ARC Review: YA Romance Fantasy

The Isle of the Gods by Amie Kaufman

Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Summary from NetGalley:

Magic, romance, and slumbering gods clash in the start of a riveting fantasy series that spans gangsters’ dens, forgotten temples, and the high seas from the New York Times bestselling author of the Aurora Cycle and the Illuminae Files.

Selly has salt water in her veins. So when her father leaves her high and dry in the port of Kirkpool, she has no intention of riding out the winter at home while he sails off to adventure. But any plans to follow him are dashed when a handsome stranger with tell-tale magician’s marks on his arm commandeers her ship. He is Prince Leander of Alinor  and he needs to cross the Crescent Sea without detection so he can complete a ritual on the sacred Isles of the Gods. Selly has no desire to escort a spoiled prince anywhere, and no time for his entitled demands or his good looks. But what starts as a leisure cruise will lead to acts of treason and sheer terror on the high seas, bringing two countries to the brink of war, two strangers closer than they ever thought possible and stirring two dangerous gods from centuries of slumber…

ARC provided by Random House Children’s via NetGalley for an honest review.


I really enjoyed this book. It has a wonderful high seas adventure, an interesting magical system and some very likable characters, even the villains. I am really looking forward to reading the next book, which can’t come soon enough.

There are many multiple points of view for this story, maybe too many. It was hard to keep straight who was telling the story at times. But I did like all of the characters, and there were a couple I would have liked to hear more from. Selly gets the most page time, which was fine as she was a great character. She starts off being very self-centered, but she really starts to grow and seeing more than how things affect her as the book develops. The relationship between her and Leander, was developed nicely although perhaps a little too quickly. But I enjoyed them together and could totally get behind them both. Leander also shows some nice growth, but he has a lot more to go.

My favorite two characters, unfortunately didn’t get as much page time as I would have liked. I really enjoyed Keegan’s and Jude’s pov and their character development. Both of them are put into situations they cannot control, but they persevere through it all. I really feel sorry for Jude and hope that things get better for him in the next book. Laskia, the villain of our tale, was someone I could empathize with, even when she was doing something evil. But I still kind of liked her.

The story was fast paced, with some slower parts at times, which were needed. This was a hard book to put down at times. I loved the magical system and found it to be pretty unique. You need to sacrifice something important to you in order to get the spirits to help you. It is elemental based, earth, air, water, and fire, but we mostly only saw the air and water magic being used. I also liked the mythology that has been developed for this story. The world building was good, but maybe some things could have been better explained.

Overall, I really enjoyed this fast paced fantasy with a wonderful cast of characters and a very intriguing and interesting magical system. I can’t wait to see how things work out in the next book.

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