Review: SeaJourney by Alex Paul

Source: Purchased
Publisher: –
Series: Arken Freeth #1
Edition: eBook, 231 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Arken Freeth is a 14-year-old boy in the Lantish Military Academy. War has broken out with the Amarrat Empire. Arken and his classmates set off on their first training voyage as officers-to-be into waters previously controlled by the Lantish Sea Service, but now patrolled by the Tookans, pirate allies of the Amarrats.

Join Arken as he struggles to survive 13,000 years ago in the lost world of the Lantish Empire on the Western edge of the Circle Sea, now called the Atlantic Ocean. Arken is the only commoner in an academy for Royals, and to make matters worse, he is also part Neanderthal, a secret he must hide from the people of Lanth or he will be put to death.

SeaJourney is the first in a series of upper middle grade novels that center around Arken Freeth, a young officer in training in the Lanth Empire. It serves as an really interesting alternate history of the time before the fabled Great Flood, and how live thrived until the cataclysm that caused it.

SeaJourney falls along the same lines as Percy Jackson, in it’s overall feel. It has that age blur that makes it both good for preteens and teenagers, and lots of new concepts to learn. The world in which SeaJourney takes place is a world before the massive flood mentioned in several religions, where most of the earth was full engulfed leaving very few safe places. As a result we get to see sabertooth tigers, mammoths, as well as neanderthals living along side the humans. I admit I wasn’t entirely sure how the neanderthal angle would pan out, but I think the book really made something unique by choosing to include them as well as the role that play in the humans lives.

I really like Arken. He’s the underdog in the Academy. He’s a commoner among royals and really small, which makes him an easy target for bullies…but he doesn’t back down and keeps working towards what he wants in life. It was nice to see him grow a bit as a person and gain true friends that were not ashamed of his low status, as well as stand out among the officer cadets as someone reliable. We do have a few chapters from other points of view, namely Yolantha and Ord. The first is a king of the enemy Tookans, who is in persute of a priceless treasure., and the other is a young Nander who is going through his own tough times with his tribe. The Nader chapters were a bit odd at first because of their simple ways of communication and the adjustment of different words being used for the same things, I came to enjoy them rather quickly.

Overall it’s a really fun book, which tons of new ideas. It’s definitely great for those who enjoy this age range, but don’t necessarily want another demi-god based story.

3.5 stars

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