“‘No,’ he said, his lips to her ear as she drifted from consciousness. ‘I wish you to kill him.'”
The second installment of Kelley Armstrong’s Age of Legends trilogy, Empire of Night, throws readers on a roller-coaster of emotions after the jaw-dropping revelation we are left with in Sea of Shadows – one that could change everything Moria and Ashyn know about loyalty and trust. Before, we were introduced to creatures that were only believed to be in the fairy tales Moria told the village children. What will the twins face now? Will this second installment drive readers to want more?
Age Group & Genre(s): Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural, Magic, Romance
Mood: Dark; Fantastical; Suspenseful
Point of View: Multiple First Person Protagonists
Pace: Fast-paced; Leisurely-paced
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 2015
Sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood. Or at least, they were.
Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, the emperor has sent them on a mission to rescue the children of Edgewood—accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of imperial warriors. But the journey proves more perilous than they could have imagined. With treachery and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on all their influence and power to overcome deadly enemies—not all of them human—and even avert an all-out war.
Since the second novel was already released after I had finished Sea of Shadows, I immediately went to the book store after classes and bought the sequel. After that incredibly torturous cliff-hanger in the first novel, I refused to wait for the second. I wasn’t disappointed! The sequel is phenomenal when it comes to character development and answering some of the big questions from the first novel, without giving us too much information. However, there are a few drawbacks and reasons why I gave this a 4 star and not a 5. Let’s go through it, shall we?
In comparison to Sea of Shadows, Empire of Night was a tad sluggish in pace. The first and second novels are full of action scenes and epic battles, throwing Moria and Ashyn into a world they are not accustomed to. Empire of Night, however, starts to focus on the political elements such as ownership of land and tactics for war. I found there was a great blend of political talk, action scenes, and romance development throughout the plot. Once I began to grow tired of the story focusing on one of these themes, the novel seemed to move to something new for me to focus on (thankfully!). Armstrong almost perfects the art of timing, switching among these three themes that the novel focuses on at the right moment.
One drawback in regards to the story is I found it wasn’t as thrilling and suspenseful as Sea of Shadows. I literally could not put the first book down or I felt anxious wondering what was going to happen to Ashyn and Moria. For Empire of Night, the story wasn’t an “Oh my gosh, I cannot leave my bedroom until this is done!” feeling; instead, I could read a few chapters and leave it for a couple days before picking it up again.
But, I LOVED the character development, especially with Moria and Ashyn! We get to see more of Moria’s soft, vulnerable side as she experiences new feelings for the first time. She is starting to experience love not lust for our new main character Prince Tyrus, yet she also struggles with suffering and betrayal after Gavril’s treachery at the end of the first novel. I loved seeing her more emotional side rather than her constant on guard persona. And for once…I like BOTH men in the love triangle…which makes things SUPER difficult!
Ashyn, on the other hand, is becoming much more independent and vocal. In the first book, Ashyn is rather timid and lacks in any real fighting capabilities. However, her intelligence and choice of words are what save her and the company at a variety of points throughout the first and second novel. Additionally, she starts to gain some courageous minor fighting moments, which shows how Ashyn is able to adapt to situations with ease.
The other main characters also add more flavour to the story. Ronan frustrates me on and off (though I do love him), yet we learn more about his family’s position which explains a lot. Prince Tyrus is just an amazing new character to add to the story. He’s your typical male hero lead – wise, a good fighter, good looking, courageous, etc. One thing that he struggles with is the confidence to lead, which I thoroughly enjoyed seeing for once. I find male lead characters in stories nowadays always know exactly what to do and how to lead (and we all know that’s not always the case in real life!). For Tyrus, it’s a learning curve that Moria greatly influences upon. Now Gavril…I have a love/hate relationship for Gavril. There are a great many things explained in this book concerning Gavril, which definitely puts us readers as ease after the ending of the first novel.
If you are looking for ALL answers to your questions from Sea of Shadows…you will be disappointed my friends. This is a common thing I find when I read series by Armstrong though; you never really find out everything until the very end.
Do we know where the children are?
Yes and no.
Do we get the full picture of Ronan’s story?
No but parts of it.
Does the story dive fully into why Gavril did the unthinkable at the end of book one?
Partially. We do learn somethings though…you’ll have to read it to find out!
Do we get another cliff-hanger??????
YES…to the point that it’s painful yes! The cliff-hanger for both Ashyn and Moria’s stories are so intense that I immediately wanted to run to Chapters and buy the third book. THEN I remembered that the final book wasn’t coming out for another 6 months after I had finished this…
Overall, I enjoyed Empire of Night. It wasn’t my favourite but it was a fun read with a lot of neat plot elements and characters added to the story. It’s rich in detail and twists, as is typical of Kelley Armstrong’s writing. If you enjoy action, political schemes and mechanisms, romance, betrayal, and the suspense of the dark arts looming over the characters’ fate…you’re going to enjoy this novel.
Next Read Suggestions
Graceling (Graceling Realm Series #1) by Kristin Cashore
A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrace Legacy #1) by Alyxandra Harvey
Hemlock (Hemlock #1) by Kathleen Peacock
The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas