Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: "Sea of Shadows" by Kelley Armstrong

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

What a thrill this was!  "Sea of Shadows" totally exceeded my expectations.  I'm not sure why, but I was anticipating something more middle-grade, but this definitely wasn't.  Lots of gore and non-stop action in a world that Armstrong creates meticulously.  I could clearly picture each character and every action taken as I raced through this book.

With an alternating point of view, we get to know Ashyn and Moria equally well, and I'd be hard pressed to pick a favourite of the two.  Ashyn is more shy than Moria, and she really doesn't have much in the way of self confidence, which is too bad because she's just as brave as her twin and extremely caring and loyal.  Moria is more outgoing.  She's also impulsive and brash, but this just makes her more endearing.

There was a bit of romance, but it was absolutely not the focus.  If Armstrong's intention was to make me fall for the "love interests", well, she did a fantastic job.  Once again, I'd have a hard time choosing between the two, but I think Ronan wins by a nose.  I just loved his wit!  Gavril was a lot more serious and stalwart.

The girls end up getting separated by circumstance and enduring different dangers as they travel across their kingdom to seek help.  We learn a lot about their myths, and it turns out that some of these myths are based firmly in reality, contributing to the danger and action.  

All in all, I would highly recommend "Sea of Shadows" to anyone looking for their next YA fantasy!

My rating:

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