On the Strangest Sea
Kathryn Hilliard Klos
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (8/11)
Following closely behind “The Storyteller” and “In the Chillest Land,” “On the Strangest Sea” tells about Derres, Spencer and Mardan’s adventures as young adults. Each has reached the age where they desire to find love. Knowing that his soul brother Mardan would be well matched with Derres, Spencer tries to take a back seat so that their relationship can evolve. This is very hard for him because he is in love with her. While Derres is genetically human, being raised among the Banli has given him many of their traits. When he starts feeling himself synchronizing with Derres, he knows that it is time to leave the planet. Deciding to go undercover and work in WorldGuard, Spencer quickly leaves the planet of Kansas and those who are dear to him.
To the employees of WorldGuard, Spencer’s father died a hero in “The Storyteller.” While he was a hero at heart, they did not know the whole story. Spencer would prefer to keep his true identity a secret as long as possible. Since his father’s death, many of the Banli have come a long way from being seen as cannibalizing rapists. Throughout the series of books, non-military Banli people who have lived in secret have been discovered to be able to live amongst each other without having to hurt their loved ones or others. The main reason that they can continue this way and control their impulses is because they kept their connections to the universe, which allows them to live according to their true nature. The Banli who began annihilating others developed their aggressions based upon separating themselves from who they really were meant to be.
Spencer realizes this, and when he is sent on an assignment by WorldGuard that might involve harming innocent Banli, his goal is to help obtain a peaceful resolution. Initially he has great difficulties because he feels his body and soul being called back to Derres. While she is resolving these issues on her planet, Spencer struggles to overcome deceptions being planned against innocent people and himself.
While all of this is happening another woman’s story is being told. This woman is able to use her words to help connect all Banli back to “the All.” She is so talented, that she is even able to help some of the remaining Banli who still control the harvester ships. Underneath all of this, including the reconnection is the theme of love. This includes romantic love, and familial love. By helping the Banli men realize that they can be with their bond mates, true happiness and love can be experienced by those involved.
As with the first two books, Kathryn Klos has written another wonderful story that can just be enjoyed as a great fantasy novel or if the readers choose to look deeper into the story, they will find themselves being able to relate much of the lessons within, into their own lives. I personally found myself reflecting a great deal on how much I could learn from the lessons that were being taught in this story. There are also some beautiful invocations included at the end of the story. Once again I highly recommend “On the Strangest Sea,” and I also suggest that you begin reading the first two in order so that you will have a greater understanding about how special these characters truly are.