly surprised by this book!

    I loved the world the author created, but I did have some issues with wrapping my head around everything. I thought the author did a great job of avoiding info-dumping, but I the world was so unique that there were some aspects that took me a while to completely understand and remember. I had to re-read a lot of parts to try and comprehend the workings of the world. The world and the fantasy elements of it were fascinating, even though I had a hard time understanding all of it.

    The main character, Khya, was a badass! She was strong, loyal, cunning, powerful, and so much more. I loved her dedication to keeping her brother safe. It was so sweet to see a strong family bond in this novel. I really admired Khya, and I was rooting for her from the first page of this book.

    The romance in this book made my heart skip a beat. I was so invested in the romance Khya found herself in during the book. I SHIP IT SO HARD. The banter between Khya and her love interest was PERFECT. I thought the romance was well paced and I never thought it took away from the main plot of the story. The love interest was snarky and extremely sassy, so I couldn't help but fall in love with him and ship him with Khya! The romantic moments in this book made me swoon, giggle, smile, gasp, and so much more. I was a BIG fan!

    *swoons for days*

    This book had an addictive quality to it that made it impossible for me to put the book down! There was plenty of action to get my heart racing and plenty romantic moments that almost made my heart explode with joy. The only issue I really had with this book was that I had a hard time fully understanding the world. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book! If you are looking for a unique YA fantasy, then I would recommend check out this book! I am DYING to get my hands on book two!

    4 / 5 Fangs

  • Madison

    Island of Exiles is a rich and epic fantasy, incredibly detailed with superb world building. I am picky about what fantasy novels I read, but this one far surpassed all my expectations and I am now eagerly awaiting book two in the series.

    When I was offered a chance to read Island of Exiles I was told it was suited to readers of Graceling and Snow Like Ashes. That's a pretty high standard to reach, but despite that, I was still surprised when this book was actually really very good. It reminded m

    Island of Exiles is a rich and epic fantasy, incredibly detailed with superb world building. I am picky about what fantasy novels I read, but this one far surpassed all my expectations and I am now eagerly awaiting book two in the series.

    When I was offered a chance to read Island of Exiles I was told it was suited to readers of Graceling and Snow Like Ashes. That's a pretty high standard to reach, but despite that, I was still surprised when this book was actually really very good. It reminded me in parts of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (one of my absolute favourite fantasy novels) and The Host by Stephanie Meyer (just the parts about a subsistence culture living in a harsh, desert-like surround, with a strong community focus).

    Island of Exiles has some intense and well-layered world building. Every little detail is considered, but there are never any information dumps or description-heavy sections. The new vocabulary in this novel is huge. And yet I never found myself confused or lost. There is a glossary at the back, and while I admit that some of the ranks went over my head so too would any military ranks we use in the real world, so I just kept reading, paying attention to each new word, creature or name as it was introduced. The terms give this novel a distinct Eastern feel and yet the setting, culture, language and people of this book are unique. There are also a whole range of magic powers, a third gender and diverse sexual orientations.

    Khya is a strong, independent young women. She has the power to create wards to protect both herself and others. She is part of the top class, one of three her clan is divided into, and serves by patrolling, fighting, and protecting her clan and their home. Her focus is also on protecting her younger brother, a bond that many do not understand. She is fierce, powerful, clever, and serious - everything a fantastic fantasy protagonist can be.

    One of the things I loved most about this book was the romance. It plays a big part in this novel and yet it really doesn't steal the limelight. Tessen just isn't in any way Khya's focus. He is just there, has been her whole life, stealing promotions from her and basically being annoying. He is a fly at which she swats some times. And he continues to integrate himself into her life. Their relationship develops so incredibly slowly and naturally, it is beautiful to watch. I love how he annoys Khya, how she dismisses him and how he continues to always be there to support her. I love how we see this all through Khya's eyes. I love how she never suddenly realises that she is in love with him. It's so much more than that. She just slowly sees him as he really is. I'm not very good at explaining this, but it's worth it to read Island of Exiles just for their relationship - all the endless action and detailed fantasy world building are just a bonus.

    The whole book brings a high level of action and tension. There is never a dull moment and the end only gets more and more exciting. I can't wait for the next book. I'm incredibly grateful I had the chance to read this book.

    The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

    Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog

  • Danya

    This review and others can be found at my blog,

    .

    Have you been struggling to find an original, well written YA fantasy? Look no further! Here are 5 reasons to read ISLAND OF EXILES by Erica Cameron.

    1. Creative World Building

    If you enjoy complex social, political, and cultural contexts in their fantasy novels, rejoice! ISLAND OF EXILES has it all. Khya’s clan lives on Shiara, a land of inhospitable desert that forces them within the walls of their city, where they wait out natural dis

    This review and others can be found at my blog,

    .

    Have you been struggling to find an original, well written YA fantasy? Look no further! Here are 5 reasons to read ISLAND OF EXILES by Erica Cameron.

    1. Creative World Building

    If you enjoy complex social, political, and cultural contexts in their fantasy novels, rejoice! ISLAND OF EXILES has it all. Khya’s clan lives on Shiara, a land of inhospitable desert that forces them within the walls of their city, where they wait out natural disasters like floods and lightning storms. Already highly ranked within an incredibly rigid hierarchical structure, Khya is determined to use her skills as a ward mage to rise even higher…and bring her younger brother Yorri along with her. The various classes of people – the laboring class, middling fighters, warriors, and political advisors to the clan’s leaders – were fascinating to read about, and add texture and depth to the world of Shiara.

    2. Compelling, Flawed Characters

    When you’ve spent your entire life working towards one goal, you’re bound to have a bad case of tunnel vision. Khya’s stubbornness and single minded determination is by turns endearing and frustrating, and watching her realize that she has to let the people she loves make their own fate is really satisfying. It’s especially fun to watch her realize that she may have been wrong about Tessen, her former childhood friend and current rival…whose torch for Khya burns so bright it can be seen across the entire desert. The secondary characters are all fully realized and layered, and I can’t wait to see how their relationships with one another develop in the sequel.

    3. Crazy Plot Twists

    When Khya learns that the ruling council has kept vital truths from their people, her fight to improve her brother’s station becomes one to save her entire clan. ISLAND OF EXILES delivers some truly jaw-dropping plot twists, and surprises come from both within the city’s walls and without. The increasing number of lightning storms plaguing the clan, the incursions by enemy clans, and even the very class structure of the clan itself are all part of a much larger plot. Khya, Tessen, Sani, and their friends race against the clock to put it all together, and their adventures kept me flipping pages well into the night.

    4. Multi-Level Diversity

    Erica Cameron does an exceptional job of writing a diverse cast without feeling as though she’s aiming for some sort of diversity checklist. The entire cast of ISLAND OF EXILES is non-white, and queer people abound. A third gender (ebet/ey/eir) is accepted and celebrated, and there’s also great representation of asexuality. Khya’s society is quite sex positive even among teenagers – which isn’t a surprise given the average life expectancy of 30 years – and Khya herself has had relationships with men and women. It was really refreshing to see that sexuality and gender were total non-issues between Khya and her comrades, although there was definitely a lot of good-natured teasing about conquests!

    5. Adorable ‘Ships

    Which brings me to my next point: adorable ships, adorable ships everywhere! ISLAND OF EXILES features a number of really sweet, well-written romances, not the least of which is the slow burn developing between Khya and Tessen. Two words: swoon worthy. I squealed aloud multiple times at the cuteness! Erica Cameron is so good at writing romances that she can even sell a ship where the characters involved only appear on page together twice. That’s skill!

    So what are you waiting for? Order your copy or place a hold on Erica Cameron’s ISLAND OF EXILES, releasing Feb. 14th!

  • Danielle

    Khya lives on the island of Shiara. It's isolated and harsh. Every day is a challenge. Most die young.

    Magic, secrets, and half-truths are all around.

    Khya was close to her brother, Yorri until his apparent death. Now she is determined to find the truth. She is a trained warrior and dedicated to protecting her clan, but her brother's death changes everything. Now she has to put her trust in Tessen. Trust is earned not given and it will take time. Tessen is hot on Khya tracks and soon becomes inte

    Khya lives on the island of Shiara. It's isolated and harsh. Every day is a challenge. Most die young.

    Magic, secrets, and half-truths are all around.

    Khya was close to her brother, Yorri until his apparent death. Now she is determined to find the truth. She is a trained warrior and dedicated to protecting her clan, but her brother's death changes everything. Now she has to put her trust in Tessen. Trust is earned not given and it will take time. Tessen is hot on Khya tracks and soon becomes integrated into her life. Could he hold some of the answers?

    This book is not an easy bedtime read and I think a paperback copy would be best. I would recommend you read the glossary/Index, which is located at the back of the book. I wish I'd realised it was there, as it would help digest this book.

    Island of Exiles is an interesting concept with an imaginative storyline. I enjoyed reading it, however, I had to really concentrate.

    3.5 stars out of 5.

    ARC received as part of the chapter by chapter blog tour for book 2 Sea of strangers. My review is honest and fair.

  • Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥

    Island of Exiles was beyond original. So I wish there wasn't a but, but there is.

    Island of Exiles was beyond original. So I wish there wasn't a but, but there is.

    It's completely brutal. From the terrifying creatures, to the intense terrain, to the unforgiving weather, they are constantly under attack.

    She scouts, fights and protects those in her group and her Clan. She is the definition of kick ass! But at the same time, it's easy to understand that Khya was raised to put the Clan before herself. The needs and safety of the clan will always be more important than just one person.

    Well, that is until something happens to

    She loves him more than life itself, and finds herself on a different path because of her brother. On her journey, her world gets flipped upside down. Not only in regards to what she knew, but also for who she can and can't trust.

    He would never go away, no matter how much Khya wished it lol.

    The moments they were together were so much fun!

    So while this book seemed like a huge win win, I unfortunately struggled.

    And while that didn't seem like a lot, only a handful stuck with me. On top of that,

    . Their names were so unique, and even though I made a cheat sheet, they just wouldn't stick.

    It was one the most unique book I've ever encountered, and I was beyond fascinated. I loved how the plot was fast paced and where the twists took the story.

    So

    You may adapt easier than I did, and therefore fall head over heels in love with this book. But for me,

  • Jacqueline

    I struggled A LOT through this book but.. it was fast-paced and very unique. I wish we got a little bit more development with the important information just because I was left confused at so many parts which took away from the story.

    If the crucial parts, for example, key definitions were explained more fluidly I think I would've really enjoyed this book. The plot was progressive and action packed. The characters were likable but I didn't LOVE them since I did feel so disconnected to the book as

    I struggled A LOT through this book but.. it was fast-paced and very unique. I wish we got a little bit more development with the important information just because I was left confused at so many parts which took away from the story.

    If the crucial parts, for example, key definitions were explained more fluidly I think I would've really enjoyed this book. The plot was progressive and action packed. The characters were likable but I didn't LOVE them since I did feel so disconnected to the book as a whole.

    This isn't a bad book but the main issue I had with it had such a negative effect on my overall enjoyment of the story.

    *Was sent an eARC in exchange for an honest review*

  • Liza Wiemer

    CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS!

    Starred review on Kirkus:

    "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 the story, as the cast is entirely nonwhite, and the clan recognizes nonbinary gender identities and complex sexual orientations. The lexicon of unique terms and concepts may be intimidating to some readers, but the vocabulary adds fantastic

    CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS!

    Starred review on Kirkus:

    "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 the story, as the cast is entirely nonwhite, and the clan recognizes nonbinary gender identities and complex sexual orientations. The lexicon of unique terms and concepts may be intimidating to some readers, but the vocabulary adds fantastic texture to the world without distracting from the plot. This is rare gem of a book that has a lot to offer readers, including magic, action, and intrigue on the edge of a knife.

    A fresh, original series starter, bolstered by a dynamic protagonist and a welcome sense of depth."

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