Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong


Published: 4/8/2014
Series: Age of Legends #1
Rating: 4 Stars

Official Blurb:

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.

Spoilers Below:

I was a little skeptical at first about this new adventure of Kelley Armstrong. I so loved her Women of the Otherworld series, yet previous reviewers seemed very displeased with this new series. I was cautious when I began reading this book, but in my opinion, I believe Sea of Shadows to be a great introduction into a new series. The main characters are Ashyn and Moira, fire headed twins, a rarity in this world, whom are Edgewood’s Seeker and Keeper. Ashyn, our seeker, is charged by the spirits to put the damned spirits of the exiles to rest. As Keeper, Moira is the protector of the village from said spirits. Even as identical twins, their personalities are completely different. Ashyn is kind and a wallflower. Moira is outgoing, brutally honest, and is a warrior at heart. Moira by far is my favorite of the two. I can relate to her fiery spirit and need to protect those she loves.

The story first begins with a peak into the past, a young boy named Ronan is being exiled along with his father and uncle into the Dead Forest for their crimes. The Dead Forest is a wasteland where many exiles do not survive. Fast forward “four moons” later, and we find our keeper and seeker moving into their roles for the first time. Ashyn with a contingency of guards enters the Dead Forest to give peace to the damned while Moira guards the town. We learn that if an exile is found alive and unfevered, they are freed for their survival. One of those survivors is Ronan. We discover that he survived the forest using the dagger Moira gifted him in the prologue. However, things are not what they seem in the Dead Forest and before long; children’s fairy tales are trying to kill her seeking party. These once thought boogie monsters are aptly named Shadow Stalkers.

These SS attack and turn all the men in Edgewood into SS’s. The women of the village are killed by their now SS men. The children were taken away as captives by men on horseback. Moira and Ashyn are separated in the chaos. Moira and a guard named Gavril take to the woods while Ashyn and Ronan take a road through the forest to Fairview with a motley crew of survivors. Moira and Gavril encounter and kill more of the once though mythical creatures on their journey. Yet, when they arrive in Fairview, they find that they too are captives. It seems men are the real root to the attack on her city. Our fiery hair twins and their guards are charged with giving the emperor their demands. The four of them ride off to the imperial city to deliver the mercenaries letter.

“I didn’t take care of them. Didn’t take care of any of them. Levi, Gavril, Father…”

Once in the city, they discover a very chilling secret about Gavril, while Moira knows he’s a sorcerer, he reveals that his traitor father, once thought dead, is behind it all. Gavril is forced to work for his father creating the SS and the creatures of Moira’s children’s stories. Moira whom had begun to feel close to Gavril is devastated. Upon giving the letter to the emperor, we find out the Gavril’s father has asked for what cannot be given, the emperors throne. He means to start a war and war he will get. I can't help but get the feeling that Gavril will end up being a good guy. He has feelings for Moira which would make his fealty to his father conflicted at best.

As I mentioned above, I disagree with the other reviews about this book. While, SoS takes a different road than KA’s previous book series, I feel like this is a good start to a series with potential. First books in a series are always hard to get into at first because unlike books 2 and beyond, you have to be introduced to these characters world. I think with further books the series will continue to develop and grow into another sparkling gem for KA. The next book in the series is set to be released in 2015.

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