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Aemi is a slave in a village, which is built into the rocks along the ocean. One night, a ship rises out of the water, attacks the village and she, along with many men, is taken prisoner. Soon, her execution is ordered, but one of the attackers smuggles her off of the ship and takes her to work as an indentured servant for a wealthy man in an underwater city, which she thought only existed in myths. Her only goal is to escape, but fate isn't on her side.
This is the first book in a series and what an exciting start it is! Aemi is kind-hearted, tough in her own way, and, yet, vulnerable. It was easy to like her from the very first page and cheer for her the entire way through. Although the story starts with a simple and busy life as a slave in a small village, the world building and pacing quickly picks-up on complexity. The simple village clashes with a more modern under-sea life, which holds slight similarities with our modern world.
As soon as Aemi settles into a situation, another harsh twists comes her way. She is constantly facing new hurdles and problems. It's hard to guess what is coming next, and each new situation and trouble adds to an increasingly layered plot. Even the palette of characters is constantly changing, but the author still gives each one enough individuality and personality to keep them from coming across superficial or unnecessary. It's a rich world, and it's only the beginning, promising so much more to come in the rest of the series. After reading this first adventure, I can't wait to get my hands on the next book and see what happens to Aemi and her friends next.