Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Fantasy/coming-of-age with elements of horror
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: People looking for a good cross-genre YA book with a real kicker of a heroine
Trigger Warnings: murder, violence, killing, threats of sexual assault, accusations of child molestation
My Thoughts: This was a really good book. I did something I haven't done for ages, and that was to sit and read almost the entire book in one sitting. I did not want to put it down! I've been a fan of this author's Otherworld series, but this is a very different world she has created. I can see where it is based on various cultures, but she had made them her own and the world-building, while somewhat slow, is wonderfully done.
I am always impressed when an author can create truly different voices for their characters, especially when they are writing from multiple points of view (by chapter). Moria and Ashyn had very different voices. Moria was brash and in-your-face, while Ashyn was more retiring and diplomatic. I think this quote encapsulates those differences quite well.
“Keepers and Seekers were not permitted to do more than trim their hair to elbow length. Ashyn said they ought to be grateful they weren't like the spirit talkers, who weren't ever allowed to cut their hair or their nails. Personally, Moria would be more concerned with the "eyes plucked out, tongue cut off, and nostrils seared" part of being a spirit talker, but she could see that the uncut nails might be inconvenient as well.”Each of her characters has his or her own quirks and foibles that are slowly built up through the book. She does an excellent job of showing rather than telling, and that really makes a huge difference in a story like this one.
My one complaint is that this ends on a cliffhanger and we have to wait until next year before the next book in the trilogy is available! This is the one thing I dislike about reading the books as they come out, as I'll have forgotten much of the story by the time the next one is released and will need to re-read this one. Of course, as fun as this story was, this is not necessarily a bad thing. I also wish Daigo and Tova had played larger parts. While they are always there, I think they could have been more in the middle of things in various places.
But these are minor quibbles and overall I loved it. If you've been looking for a fast-paced YA fantasy with a heroine who really does kick posterior and take names (Moria), then this is the book for you. Check itout!
Series Information: Age of Legends trilogy
Book 1: Sea of Shadows
Book 2: Empire of Night, expected publication 2015
Disclosure: I received an uncorrected ARC proof copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: 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.
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