Title: Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends 1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Atom (8th April 2014)
THEY HEAR THE SPIRITS.
THEY MUST OBEY.
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, they will not be quieted.
Ambushed by an ancient evil, Moria and Ashyn must race to warn the empire of a terrifying threat. Accompanied by a dashing thief and a warrior with a dark history, the sisters battle their way across a wasteland filled with reawakened monsters of legend. But there are more sinister enemies waiting for them at court – and a secret that will alter the balance of their world for ever.
The first volume of the Age of Legends trilogy, Sea of Shadows is a thrilling dark fantasy where evil hides in every shadow and the deadliest monsters of all come in human form . . .
Rating: **** (4 stars)
SEA OF SHADOWS is the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s new trilogy AGE OF LEGENDS. SEA OF SHADOWS introduces twin sisters Moria and Ashyn who live outside of the Forest of the Dead. They are the Keeper and the Seeker for this area, and are charged with quieting the enraged souls of the criminals who are exiled to the forest as punishment. This is their first year on their own, and something goes terribly wrong – the souls will not be quieted.
As you will know if you follow me, Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite authors. So I was really excited to see what her sojourn into the world of fantasy would be like. Armstrong writes a mean urban fantasy for both young adults and adults, as well as a brilliant crime; so I had high expectations going into SEA OF SHADOWS. I was not disappointed.
SEA OF SHADOWS has four main characters – the twins, and their escorts. Moria and Ashyn are the major main characters of the story, and in fact the twins split the narration of the book between them. I found it quite easy to keep them split in my head, as Ashyn is a much calmer character than her sister – Moria tends to jump in feet first. I liked the fact that Armstrong made them so different, but showed at the same time that they were both equally strong in their different ways. I also enjoyed the appearance of the twin’s animals – Tova and Daigo – and how they reflected their owners. I was also entertained by the twin’s companions – Gavril and Ronan – and their interactions with them.
My only slight criticism of SEA OF SHADOWS is that the pacing of the book is a little slow, however Armstrong puts this to good use through her world building and character development. Considering that this is the first book in a trilogy, Armstrong does a brilliant job with the world building: she provides just enough information to build a picture of the world and its customs, without giving an information overload – and at no time did it feel to me like I was being fed the information. The world feels vivid and alive on the page, and it is an interesting mix of a warrior culture and a more spiritual one. SEA OF SHADOWS is an impressive book one to a trilogy. Armstrong does a great job in setting up future books in the trilogy, and at the same time making SEA OF SHADOWS stand on its own as a good read.If you are a fan of Kelley Armstrong, or like sword and sorcery fantasy then I highly recommend this book.
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Kelley will be at our Speculative Fiction convention in Orlando next year! Check us out at http://www.sfse2015.com to see what we’re all about–and to stay updated on guest and event lists. Hope to see you all there!
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