The Sunken Realm by Serena Chase: Review (Pirates!)

justiceandtruthcazien

(Yes, I made this. I couldn’t help it…)

THE SUNKEN REALM KINDLE COVER SEPT 2015The Sunken Realm

by Serena Chase

5 stars

Fantasy / Christian Allegorical / Pirates / Twelve Dancing Princesses Retelling (ish)

Book #4 in the Eyes of E’veria series (but can be read as book 2 in the second set within that series, after The Seahorse Legacy).

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My Review

I’ve been breathlessly awaiting THE SUNKEN REALM ever since I finished reading THE SEAHORSE LEGACY. And at long last I have read it! (Many thanks to the author for the free copy I received in exchange for my — honest — review! Which follows…)

This book has pretty much everything. Love. Pirates. Fantasy. A touch of time-travel. A twist on the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale. Duels of sharpened wit in dialog. Actual duels (or at least fights). Adventure on the high seas (and/or islands). Awesome characters. And of course Cazien (see above).

In a sense, it starts a little slow, focusing on Cazien’s and Erielle’s relationship, but honestly I didn’t care that not much was happening excitement-wise, and would have been content to read an entire book about them doing nothing, because I just love them so much and I was never once bored. But not to worry — it quickly got quite exciting! Oh, did it ever. I was on the edge of my seat with all the thrilling adventures they got up to, including dealing with sinister plots and all the mysteries and fighting and the Island Realm and all.

Readers of the first two books (THE RYN and THE REMEDY, which I haven’t read yet, having started on book 3, THE SEAHORSE LEGACY) will be glad to see Julien, Rynnaia, Rowlen, Gerrias and others make quite an appearance in this one, about halfway through.

Things that I loved:

  • Cazien is still basically the best thing of ever!! Ah, that dashing endearing rogue of a Seahorse Pirate, ever ready with a blade or a perfect snatch of dialog. Impossible to describe, just take my word for it that Cazien is one of the awesomest characters ever.
  • Cazien and Erielle together. They are positively adorbz. Erielle grows a lot in her character arc and I’m happy to say that I liked her in this book! (She had been getting on my nerves in the previous one.) She has so much spark and fire and bounce to her. And she and Cazien in their duels of wit and their love story are simply perfect and precious and awesome. It’s so much fun. ❤
  • The dialog, humor, wit, and flying sparks. This sort of fits into the previous point. But all the dialog is great, especially between Cazien and Erielle, and between Erielle and Ayorn — aahh I loved that! (She’s quite talkative, and Ayorn is… not. So amusing. XD)
  • Along that line: Ayorn. AYORN WAS AWESOME. THAT IS ALL. (This coming from a book where you’d think all I’d be able to do is babble on and on about Cazien… well, there’s another fella in here who’s awesome too. That’s most impressive.)
  • Julien and Cazien interacting. Julien, being Erielle’s brother and all, kind of hates Cazien for a bit there and it’s glorious. I loved it so much. XD
  • Rowlen and the Storyteller stuff. IT. IS. AMAZING. I adore it way too much and simply NEED to go back and read the first two books if only for more glimpses at Veetrish storytelling. That’s fabulous fantasy. (Can I live in E’veria and be a Storyteller, please and thank you?)
  • Speaking of… The setting. I was so immersed in this stunningly rich and well-drawn world! The islands, the sea, everything — I was so much a part of it and so pulled in. A fabulous world that I want to read on and on about!
  • The twelve dancing princesses bits!!! Wow. It took awhile for that part of the story to arrive, but when it did I was just so so SO excited to see parts of the fairytale weaving into this new tale in a totally unique, different way, and yet there all the same. AAHH. It was so fascinating. I just loved it. (My favorite fairytale and all… and this was a totally new take on it!) It’s not TOO big of a part of the overall plot, but important enough to be awesome.
  • The Christian allegorical stuff was simply beautiful. Erielle’s struggles and the scene at the end of part one… so powerful. Rynloeft, the E’verian equivalent of God, had a definite presence in the book which I found very well done. Christian fantasy of this sort is a favorite of mine.
  • Everything about the Seahorse Legacy. I love the idea of these Seahorse Pirates who are the wielders of justice on the high seas… And everything about the Legacy which Cazien carries as its Heir, his connection with the currents and even the brilliance of everything relating to his inability to be inland too long in connection with the main plot problem. I. Loved. That. It was brilliant. And poor Cazien! Whenever he needs to go be in the sea… Just awesome. ❤ But… yes, all of the Seahorse Pirate stuff was some of my favorite ever. This is awesome fantasy, y’all. (Plus, piratey stuff! Yay!)
  • Also their apparent motto: “May justice and truth be served.” (And usually answered with something about cleverness… a sort of pass-code, almost.) I loved it!! It’s used so often and I became so familiar with it that when I was reading another, totally unrelated book, after reading this one, the characters were talking about justice and I found myself wanting — and in fact expecting! — them to say “May justice and truth be served.” It would have been as natural as breathing. And then I was actually disappointed that they didn’t, in fact, say it; before realizing that DUH, of COURSE they didn’t — this was an entirely different story! Ahem. All that to say, I’m very attached. ❤
  • Last but not least: Timey wimey. There’s not a lot of it and I can’t say much because spoilers, but the time-travel-ish things were so cool and really added an extra layer of awesomeness to this story.

As far as downsides… I had some slight disappointments in the plot, and also I can’t entirely recommend it to everyone, just because it was more dark and adult, which is a bit unfortunate to my mind… but couldn’t really have been avoided. There were some darker, scarier, more mature themes than even in The Seahorse Legacy, and some disturbing stuff. I’d definitely recommend it for older readers; not so much YA. I’d call it adult, myself (though I may be overreacting…). And I do wish . . . oh, a hundred things! *clutches heart* I can’t really complain here because spoilers, but I wish a thing or two had turned out slightly different… *wistful sigh* But all in all it turned out pretty well and I don’t have anything to complain about other than a personal preference or two.

Basically I loved THE SUNKEN REALM and just want to hug these characters and live on the high seas of E’veria with the Seahorse Pirates forever.

In the words of the Seahorse Heir himself: “May justice and truth be served. …And may I be clever in the dispensing of it.” Oh, you are, Cazien. You are. Always. ❤

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Blogtour – The Seahorse Legacy (Review and Giveaway)

Blog Tour Button for The Seahorse Legacy 5-25--6-7

I’m super excited and honored to be joining the blog tour for the ebook release of “The Seahorse Legacy” by Serena Chase, which was released May 25th!

Stay tuned after my review for giveaways and other good stuff…

Seahorse Kindle Cover copy

The Seahorse Legacy

by Serena Chase

Summary: As Keeper of the Seahorse Legacy, Cazien de Pollis is a King among pirates, divinely appointed to dispense justice on the seas. Bound by the sacred oath of a long-dead ancestor, he must fulfill a contract to wed the green-eyed Oracle’s Daughter named therein — or risk losing everything he and his people hold dear. But at nineteen, with the identity of his betrothed only recently revealed, Cazien resents the contract — and the urgency within him to see it satisfied.

Erielle de Gladiel returned from the quest for the Remedy, changed. Not only are her formerly-blue eyes now a brilliant shade of green, but she must don gloves to hide inky evidence that her prophetically-bestowed title, the Oracle’s Daughter, demands more from her than the task already completed. Erielle’s dearest-held dream is realized when she is knighted by her King, but unbeknownst to her, that very honor jeopardizes the prophesied purpose to which she and Cazien have been called.

Just as Cazien summons the courage to collect his bride, dark rumors and darker deeds crawl up the coasts, calling its guardians, the Seahorse Pirates, into action — and Cazien away from Erielle. But even though the Oracle’s Daughter knows nothing of the contract to which she has been consigned, Cazien’s enemies have somehow learned of his interest in Erielle. And if they reach her before his ancestor’s weighty oath is executed, the Seahorse Legacy will be forfeited . . . and darkness will be given reign.

My Review of The Seahorse Legacy

This is the third book in the Eyes of E’veria series. The Ryn and The Remedy form the first two-book set in the series, and The Seahorse Legacy starts another set which will be continued in The Sunken Realm. I have not read the first two books — I now can’t wait to do so! — and although The Seahorse Legacy references many things from them, I found that it stood on its own quite well (though it still needs the sequel to complete it!).

First of all, this story was gripping and I didn’t want to stop reading. It’s rather long but didn’t feel like it at all. I was just so sucked into the plot, which was intriguing and well done. I felt like the stakes were well set at the very beginning, so that I understood the consequences should the protagonists fail. I was on the edge of my seat as author Serena Chase formed words into a dazzling tale before my eyes like a Veetrish storyteller. (Which you must read the book to find out about, but that whole idea is really awesome.)

The adventure, romance, suspense, humor, and well-crafted words of the writing, were as enjoyable as the interactions between the characters in the marvelous cast, and the interesting features of the land of E’veria — which I’m looking forward to visiting again and again in the other books in the series.

There were also nods, although subtle, to The Twelve Dancing Princesses and other fairytales, which as any regular reader of this blog knows, always makes me a happy reader! ❤

What really made the book for me was Cazien, the Heir of the Seahorse Pirates himself. I’m trying to keep this review coherent, but it’s tempting to abandon all hints of rational wording and merely squeal “CAZIEN!!!!!!!!!!”, accompanied by further exclamation points and more hearts and happy emoticons than would fill the sea he sails on. (I’m sure he would be very satisfied with such a reaction…) But I loved Cazien! In spite of his occasional shadiness and tendency to think too much of himself (hey, I can’t blame him, I think a lot of him too!), he was my favorite thing about the story. Cazien is a rogue and a rascal and a pirate, charming, dangerous, fun, and epic all at once, but let’s face it: he’s awesome and he knows it, and so do the readers. I’ve rarely come across a character who’s so well written — especially his lines. Every time Cazien opens his mouth, sharp wit and cleverness come out of it, so that I just want to go back and read all the parts with him over and over again. I also loved the abilities he had through his connections with the sea — that was fascinating and awesome! Cazien is definitely a favorite character!

Okay, I’m going to say it. Erielle annoyed me for much of the story. I feel like the “girl who goes around with a sword and dressed like a guy and says she’s just as good as the fellas and gets to be the first female knight” etc., has been done to death and I’m sick of it. (Maybe not the knight part, but in general.) I have no problem with the way she dresses or the fact that she fights, it’s just the big deal she makes of it and her attitude. I know lots of people enjoy what is apparently called “strong female protagonists”, so this is probably just me, but I found her to be an exasperating whiner.

I think Erielle and Cazien are cute together, though, and I can’t wait to see what will happen with them next. (Particularly what she’ll think of a certain something that happens near the end… I’m just dying to see her reaction when she realizes it!)

I have two warnings for potential readers.

1: It’s not for younger readers — under sixteen would be pushing it — due to some of the content. It’s rather grittier/more realistic than I prefer in most books, and was at times disturbing/scary.

2: It ends on a cliffhanger. It is, after all, only the first of a two-book set. The story just sort of stops. But just so you know, as soon as you read the last page of The Seahorse Legacy you’re going to be frantically checking your calendar every few minutes, tearing your hair out and wishing 2015 and the release-date of next book would just get here already! I know I am! You have been warned. 😉

I’ll just have to console myself with reading The Ryn and The Remedy, and going back through The Seahorse Legacy to read all the parts with Cazien again…

I can’t wait to read the next book, The Sunken Realm, and find out how everything will turn out!

(I received a free ebook of this book in return for my honest review. These are my own opinions.)

***

You can find The Seahorse Legacy on

Amazon

Goodreads

Author Bio:

Serena Chase lives in Iowa with her husband, two teen daughters, and one very spoiled (but really adorable) dog, Albus. A frequent contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog, she also writes for Edgy Inspirational Romance. Serena has served as a youth leader for high school students at her church, coaches her local high school’s Color Guard, and drinks entirely too much coffee between these and her daughters’ activities. Visit her on her website, serenachase.com, and find her elsewhere online at:

Facebook

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And here are the giveaways Serena is hosting!

Be sure to enter both for a chance to win free books and pirate booty. 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grand Prize:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And as if that isn’t cool enough, the first two books in the series are also on sale right now:

limited time book sale 3-for-$6

The Ryn (Eyes of E'veria, #1)