Book Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

“Curiosity is what lets a young mind grow and keeps an old mind young.”

From the bestselling author of the Otherworld series and the Darkest Powers trilogy, Sea of Shadows is the first chapter to an all new fantasy YA series, filled with horrific creatures and a thickening plot that will suck any fantasy, supernatural YA reader in. Can she compete with her own works, creating a magical realm full of suspense and awe that compares to her already published bestselling novels?

17236366Title: Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong

Age Group & Genre(s): Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural, Magic, Romance
Mood: Dark; Fantastical; Suspenseful; Unnerving
Point of View: Multiple First Person Protagonists
Pace: Fast-paced

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 2014
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416

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.



Another Kelley Armstrong book! Ever since I read Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy in my later years of high school (which is farther back than I care to admit), I have become rather obsessed with her works. Every time she comes out with a new book, I’m likely pre-ordering it early in advance if it’s at all possible. So once I found out she was coming out with a new series back in 2014, I simply HAD to purchase it.

If you are a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s novels, you’re all too familiar with her magical ways of grasping your mind and tangling it into the words of the novel until your mind and the book become one. Exaggeration? I think not. Before the first chapter comes to a close, Armstrong introduces us to a world full of criminals, paranormal abnormalities, and heroines with sacred abilities. The descriptions of the world in the first chapter alone are so remarkably vivid and eloquent that the only reminder of life beyond this book is the obnoxiously loud sound of the kettle you just put on the stove screaming, “Your hot water is done! It’s time for tea!”

I absolutely love when an author is able to paint you the scene, the characters, and the actions happening in a novel to the point that you forget you’re simply reading a book and not in a magical land full of supernatural beings and grand adventures. Armstrong is a genius when it comes to this form of writing, so you won’t be disappointed.

Sea of Shadows has two main protagonists, switching points of view between the two throughout the book. Moria is a feisty, headstrong character who is rather skilled in close combat. Ashyn (my favourite sister) on the other hand is more of a bookworm and gentle soul, a peacekeeper yet willing to fight when the time calls for it. Though they are rather opposites, I could feel the connection and love these two have for one another when reading the novel.

Both struggle in their own ways but they are definitely round characters, developing as they need to when their worlds become engulfed in monsters and dark horrors around every turn. I really enjoyed how Ashyn and Moria aren’t the only characters to be rounded and develop as the plot thickens. Characters introduced throughout the story have their own little quirks and interesting tales that it makes them exceptionally memorable. I felt a need to know more about them:

Where did they come from? What is their back story? Why do they act the way they do? How will their involvement enrich the story later on?

The plot was similar to some other fantasy YA novels yet brought new, original ideas to the table. The grotesque zombie-not-zombie creatures, twin sisters fighting in their own way to save their homeland and beyond, and the mystical abilities Ashyn and Moria are born with make the story uniquely interesting and fresh. Yes, there are stories with zombie-not-zombie creatures and strong female heroines…but I loved how it still felt like a new story, something that wasn’t already sitting on my bookshelf or I hadn’t already read recently. And some of those plot twists! Talk about being ridiculously shocked – especially near the end…you will NEVER know until you read it!

My overall opinion? Buy the book…yesterday. Walk over to that wonderful second home of yours (yes…the bookstore is a second home) and purchase this wonderful gift Armstrong has given us. She brings it all into one book: horror, suspense, magic, monsters, forbidden dark arts, a touch of romance, and a lovable cast of characters. If you love supernatural/paranormal high fantasy YA novels, I really doubt you will regret your decision to read this book.



Next Read Suggestions

The Summoning (Darkest Powers Series #1) by Kelley Armstrong
The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm
House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Death Sworn (Death Sworn Series #1) by Leah Cypress

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