Nomads of the Sea

by Jacob A Zucker

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content

In the Nisi Archipelago, a civil war is festering. Separatist insurgents burn and pillage villages across the islands in an effort to return the Mangaal people to the seas, and to free themselves of their Lyssan overlords.

Sig of the Midandaal, the son of a diplomat, must combat the growing threat. As he stamps down the rebellion, he quickly finds his talent for bloodshed surpassing his talent for peace.

Idalia Goss is attached to the Lyssan company that has been sent to aid the loyalists. The daughter of a renowned physician and arcane scholar, her task is to learn more about the Mangaal mages, who far outstrip the mainland sorcerers.

Back on Lyssa, Bryn Urien the Singed, the Inferno of Mochan Pass, has lost his spark. Once the foremost aethermancer in the royal army, he now finds himself enfeebled and on the run.

Nomads of the Sea is a fantasy epic that spans continents and interweaves countless narratives in a seamless journey that will leave you wanting more.

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Jacob A Zucker

Jacob A Zucker

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Elecham
Overall

A feat of worldbuilding

Reviewed at: Chapter 5 - Sig

Nomads of the Sea is a gem that I'm very happy to have run across. It doesn't follow the lines of what you may be used to here in Royal Road. The pace is slow, the worldbuilding intense, and the plot has yet to rear its head by the point of my reading. Some minor editing issues notwithstanding, it's in every respect what you'd expect to see from a traditionally published book. 

The prose is flawless, and scenes are expertly set. The characters haven't had time to shine yet, but already they show a distinct shape. The only thing I'm worried about is the pacing, but I'll wait before making a judgement on this front. 

All in all, if the author can stick to this level of quality, Nomads of the Sea is a story that I'll definitely be following.

azau
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Review Based on Completed ARC

Reviewed at: Chapter 5 - Sig

Nomads of the Sea Spolier-Free Review Bases on ARC 

I thoroughly enjoyed Nomads as a new fantasty-take on the rarely explored indo-pacific region. The book takes a unique magic system and weaves it seamlessly into the lives of the characters. Without giving away anything, all I can say is that the book continued to draw me deeper the further I read, and I ended up finishing it in one sitting!

Grammar: No grammar or continuity issues that took away from the reader experience. Dialogue flows easily between the characters and helps build a deeper understanding of their internal motivations.

Characters: Rarely have a I read a story with multiple POVs where I was excited to get back to each of their storylines. Each POV is balanced throughout the story to give the reader a complex understanding of the world the author is building. 

Story Style: More fantasy than lit-fic (no blue boxes here), but a compelling tale that leaves you excited for the remainder of the series.

Overall, I would highly recommend giving this story a read. The book takes worldbuilding queues from Sanderson and character development from Abercrombie, and while not on that level is a solid first take from a new author. Plus the book is complete so you're guaranteed a satisfying ending.                                                                                                      

AwakenedMuse
Overall
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Grammar
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A well-developed clash of cultures

Reviewed at: Chapter 11 - Bryn

Overall

This is a compelling story detailing a detailed and very well developed world. Many of the cultures and nations find themselves at odds, and the use of multiple perspective characters and a conflict combine to showcase the similarities and differences between these people as they learn to work together.

Style

For me, this was a challenging part of the story. Technically speaking, this story is very well written. I'm partial to more flowery novels and close perspectives, so I found parts of this story a little dry as a result of the writer's style. However, I recognize that this is what many readers enjoy. 

Story

This is my favorite part. The story starts of with an impressively detailed prologue set in a realm of politics and intrigue. After that, the perspective shifts to an indiginous people with amazing magical powers and struggles of their own, far removed from the capitol. The author merges these two very divergent groups with skill, showcasing cultural differences and conflicts. These interactions do not feel forced or rushed, but are given proper care and attention, which is quite nice. The introduction of the third perspective character later on brings in a whole new layer of depth. This story is going places, and it's shaping up to be quite a ride. 

Grammar

Almost flawless. Very minor complaints and those only because I'm a perfectionist. This author uses switches the use of single and double quotation marks, which is a little off-putting. Just a few other minor errors, nothing that effects readability.

Character

The cast of characters in this story is quite large, and yet each has a specific flavor and traits. The interactions are almost too detailed at times, because each character is so well developed and nuanced. This is a good problem to have. As the different perspective characters are introduced to each other's friends, the reader has a second introduction as well. 

TheChromaBooks
Overall
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Character

Overall

I read the Prologue and Chapter One. It seems very rich and well-thought-out overall, and the writing is of professional quality. My review may change in the future as I read further into the story. Perhaps unfortunately, this story is so well-written I almost don't have two hundred words to say about it; the style, story, grammar, and characters were all worth a straight five-star review with very few problems if any to complain about.

Style

The style is tight, well-grounded, and clear. The author has obviously found their voice and knows how to use it. I appreciate that the author seems to have given this a thorough edit before publishing it.

Story

The story seems to know where it's headed and grabs you by the scruff of the neck, wasting no time by bringing you right into the fold. I do think a prologue will turn out to be necessary for this story so I hope the author does not remove it. 

Grammar

Grammar and spelling was near-perfect. No issues here.

Character

Both characters introduced were distinct and felt real. I enjoyed Genevieve's point-of-view and had warmed up to Sig by the end of his section. As an additional note, in general, I'm here for well-written WLW--which this story seems to possess at least in passing.

Ladylibrary
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Zucker does a fantastic job toeing, but never crossing, the line of giving readers more rich worldbuilding than they can handle. The world is rich and complex but well thought out and introduced, avoiding the downfall of many fantasy stories.

The Nomads of the Sea is a tale of two very different cultures interacting and Zucker introduces these cultures to both each other and the readers in a refreshingly natural way. Personally, I am a big fan of character driven stories which is what I would classify this book as from what I've read so far (5 chapters plus prologue). The only reason I do not give 5/5 stars for story is that the overarching plot has not yet been clearly revealed.

Grammar is good and does not detract from readability at all. There are a few nit-picky mistakes but nothing to interupt the story.

The character's personalities and cultures are what really shine. Madame Genevieve Gross from the prologue had me sucked into this story with her skillfully woven personality. Both Sig and Idalia are well-written as well with hopes and dreams that make them real. I look forward to seeing their meeting and what Zucker has in store.

MShadowlawn
Overall
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Character

Worldbuilding Is The Real Godzilla Here

Reviewed at: Chapter 5 - Sig

Disclaimers: This was originally written as part of a review swap, but that doesn't affect my actual ratings. Also, my Overall is for my subjective experience as a reader, with category-specifics reflecting a more objective analysis.

BLUF: A highly imaginative fantasy with creative and distinct worldbuilding and solid characters, that isn't afraid to take its damn time to focus on the actual worldbuilding. If you're Just Here For Godzilla, this might not suit your tastes(unless you view the worldbuilding as the real Godzilla, like my title says).

Grammar: I think I caught a few artifacts here and there, but nothing that actually affected readability in a meaningful manner.

Story: A bit on the slow side. I was definitely digging chapter 3, but it started to stack up some drag later-even if the lore's actually really cool. If my best impressions of the writing are true, though, there will be blood soon, but it also wouldn't surprise me if he found a way to glean an extra chapter or two of more worldbuilding before we get to see something happen. There's a lot of cool immersion aspects to the worldbuilding such as widely different cultures, magic science, and culture-specific powers and tech. It's very clear he took his time on that front.

Character: Very good characters being written here, I like how they're distinct from each other, and even side characters feel like they have serious personality in one capacity or another. I can also dig his choices in what kinds of character's he's chosen to place in, as there's a lot of variety to go into there-we've got a magic scientist, two lieutenants who have a thing for each other, and Sig himself, who's also pretty cool, among a cast of other characters I could easily grow to really like.

Style: A little wordy at times, and not unwilling to take its time, but it rarely feels like that time is actually being outright wasted, like I've experienced before in other works that seem to take this more traditionally-oriented feel in their writing. There's a little bit of fat that could be trimmed, but the writer's at least smart enough to eliminate the most obvious sources of said fat from the start, and to that I say good on him.

David Talon
Overall

The beginning of an excellent tale.

Reviewed at: Chapter 7 - Bryn

Reviewed to Chapter - 7

Nomads is a well crafted, imaginative fantasy set in an empire plunging into war. The pacing is good, the grammer polished, and the world-building very well done. The prologue sets the stage better than I've seen in some published novels. 

The initial pacing is slower than some would like, yet I think it's perfect to show the differences between the two cultures, with the tension increasing as the story progresses. The characters themselves are well drawn, especially the main characters, and while the names took some getting used to, by the third chapter or so they began to sound natural. 

This is a story I plan to continue following as I really want to know what happens next...

Publius Decius Mus
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Edit for chapter 7:

The plot became more interesting again, soon it will be up to par with the strong beginning if the trend continues.

EDIT for the fifth chapter.

Story:

I was hoping that we will keep going with the in medias res start, but action has considerably slowed down, we have a slower-paced exposition now with a lot of world-building. It's not bad, but in my case the later chapters could not recapture my interest as much as the prolouge.

Style:

It's good, but I think the author is a little too fond of using non-English words when he lets us see through the eyes of Sig. You can find out the meaning of the words from the context, of course, but these chapters are already slow-paced enough, and using non-English words for these mostly see-related nouns makes the reading a little more slower.

Grammar:

I am not a native speaker myself, so I might not be the best judge of that, but I have not found any typos.

Character:

It's a little early to tell, but I think the author will do well with them.

Overall I think the later chapters did not live up to the expectations created by the strong start, but the novel is by no means bad.

Original Review:

It's an in medias res start, where we are thrown into a bloody coup, and we can see the events that lead up to this point through the eyes of a dying noble. I will watch the next chapters with great interest.

Derin_Edala
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Well-written and intriguing story

Reviewed at: Chapter 5 - Sig

I'm writing this five chapters into the story so I only have the beginning to go on so far.

This story is fantastically written. It really gets the reader hooked on the conflict being built early on. The cultures and concerns of moth main characters are interesting and well-developed, nd the characters themselves likeable and distinct. Normally I like to point out a story's weaknesses as well as strengths in a review but there's very little that could be improved here; I'd say the prologue is unnecessary (they usually are) but in this case even that enriches Idalia's story (she doesn't know about her mother! :( ) and adds important context.

The story juggles the two viewpoint characters well, keeping them each interesting enough that switching between them isn't frustrating for the reader, and keeping them clear and distinct. Exposition is quite cleverly woven into the story; at no point does the characters explaining their culture to each other drag or feel out of place. The cultures themselves, each dealing with their own insurrections, are equally fascinating.

If you're in the mood for a bit of character drama, some complicated politics, and a good old-fashioned magical war, this story is definitely worth a look.

D.C.Veiling
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This one was a bit hard for me to judge. The pacing is slow while I prefer faster pacing and I couldn't really warm up to Sig yet. But I know that both of that is very subjective and I will try to rate the fiction objectively.

Style:  The novel really reads like any professionally written fantasy book - beautiful descriptions that make it easy to visualise the environment and characters. As said, it is heavy on flowery descriptions but that's a feature for some and a bug for others^^. Thus, my objective score: 5*

Story: Despite being only through chapter 6, I can already see a lot of careful worldbuilding and interesting foreshadowing events. I might adapt this score after reading further into the book, but as of now: 5* straight.

Grammar: If there is anything to find, my English is not good enough to find it^^ 5*

Character: as of now, I still really can't feel anything for Sig - neither bad nor good while most of the early chapters were about him. On the other side, the two chapters from Idala's PoV already brought her to life and I love her. I'm going to settle for 4* now but might change this as I read on.

Overall I can only recommend the book for anyone who likes a beautifully crafted fantasy world with slow pacing (similar to Terry Goodkind's "Sword of Truth). 5*