The Stranded by Sarah Daniels Review (Small Spoiler at the end of the blog)

Welcome to the Arcadia.

Once a luxurious cruise ship, it became a refugee camp after being driven from Europe by an apocalyptic war. Now it floats near the coastline of the Federated States – a leftover piece of a fractured USA.

For forty years, residents of the Arcadia have been prohibited from making landfall. It is a world of extreme haves and have nots, gangs and make-shift shelters.

Esther is a loyal citizen, working flat-out to have the rare chance to live a normal life as a medic on dry land. Nik is a rebel, planning something big to liberate the Arcadia once and for all.

When events throw them both together, their lives, and the lives of everyone on the ship, will change forever . . .

Oh man, this book. When I love a book sometimes it’s hard for me to get out my words and have any of it makes sense. I finished this book a few days ago and I’m still trying to write this review. But we are going to make a go of this because this author deserves a review. My Parabatai, Sarah, stumbled across this, read the description, it sounded interesting so she requested an ARC and read it back in November 2022. And she said it was a fantastic surprise. So I finally decided to read it. I checked it out from my library via the Libby app. It did not disappoint me either. It was a fun and wild ride. This is Sarah Daniels debut novel. I haven’t read too many dystopian books, but looks like I might need to start reading more.

This book is told from multiple points of view. You have the three main POVs, Esther, Nik and Hadley. Then you have some side characters that are important to the story but don’t get their POV.

Esther – She’s an interesting character. She is training as a medic to hopefully get into medical school in the Federated States. She is a strong character. She has never been on land. You can tell she wants to do what is write and protect her family but she ends up being a badass!

Alex – If you could see the look on my face right now. I hate Alex with ever being of my body. But that isn’t a bad thing. In the book world that is actually a good thing. I don’t want to say anything and spoil stuff but I have never been so mad at a character. He gave me anxiety! If you have read this and wanna talk more about Alex then we can do so in the comments

May – Oh May. We didn’t get that much with May. I would have loved to have her POV but she was more of a side character. But still a strong side character.

Nik – Nik was a main POV. At first I wasn’t sure about him but ended up loving him in the end. He is part of the rebellion. For a non-villain he is my favorite for sure.

Hadley – Oh Mr. Hadley. I loved hating him. He was a good villain. He was vicious and evil and took no shit from anyone. Look at him wrong and you would die. It was so great that we got to see this from his POV. I love me a good villain,, a good villain story told from their POV. So if you know any good ones drop them in the comments. I did like that we got a little glimpse into why Hadley became Hadley

I really enjoyed the setting for this book. I haven’t read a lot of dystopian books. I would like to read more. I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. Having this set on a cruise ship was interesting. It would be cool if the physical book had a map of the ship. Like a layout of how everything works. Different levels mean different things. With the top being the most exclusive and the bottom being the ghetto, where the Neath’s live. I think that way my favorite part was learning about all different levels. I do wish we got more of that.

There were a few things I wish we got more of. We did get some info on how it all started and why these people were stuck on the ships but I wanted more. I am a sucker for backstories. It would be cool to eventually get a novella on what exactly happened in Europe. I do wish the characters were a bit more fleshed out. I did feel like we got to know them but I would have liked to see a bit more emotion in them.

For a debut novel this was FANTASTIC! If Sarah keeps up with this she will become an auto-buy author for sure. I do plan on getting a physical copy for my bookshelves and I’ll be buying book 2 which looks like it’s supposed to be published in July 2023. I can definitely see myself rereading this series.



This was my back and forth conversation with my Parabatai while reading the last 100-150 pages of the book. It was hilarious!


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