Lots of surprises in this volume. Mr. Redick has managed to create a fantasy novel that follows a storyline much different than the norm. "The Ruling Sea" is a highs seas adventure, where heroes and villains alike are trapped on the same ship, attacking when they can and holing up to lick their wounds afterwards.
I'm not usually fond of talking animals, but the "awakened animal" idea in the story works. It has extra meaning by the time you get to the end of the story. I don't want to spoil the surprise, though.
I'm tempted to label this as YA, but the fact that several of the adults do useful things throughout the story keeps me from doing that. The main heroes are three teenagers, though, so at the very least it might be considered a hybrid of YA and adult fantasy.
I have few complaints about the story. Perhaps the boys, especially Neeps, are just a bit too exaggerated in terms of their hot headed behavior, but overall everyone is consistent and interesting. This volume made Thasha's father more sympathetic, and the period of his imprisonment it quite creepy. I liked that part quite a lot.
Overall, I think I liked this volume better than the "Red Wolf Conspiracy" and I plan on continuing to read the rest of the books in the series.