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Age of Legends #1

Sea of Shadows

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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.

406 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 8, 2014

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About the author

Kelley Armstrong

273 books30.1k followers
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,583 reviews
April 15, 2014
I got them all killed. I was supposed to protect them, and I was underground, entertaining a convict, throwing daggers at a wall.
Sigh.

This book was not terrible, but is boring. In short, here is why I did not like it:

1. It was incredibly slow. The action was stretched out tighter than a pair of size-2 leggings on Kim Kardashian's ever-growing ass. That whole "the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known" thing in the blurb? Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

2. Frustratingly stupid characters. The only character I liked throughout the book is the one presented to us as the straight-talking village asshole Gavril.

3. Poorly built slapstick setting with a lack of depth to the paranormal element. There was also just no point to the companion animals, as well as the adoption of the Japanese mythology "kitsune" in name only.

There are twins in this book. You might have trouble telling them apart, as I did at first. As you read the book, they will develop their own personality. Moria and Ashyn are similar in that they are equally stupid, they're just dumb in different ways.

They are beautiful, identical strawberry-blonde twins. Here's a visual guide, using the lovely Emma Stone.

This is Moria.



Moira cannot shut up. She makes stupid decisions.

This is Ashyn.



Ashyn feels sorry for herself. She will forgive anything.

The Summary:
"Our village is gone. The women massacred, the men turned to shadow stalkers, the children stolen. I believe that qualifies as ‘something gone wrong.’”
Sounds exciting, no?! Don't get your hopes up, because all that action is spread oh-so-slowly over a couple of dozen chapters. This book goes nowhere fast.

In the beginning, we meet Ronan, a criminal sent into exile in the volcanic Wastes. He sees a boy! A rich boy. He plans to kidnap him. Only it's not a him, it's a her. Ronan doesn't know the mysterious girl's name, but she is Moria. Moria asks him whether he's the youngest, then gives him her dagger and vanhishes into the night.
"A dagger won’t kill the fever. Won’t kill the spirits.” She turned. “But good luck anyway.”
A choice she will regret later.

Back in the village, we learn that Moria and Ashyn are twins. Moria is the Keeper, she is one of few in the empire who protects the people from malevolent spirits. Ashyn is the Seeker, she lays spirits to rest, and buries their bodies afterwards. Tomorrow she is to go into the Forest of the Dead to settle the ghosts.

Only things go dreadfully wrong. The Seeking party is attacked by bloodthirsty shadows.
It was a piece of meat, almost like a ball, but...
She realized what she was looking at and covered her mouth to keep from crying out again.
“It’s a heart,” she whispered.
It was indeed a heart, impaled on a branch.
Only to run into the arms of kidnappers. Ronan is Ashyn's captor. And to make matters worse, Ronan captures Ashyn using the dagger Moria gave him.
He pulled a dagger from his belt. The blade shimmered in the lantern light, but it wasn’t the steel that caught her attention—it was the filigreed handle.
“That’s...that’s my sister’s dagger.”
Now do you see why it was a bad fucking idea for Moria to give him the dagger? Nice job.

Ashyn forgives Ronan right away, because he only just kidnapped her a little bit (no, seriously, that's what she said.)

The rest of the book goes somewhat like this: They get attacked by spirits. Their village gets attacked by spirits. They get attacked by a person possessed by a spirit. They run away only to get split up. They get attacked by more spirits. They get deceived by spirits (and then attacked by them). They get attacked by men. They get attacked by spirits. They get deceived by spirits. They get deceived by men. They get attacked some more. They arrive in the Empire's capital. They talk to people. They get involved into conspiracies. The end.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.

The Setting: It doesn't mesh. It feels like a ton of random elements thrown together and it never feels like a cohesive high fantasy setting. It's creepy enough, I'll tell you that. There are bloodthirsty spirits. There are places like The Wastes, with hardened volcanic lands, and the Forest of the Dead, filled with malevolent spirits that eat people. But other than that, the setting doesn't feel real. There was no background. There was no history. There was no reason for why things are the way they are. There are pointless paragraphs on the behavior and ways of things like how a merchant is deemed lower class and what's the appropriate way to do business with a tailor, without explaining the important stuff, like politics!

Things are just random. We have spirits, no shit, but for some fucking reason sorcery is deemed to be superstitious nonsense?
“I didn’t mean to mock you, Ashyn. It’s just...sorcery? I suppose in a place like Edgewood they still believe in that sort of thing. Old superstitions.”
There are dragons and petrified dragon eggs are sold in marketplaces, but a porcupine...is sorcery!
“It must be sorcery,” she murmured. “To make such a creature.”
“You’re as superstitious as an old nanny. Sorcery didn’t make such a creature. Necessity did.”
Pointless Spirits: There was no point to Moria and Ashyn being Seeker and Keeper of the Spirits. Their powers are pointless and hardly used. Neither of them can defend themselves against the spirits by any magical power. They can only attack the spirits with physical weapons, and Ashyn is pretty incompetent in that sense. Both sisters have to rely on big, strong men to take care of them. Their relationship with the spirits is purely superficial. In the beginning, we're told that Moria talks to the spirits, and that's pretty much the last we hear about it for a long fucking time because it's almost never mentioned again.

Pointless Animals: Each of the girls have a companion animal, Daigo is a Hound of the Immortal. Tova is a Wildcat of the Immortals.

They chuff. They chirp. All the fucking time. They warn the twins of dangers. They do absolutely nothing besides that. It is the worst case of so-called "animal bonding" I have ever read. They might as well be pets. There was no point to their spiritual bonding.

Moria:
“It isn’t shadow stalkers,” she whispered. “They don’t speak—”
“Shhh!”
“It must be guards, from the village. They’re searching—”
“Shhh!” His lips came to her ear, warm breath filling it, his voice harsh with anger. “Be still and be quiet, Keeper. For once.”
Moria never shuts up. She is constantly shushed, because she NEVER STOP TALKING. In the middle of a forest when they're trying to hide from the spirits? BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. In the middle of the forest when they're trying to hide from evil men? BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. She never knows when to keep her fucking mouth shut. She is too headstrong, and I hated her. She grated on my nerves. She makes stupid, impulsive decisions that gets people into trouble.
Moria raced through the forest as she clawed vines aside.
I shouldn’t have left Ashyn. I know it’s my duty to protect everyone, and Ashyn can keep the spirits at bay. But I shouldn’t have left her.
Moria is often Too-Stupid-To-Live. She rushes into danger the instant she sees it, without thinking of the consoequences.

Ashyn: A frustrating doormat. She was kidnapped by Ronan. And then immediately forgives him.
“And you just happened upon him?”
Ashyn seemed as if she’d like to say yes, that’s what happened, but she could not lie to her sister. “His uncle captured me. Briefly. No one harmed me, though. Now let him up. Please.”
Because it's so reasonable to forgive a guy who had a knife to your throat a few moments ago. Moria is the quieter twin, she lives in her sister's shadow, and she constantly wishes she was like her sister in appearance, in charisma, in strength. Ashyn spends the entire book feeling sorry for herself, and not much else.
Ashyn loved her sister. And yet...It was not that Ashyn particularly wanted any of the young men who trailed after her sister. It was simply...well, simply that she wouldn’t mind a boy’s attention, if only to prove that she wasn’t completely invisible next to Moria.
Ashyn is so fucking stupid. She befriends a criminal (Ronan). While he is in jail, she brings him games. She plays with him. She trusts him against all reason.
As hard as Ashyn tried, she could not quite shake the lingering hurt over Ronan’s...betrayal certainly wasn’t the right word. Even abandonment felt too harsh.
She is truly a doormat.

The Guys: They're both assholes. Ronan uses people. Ronan is a criminal who sees people in terms of their worth to him. Ashyn falls for him anyway. Gavril is the jerk who tells Moria when she's being an idiot, and she hates him for it.

Gavril is my favorite character in the book.

The romance isn't even worth mentioning. Just skip this book.
758 reviews2,358 followers
May 3, 2017
BR with my #1 Jest trash. Honestly BR's hate us.

Well DNF @ pg 53

It's just so boring??? And slow???? And failed at trying to keep me interested??? I literally cannot try to read this no matter how much I force myself. Also, Maggie read up to pg 200 and told me it's really boring.

I'll probably come back to this book in 50 years, but DNF for now.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
October 7, 2013
It's official: I prefer Kelley Armstrong so so much more when she's writing for adults. I appreciate that this book won't actually be released for another six months and I wouldn't usually post a review so far in advance, but Sea of Shadows was so meh that I doubt I'll be able to remember anything I want to say if I wait any longer.

Compared to other paranormal/urban fantasy authors, Armstrong's pacing is generally on the slow side. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I thought it worked wonderfully in Bitten, Stolen and her latest adult book - Omens. But the success of Armstrong's slower pacing varies. Sometimes it builds up a slow picture of the characters and world in such a way that you're desperate to find out more. Sometimes it dangles a temptation for more in front of your face and guarantees you'll pace frustratedly until the sequel comes out. But sometimes it can also mean that nothing seems to happen for the majority of the book. It's been a while since I read it but I recall having such an experience with The Calling. That book ended with me feeling like I'd read a few hundred pages of filler.

While my experience with The Calling could be attributed to middle book syndrome, my experience with this latest series-starter cannot. At least the first two thirds of Sea of Shadows feels like the characters have no purpose or direction. Much of this portion of the novel is spent wandering around being lost and having love/hate flirtations with the book's two love interests (one for each girl, not a love triangle). And while there was, for me, a very distinct turning point after these first two thirds, it was still mostly due to an increase in the novel's grittiness and a couple of well-placed, shockingly-violent scenes. Not to mention it was all just too little too late.

I'm not one to get too picky over what we're calling our genres but I feel the need to point out that it seems something of a stretch to call this book "high fantasy". Or, if you insist on calling it that, then it must alternatively be admitted that there is very little managed in the way of world-building here. Some brief mentions of forbidden magic and a royal family aren't enough - and they certainly aren't original in a genre made up of forbidden magic and royal families. The history and culture of this world is barely touched upon; a fact which probably means Armstrong is saving it for future installments, but actually just made me feel like I'd read an extremely long prologue to what could be a good book.

I realise that I've been skirting around a plot summary but, to be honest, I don't quite know what to tell you. Moria and Ashyn are twin sisters and also the Keeper and the Seeker. This means it's their job to calm the souls of the damned in the Forest of the Dead. All sounds cool, right? Well... reading the GR description after reading the book makes me realise that it was telling the truth all along but I just couldn't see the reality:

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.

Basically, in simple terms, the plot is a journey from one place to another. In my opinion? It's a dull trek, punctuated by banter that foreshadows the inevitable romances. To make matters worse, Ashlyn's character was far more boring than Moria's, which added an extra layer of tediousness to her POV. Whereas I liked Moria most of the time but couldn't stand her sexy hunk - Gavril. I like complex characters who make mistakes and don't always do the right thing, but am I really supposed to find him attractive when he takes pleasure in insulting and humiliating Moria? I guess this is one for the teens who love the broody and volatile men who get a kick out of putting women down.

I guess you probably worked it out already but, just in case, I was disappointed with this book. I strongly recommend you pick up Omens instead if you're looking for a new KA read. For me, Sea of Shadows failed on every level... characters, world-building, plot... even that twist at the end had absolutely no effect on me. I think that's why I haven't given this one star - I really don't feel that passionately about it.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,048 reviews908 followers
March 31, 2016
A finished unsolicited copy was provided by the publisher for review.

Kelley Armstrong always writes in a way that keeps the plot moving. Being an impatient person, I always need something to grip my attention, so this one really held it. I wasn't at all bored. Little did I know this book was about the supernatural. In this case, spirits and ghosts and even The Forest of the Dead. I pretty much devoured this from the get go, and the ending gave me enough closure to know there will be another book, but it also didn't end on a cliffhanger. I liked how there are two cultures being represented. Even if I thought at first hand it was the Japanese.

I really liked how the two twin sisters were portrayed in the book. Different as night and day, Ashyn and Moira had unique voices and being told from their point of view was exciting. When one sister is kidnapped, and the other is trying hard to rescue her, my heart would leap out. I can't imagine having your own twin being ripped away from you. But these two were so determined and I admired them for it. Not only was most of the book a rescue mission, but there was also a lot of action sequences. The pacing is just right, and the characters aren't as fully developed as I like, but maybe that will change in the next book? The world is highly detailed and I love the crazy beasts and spirits. Armstrong uses animals a lot in her books and I kind of love her sense of magic and imagination to make them something new.

Overall, it was an adventurous and sometimes creepy journey into Kelley Armstrong's latest YA installment, Sea of Shadows will gain your attention.

RATING 4/5

QUOTES

"The only thing people love more than a good story is a bad one." (28)

"Just because she was admiring the scenery did not mean she would step blindly into the quicksand." (171)

"Don't ask a question if you don't care to hear the answer." (176)

"If you need something and you don't have it, you take it from someone else." (207)

"Curiosity is what lets a young mind grow and keeps an old mind young." (386)
589 reviews1,030 followers
March 26, 2014
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

This is my fourth book by Kelley Armstrong. I read her spin-off to the Darkest Power Trilogy in 2012 and long forgot what her novels are like. What I do remember is that I didn’t enjoy the series. (And back then, I seemed to love everything I read so that was definitely an odd one.) Looks like my feelings towards her books are unaltered.

I don’t recall the last time when it has taken me almost 2 weeks to finish a YA novel. Sure, for classics or non-fiction books because they can be tedious and lame (well not so much classics, they just take time to adjust to the language), but for a YA novel—no. I eat YA books more than I eat chocolate. I don’t just go nibbling at them a little each day, if I get a chapter done; I go through most of it in a sitting. The problem with Sea of Shadows was that after a read a chapter, I had to put it down. It was too boring. But beforehand, I had read a few reviews mentioning that it does get better, plot-wise. So I ploughed through. Some parts were intriguing, yet for the majority, I was drifting off to sleep. In summary, Sea of Shadows lacked a direction in all aspects—characters, romance, world building and plot—until the last 30% of the novel.

The premise is as follows: Ashyn and Moira are twins and have been training since a young age to be the Seeker and Keeper of Edgewood. Their job is to quiet the angry souls of the dead. However this year, something doesn’t feel quite right. Soon, odd happenings are occurring over the town—including deaths. The spirits refuse to be quietened this year. They are rebelling. Soon enough, Ashyn and Moira are separated—their journeys take them far from home as they try desperately to reunite once again.

This story is told by Ashyn and Moira’s perspectives. Neither, did I enjoy. Armstrong gives the twins totally opposite personalities. Ashyn is the Seeker and is reserved, quiet and rather dull compared to her sister. Moira is much rasher with her actions and is quick tempered. One was too boring to read about, the other was idiotic. Don’t let me even begin on the romance. Ashyn and Ronan’s connection lacked any chemistry (but Ronan himself had a great potential…but of course, potential that was unmet.) As for Moira and Gavril’s—just no. Bleh. I don’t even know how that turned out to be a romance in the first place. Gavril is such an ass on all levels.

Sea of Shadows was unfortunately devoid of world building. It was desperately in need of more information on…basically everything. There’s only a few basic facts thrown left and right but at several points during the read, I was confused like crazy.

Ultimately, I could not oversea the plethora of criticisms I had with Sea of Shadows. I wouldn’t say that Kelley Armstrong is a bad author as her writing is great and there is never ending praise for her adult novels—but YA books don’t seem to be her forte.

~Thank you HarperCollins for the review copy!~
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,975 reviews194 followers
July 8, 2015
The Quick-Fantasy, mythical creatures, spirits, back stabbing, fighting and love's first kiss.

Audiobook- excellent narration

Twin sisters have a very special purpose in this world of magic and spirits. One is The Keeper one The Seeker, they find the angry spirits in the forest and send them to peace. At 16 they are young but not without skills, skills that they will need when the stories they believed to be just tales start to some true. Their village their family and their beliefs will all change and be challanged. They must survive.
The sisters, while they look identical are not alike in personality. Moria is feisty, warrior like, more jaded in her heart. Ashyn, is more gentle, trusting with an open heart and dreams of love. Both have bonded beasts, a Wild Cat and a Hound of The Immortals, while they are huge scary deadly beasts they do have their sweet little pet buddy moments.
When tragedy strikes they head off in the dangers of the forest and beyond. The two main travel pals are Gavril, the cold hearted soft as steal young man and Ranon a snarky light hearted Young man who survived horrendous challenges. Yin and Yang. Trust-worthy, they may not be. Lust-worthy, well there is a light touch of that, perhaps more. There was a romantic first kiss. yeh it was supper sweet I might have giggled with joy.
High on action, fantasy, and adventure, low on romance. I really enjoyed the characters, the adventure and loved the fantastical magical creatures. Didn't love the cliffhanger ending when the next book was not out yet. Ms. Armstrong left me hanging, wanting more, MORE ! I need to know if _______ really was the bad one !
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,728 reviews739 followers
December 30, 2016
I can't believe I actually managed to finally finish this book! After over two years of sitting on my TBR pile, I thought it was time I read it. But after finishing it, I'm realizing that there's a reason I never picked it up. And that reason is that it is terrible and my subconscious knew it all along. All kidding aside, this book really was an absolute chore to read and terribly boring. The characters and story just fell totally flat and left me bored to tears, not to mention that it took fucking forever to get to the point which wasn't even that great... I most definitely will not be reading the rest of the series as I refuse to subject myself to that!
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews714 followers
March 22, 2014
This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Actual Rating 2.5

BORING.

This book can be summed up in one word. Boring. It was so painfully boring that I, who claims to be a night owl, went to bed early. I just couldn’t bother anymore. I made it to the end and I was happy that it was over. The thing about this book is that it doesn’t really have any other major flaws, it just didn’t click with me and I feel like it’s definitely a case of ‘it’s me not you’ when it comes to this book.

This is a story about two twin sisters who get separated, have to overcome some scary ass obstacles with the help of their respective companions and then they reunite. That sounds fun yeah? Well it’s BORING AS HELL. Or it was for me at least.

The story starts on the eve of Ashyn’s 16th birthday. She will have to go into the Edgewood and free the spirits of the dead but something is wrong. Dreadfully wrong. *cue drum roll*.

I really don’t know where to start with this book. It’s always hard to review books that are mediocre because you never know what to say. I feel no enthusiasm about this book and am probably not going to be reading the sequel either.

This book is written in dual pov and when you absolutely hate one of the characters… you’re in for a long long time.

Ashyn is a pretty decent character but Moira on the other hand… yeah, I hated her. The problem with the twin sisters is how the author portrays them. One is brave, outspoken, realistic (in her opinion) and everyone (especially the guys, like her more). The other is silent, a romantic and presented as someone who is not as brave . I am pretty sure you can guess which one I liked better.

Moira, in my opinion, was rash and needed to stop acting so weird. She basically had Ashyn on a leash. She told the guards to not let her go anywhere and they ‘followed’ her orders even though both the sisters have the same status. I just don’t get it. Who is Moira to restrain her? Moira can go off fighting but Ashyn needs to be ‘protected’? EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE THE SAME BLOODY AGE? Nope. Nope. Nope.

The problem isn’t only Moira. Her POV in general holds no interest for me. I have to listen to her ‘being the bigger person’, worrying about her sister, being badass but on top of that I hate her companion. Gavril is a douche bag. He is the passive aggressive dude with who you can never tell if he likes you or not. He completely ignores Ashyn and is always pulling on Moira’s (metaphorical) ‘pig tails’. This isn’t 3rd grade. You don’t need to be a douche if you like the girl and it isn’t cute when you constantly threaten the girl. There are lines that need to be drawn if you want to go down the passive aggressive lane.

Ronan on the other hand just makes me sad. He had so much potential but for some reason his character fell flat. Ideally, he is the perfect character in my book but for some reason, I cannot feel the enthusiasm I should be feeling. He is a thief, he didn’t live a perfecty life, he is goal oriented, he is sharp and I could go on and on about why he is awesome but I don’t FEEL the enthusiasm I should be feeling about his character.

The romances were bleh. Ronan and Ashyn’s romance was developed but they lack chemistry. There is some but not nearly enough to make me want to jump up and cheer them on. Gavriel and Moira’s romance on the other hand just feels icky. There is chemistry but… *shudders*. Their romance just doesn’t seem healthy to me.

The world building was wonderful; I really loved how the author developed the monsters and the forest and everything else. The whole atmosphere of the book was eerie. It was creepy but the problem was that the potential of this book remains unrealized.

The plot is not developed enough for me to even be able to enjoy the fantastic world building. Things happen. They fight creepy creatures and then they do more stuff. There just isn’t enough happening to keep me hooked.

I am starting to think that Kelley’s YA is just not for me. I have a soft spot for The Darkest Powers trilogy but even I realize that it’s not a masterpiece. I just don’t think YA is Kelley’s forte. I LOVE her adult books but her YA’s tend to fall flat in comparison which really is a pity because she always has such wonderful ideas.

This book is full of potential and I am sure there are people out there that will love it but this one is clearly not for me.
Profile Image for Rebekah.
728 reviews955 followers
March 8, 2016
Review found at: www.awesomebooknut.com

I finished reading this book, back in December of 2014. I didn’t realize I hadn’t written a review on it, until a Goodreads follower mentioned it. Then I forgot to write it and I am just not getting to it. Yes here is my confession. But I remember the book because it was that good and here is my review!

This is an amazing story of two VERY different twin sisters with opposite personalities, they are a perfect fit to each other and share a deep bond that is sweet. I loved them both.

First we’ve got Moria who is fierce but at the same time almost uncontrollable in the point that she lacks patience. I really liked her quick tongue that sometimes got her into trouble and her talent with weapons.

Then you’ve got Ashyn who is quiet, thoughtful and almost considered “weaker” when in reality she isn’t. She is just the softer of the two.

With angry spirits and deadly ancient monsters that are wrecking havoc and death, both Moria and Ashlyn have to discover why this is happening and how to save those who have survived such slaughter.

The character development throughout this story was awesome. Because we see both sisters pull from each other and ended up both growing and I loved it.

I really enjoyed the romance in this book. I really enjoyed how Gavril constantly pushed and questioned Moria. Then I really also enjoyed the humor brought into this story by Ranon who was Ashyn’s love interest. They both were just great and I really enjoyed the slow moving aspect of this story which Kelley Armstrong does so well at and I appreciate a good story not drenched in romance. Keeps some of the mystery.

Overall I LOVED this story, I love the creepy, gory, craziness and uniqueness of this story.

Sexual Content: mild (some kissing)
Violence: moderate/heavy (monsters destroying villages and leaving behind carnage not too graphic)
Language: mild/none (that I recall)
Drugs/Alcohol: none
Profile Image for Kassidy.
338 reviews11.1k followers
November 22, 2014
This is such a dark and suspenseful book!

This is a fantasy book that has all kinds of crazy stuff. It follows two female characters who are twins, Moria and Ashyn. Ashyn is the "Seeker" of their village and Moria is the "Keeper." These titles are held in high regard by the people because it means they are in connection with the spirits and they protect the people from The Forest of the Dead. I won't get into all of the details, but it's the kind of world that has elements that are difficult to explain!
I loved the two main characters Moria and Ashyn, the switching POVs really gave the story more depth!
I have to say, I enjoyed Moria's character a little more than Ashyn's, just because she is more fiery and entertaining. I also love the wildcat and hound they are bound to, Daigo and Tova. They are so cute and also have their own personalities!
The world is a bit confusing, and this is where some of my problems with the book come in. Kelley Armstrong builds the world throughout the novel and spends a small amount of time actually explaining it. This is a unique and cool way to write, but in the first third of the book it was difficult to read and understand at times. By the end I feel like I get the world and I feel invested in the story, but I think it would be tempting for some people to put the book down in the beginning.
The world and plot are very dark and gritty! I loved that though. I would say this story is not for the faint of heart. Once I got past the first half of the book, the story really picked up and it was one thing after another, along with some great action scenes! I thought the plot would reach a calm spot, then all of a sudden another crazy thing would happen, it was pretty awesome.
There is little romance in the story. There is definitely potential, but not much comes from it. The whole time there are a couple relationships brewing, but nothing that is part of the main story line.
I also thought the side characters were very well-written and everyone had such a unique and distinguishable personality.
I LOVE how the book ended and I am DYING for the next one!!!

*I was sent an advanced reader's copy of this book in return for an honest review*
Profile Image for Ally .
36 reviews4 followers
March 21, 2015
Hmmm. Tricky, thats what this is. Keeping this a review and not a rant may be harder than it usually is.

This book was almost a chore to get through. For one, it was probably 150 pages too long. It was slow and repetitive and I really had to force my way through a ton of it.

On the other hand, I liked Ronan a lot. Other than that the characters were annoying,stupid, and predictable. Why I liked Ronan? Because he's the only one that has a handful of braincells. He's a criminal that was thrown into the Forest of the Dead. When it all hit the fan, he didn't stick around. He understood that he was still a convicted criminal and wasn't going to be greeted with open arms by the other villagers. He's smart enough to play the angles when necessary. But overall, he just thought circles around his brainless companions. It was refreshing.

So the girls had like "bond beasts" or something. One sister had a huge tame wildcat while the other had a equally large doggy. They are given to the children at birth and have been inseparable ever since. This could have been a redeeming quality of this book. But no, it fell really flat and pretty pointless. All they did was "chuff" and warn the girls of possible danger. But the whole "bond" thing didn't pull through enough. The girls obviously cared about their beasts, but they easily could have been just pets.

All in all this book just didn't click with me. The characters were very empty headed, the plot was ridiculously slow, and just plain boring. While it was a very original plot and Ronan was pretty enjoyable, it just really didn't go anywhere. It was a long(ish) book with almost no plot development in it. It's just overall a skippable book. And what the heck is on the cover?
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews837 followers
March 9, 2015
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Book One of the Age of Legends series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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, 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.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes a captivating new series that blends elements of fantasy and horror with the pulse-pounding action and romance that have earned her a devoted readership worldwide.

What I Liked:

People. I don't even know where to begin. I can't... I don't... THIS IS TOO MUCH. The responsibility to produce a review worthy of my feelings towards this book... I don't think I'll be able to do this book any justice. I know the rating on Goodreads is not SUPER high - usually, my rating of a book is lower than the overall rating on Goodreads - but I seriously loved this book.

Ashyn and Moria are the Seeker and the Keeper of spirits. Twins are rare, and twin Seekers and Keepers are even more rare. The Seeking Day has arrived, and Ashyn must go into the Forest of the Dead to put the souls of those exiled into the forest to rest. Citizens of Edgewood who go into the forest (not on account of exile) always return, unharmed. But something goes wrong, something is set into motion. Soon, the two of Edgewood is destroyed, and the girls must find help. They are separated, but each girl has a companion. It is up to the four of them - Ashyn, Ronan, Moria, and Gavril - to save the children of Edgewood, and to enter court to save themselves.

I LOVED the set of characters that Armstrong has developed. At first, I thought this book was only told from Ashyn's point-of-view, but then I quickly realized that it would be told from Ashyn AND Moria's perspectives, both third-person point-of-view. I really like this. We get to learn a good deal about each girl, and while I liked Ashyn more, I really like Moria as well. I really like all four of the main characters!

Right. There are four. Let me start with the girls. Ashyn is the quieter of the two, the more sensible, in my opinion, but the more naive. She is the healer-type, with the calm disposition, and observant nature. She is more like my outer nature, in that sense. But Moria appeals to my inner nature. She is a warrior, a fighter, a protector. She is feisty and crafty, impulsive and quick-witted. The girls are very different, but I really like both of them. Neither girl is particularly whiny or stupid or shallow. They have their negative qualities, but the qualities aren't horrible-human-being qualities (if you see what I mean).

The other protagonists are the two males - Gavril and Ronan. Gavril is a guard for Edgewood, and Ronan is an exile who survived while in the Forest of the Dead for months. Both are fierce and intelligent, brutal and cunning. Gavril is definitely the colder of the two, but he has his moments. Ronan is less cold, and more blunt (in general, he talks more Gavril). Gavril and Moria are travel together, and Ronan and Ashyn travel together. The four of them do not intermingle (all four, together) until the last part of the book, in Fairview. But I really enjoy reading about each one individually, and together. It is especially interesting to see what each girl thinks of the other male.

I suppose that sort of leads me to the romance. The romance between Ashyn and Ronan is more obvious and proclaimed than that of Gavril and Moria. In the case of the former pair, they talk about potential lovers (well, Ashyn basically asks Ronan if he has a girl waiting for him). And towards the end, they actually share a really sweet and intimate scene for the briefest of seconds. But the latter pair is a little more tricky. Moria refuses to acknowledge any feelings she might have towards Gavril. Gavril, well, he has as much emotion showing as a brick wall, so we don't actually know how he feels. Except sort of, at the end. But then, the ending. Things get confusing. So we never actually see a manifestation of a relationship between Moria and Gavril, but as readers, we can totally see it coming (hopefully!).

But I should say - the romance is very subtle, in this book. Its definitely takes a backseat to the actually plot - finding the children of Edgewood, finding each other (the girls), staying alive. There is no perceived love triangle. I hope it stays that way!

The plot. I've seen some people say that the book is boring and slow and that the characters are walking around for the entire book. The last part is true - the two pairs travel to Fairview, where the children of Edgewood were taken. The children were taken as ransom, I believe, and possibly to be a part of the shadow army that the enemy is creating. I'm not entirely sure. But anyway. I thought the plot was actually really interesting. It's shrouded in mystery, and you have to peel back layers and layers, but things get interesting quickly, in my opinion. The beginning is a tad bit slow, but once people start dying (which is pretty soon), question emerge, and trust me - you WANT to know what is going on.

The fantasy part of this novel is creepy cool. There are shadow stalkers - creatures made of shadow, death worms - like a snake, but an anaconda, I suppose, thunder hawks - gigantic hawk-like bird that sounds like thunder. Spirits are a huge part of this book - they speak to Moria and Ashyn, as the Keeper and Seeker, but evil ones also can inhabit humans. Creepy cool.

I think I've said a lot... but seriously, this book was great. I LOVE fantasy, and this book is a really great fantasy novel. I love the story, and I love the romance between each pair (especially Ronan and Ashyn). I cannot wait to see what happens in the second book - because the ending of this book is CRAZY. I was NOT expecting that at all. Although, I was expecting something sneaky... but not THAT. I seriously cannot wait. Gimme more!

What I Did Not Like:

I don't think I have any legitimate complaints... I just want the second book! And then the third! And so on!

Would I Recommend It:

Um, YES! Clearly, if I'm giving this book five stars, then you know this book has to be good. I don't just hand out five stars like that. Also? My rating of this book is higher than the overall rating on Goodreads - that NEVER happens (my rating is always lower). So. You should read this one, if you have an ARC or eARC or copy. It's worth it, especially for those fantasy lovers out there!

Rating:

5 stars. I think this is my first 5-star rating of 2014? Wait no, Alienated, and Sins of A Wicked Princess. Okay, my THIRD 5-star rating of 2014, out of... forty books read for the year so far. Three out of forty. I've only read two of Armstrong's book - The Summoning, and The Awakening - and I didn't really like them. But I LOVED this book, and will definitely be reading the next book!
Profile Image for Kathryn Ford.
Author 1 book83 followers
July 21, 2015
http://www.bookrantorrave.com/blog/se...

Sea of Shadows is an epic fantasy book, yay! It makes me so happy to see more and more epic fantasy books by female authors. This book had everything that makes an epic fantasy book great in it, mystery, travelling, monsters, magic etc. It also had a good dose of blood and gore, and we all know by now how much I enjoy that! There was also an element of true horror in this book, that gave me the chills and that kept me up a few nights.

One bad thing about this book was that it lacked in description. At first I was annoyed, but the story was so good that it carried the book through. Also, as the book went along, the descriptions became more and more detailed, that by the end of the book they were nearly perfect. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you about this short coming. Let your mind loose though and try fill in the gaps. I have read the second book in this series, Empire of Night, and the description problem is completely corrected in that book! So, please don’t give up in the first few chapters, it gets better.

The book begins with a Prologue where we follow a boy, Ronan, who is being led off to The Forest of the Dead to be exiled there with his father and uncle. This prologue sets the grim mood that a lot of the book follows. We also get our first look into how justice works in this world. The prologue immediately captured my attention and made me want to read on.

The rest of the book is split into segments that follow alternating points of view, that of Ashyn and Moria; identical twins. It is unusual in that it follows each character for around 12 chapters at a time instead of alternating chapters. I actually really enjoyed this; since, you could really get immersed into the characters...

For my full review please click:
http://www.bookrantorrave.com/blog/se...
Profile Image for ✶Rachelle✶ .
266 reviews119 followers
April 2, 2017
4 stars

This book was a solid 3 stars until the end.....wow. What a way to end a book! Makes me want to grab the next one now.....oh how I hate library hold waits =(

Ashyn and Moria are the Seeker and Keeper (respectively) of the Forest of the Dead. After a horrific attack on their village, they set off to find out who is responsible....and also discover other secrets along the way.

This was a journey book. The main characters and their sidekicks spend about 80% of the book travelling. Normally I do not like these types of stories. I find journey books to be a bit tedious at times; however, this one was done fairly well. Probably because the main point of the book was not the fact that they were travelling.

The plot as a whole was pretty compelling, but I have to admit to being a bit bored....until the end. There is a twist that I did not see coming, and I thoroughly enjoy being surprised. Also, the shipping in this book is on point! So much shipping yayyyy!!



Overall, good read. Many thanks to my GR wifey for forcing me to read this highly recommending this book <3 <3 <3
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,464 reviews379 followers
March 15, 2020
I was reading two vastly different Kelley Armstrong books at the same time. Kelley is spectacular at writing to a particular audience, and this one felt a bit too young for me at times.

My biggest complaint about this book is the confusion in the beginning between the narration of Moira and Aslyn and their confusion, making me confused about what was going on and then it became hard to connect with the story.

I enjoyed the book as ti developed and will definitely continue on with the series, but it didn't suck me in like most of her other books have.

Solid 3 stars for me
May 19, 2017
Holy good God. This book is so boring, bland and just plain AWFUL that I have to sell it.

Update I've had the book for sale for about six months now, and no one has wanted to take it off my hands, so I'll either donate it or just let it sit on my shelf for my lifetime. I mean, if no one wanted to buy the book for half price, then I think that says a lot about the book. Hell, I don't even want to write a review on this book. It has wasted enough of my time.

Profile Image for Aneta Bak.
414 reviews102 followers
May 17, 2017
"I have survived."

Sea of Shadows is a rich story, with two beautiful heroines, a charming thief, and a dangerous warrior. This series is filled with twists and turns around every corner, and dangerous creatures that were believed to be stories to scare the children.

Moria and Ashyn are two beautiful twin sisters, with golden-red hair and a Hound and Wildcat accompanying them by their side. But in their world, being twins comes with a strange power. Moria is the Keeper, and Ashyn is the seeker, and their job is to take care of the souls of the dead. But when they enter the Forest of the Dead, they see that new creatures are stirring around every corner. And when Shadow Stalkers attack their city, and the sisters get separated, they must find each other, and find refuge away from the dangerous and dark creatures roaming in the night.

I hate saying this, but the beginning of this book was really confusing, which kind of made it boring. But once it picked up, it was so worth bearing through the painful beginning. I instantly fell in love with all the main characters, they are all so different but super interesting. And while there was no action in the beginning, there was tons of it as the story picked up. I was amazed at the cool creatures the author managed to come up with, they seemed impossible but so cool at the same time. And the relationships that were made were honestly just perfect.

As much as I hate cliff-hanger endings, I have to say this one was pretty good. I did not see it coming at all, the author definitely impressed me here!

I definitely recommend this, especially to all the fantasy and animal lovers. I guarantee you will love this book once you get past the beginning.

Happy Reading,
Aneta
Profile Image for Pang.
407 reviews365 followers
Want to read
June 22, 2013
It has the Cover!!!! Yay!!!!!! *happy dance* xD xD xD

OMG! OMG! New series!!!! Gimme O:

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Can't wait!!!! Yay! Yay! :D

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Profile Image for Amber J.
850 reviews52 followers
April 3, 2021
This one started out pretty slow for me. It just took awhile to get into, but it did get better. Near the end I was actually really interested in what happened next. There is a lot of great chemistry between the characters and the book left off on a cliffhanger so now I'm dying to know what happens next.
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews544 followers
January 4, 2014
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: It’s easy to immerse yourself in this action-packed, exciting novel.

Opening Sentence: After three days of tramping across endless lava fields, Ronan quickened his steps at the sight of the forest.

The Review:

Sea of Shadows tells the story of Moria and Ashyn, twins, trained since they were young to be seeker and keeper of Edgewood. In this tiny village, the keeper and seeker keep the angry spirits at bay and keep a connection to their ancestors. But this year, during the annual trip into the Forest of the Dead, the spirits rebel — ancient monsters awaken and people are slaughtered. It’s up to Moria and Ashyn to discover why and how to save the sole survivors of Edgewood!

Moria and Ashyn are very different, beside physical appearance. Moria is fierce and impatient, with a quick tongue and talent in weaponry. Ashyn is quieter and more proper, regarded as the weaker of the sisters. I enjoyed the conflicting personalities, and it’s obvious that although they are far from the same they share a deep bond. Their spiritual animals, a Hound of the Immortals and a Wildcat, made me like the characters even more. Through the journey they both change a little, in subtle ways — Moria learns a little patience and Ashyn lets her more fiery side show once or twice.

Now let’s talk about the love interests. I can appreciate the relationship between Moria and Gavril, but I didn’t like it very much. Gavril doesn’t show enough expression towards Moria: the only way I realized they were supposed to be falling in love was through Ashyn’s point of view. On the other hand, Ashyn’s love interest Ranon was more fun. He added humor to an otherwise very tensely toned novel, loosening the suspense a bit.

With the two sister’s points of views so different, it was hard to get confused, but a few times I did. Sometimes it was just that Moria had narrated four chapters before this one and I expected Moria’s story, and same with Ashyn. Other than that, though, I didn’t get mixed up, and all was well in my reading. (Just be careful if you read it to not get too comfortable in one character — as soon as something exciting happens to one it will often flash to the other!)

I enjoyed how the setting was always changing. The adventure spanned over quite a distance, so you aren’t hearing about the dreary Waste’s barren sand too long.

To sum it up, Sea of Shadows was ripe with betrayals, cliffhangers, and action, although the romance was lacking a little. There were two or three kisses the whole novel, so if you’re a huge fan of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer you might want to avoid this title. Otherwise, you will really love it. You’ll want to pre-order it on your eReader or pick it up at Barnes and Noble. I’d recommend the latter, the cover is awesome. Definitely something you want to display on a bookshelf, that’s for sure! Happy reading!

Notable Scene:

It looks like… It cannot be…

She lifted her gaze slowly, almost not daring to look back at the door, certain that she would not see what she-

Moria walked through.

There were others with her. Ashyn didn’t see them. Her mind stopped there: Moria walked through.

She saw her sisters face, sweat-stained and hard, her blue eyes blazing fury. Moria spotted her and her rage evaporated a flicker of shock. Then she raced across the stone floor.

FTC Advisory: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Sea of Shadows. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Farlene.
97 reviews8 followers
October 7, 2015
Synopsis
Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of the village of Edgewood. Their duty is to protect their village from undead spirits and send the astray to rest. Ashyn, for the first time is entering alone into the forest, searching for bodies of the damned, when everything goes wrong. The hunting party she is accompanied with, is being picked off one by one, disappearing or being killed off by unexplained dark shadows.
And while trying to investigate the matter she is confronted by Ronan, an exile, who eventually helps her out of the forest and to the village.
But on the first night after the attack, the village is destroyed and its people massacred. Moria and Ashyn are separated and Ronan decides to help Ashyn and they begin a journey through the wastes to Fairview city. Gavril Kitsune (a village guard) accompanies Moria. These two pairs encounter and fight creatures and beasts only heard about in legends that haunt your dreams.

Review (No Spoilers)
The setting was visually translatable. It was not difficult at all to picture the world building and legendary creatures. With a touch of horror and lots of suspense, you are on the edge to know what happens next!
I knocked off a couple stars because even though it was a great plot and the writing was good, there was still that little extra missing. Sometimes I felt like chunks were left out where I wanted more and chunks were put in where it was not necessary. And there was a space in the middle where it got quite slow and I was just waiting and waiting for something to happen.


The Characters

Moria

I loved Moria's bravado and spunk. She's feisty and doesn't take smack from anyone. She's also a decent fighter and would take a dagger over a sword in a heartbeat.

Ashyn

I preferred this sister. She was also brave but she was gentle and the peacemaker of the two. But don't cross her cause she'll cut you.

Ronan

I really loved this character from the start. He has a sharp tongue and doesn't sugar coat anything. He is a lethal fighter and I loved the chemistry between him and Ashyn.

Gavril

I don't really have much to say about Gavril other than he's very introverted and stubborn. I didn't care for his character much until I neared the end. He was very protective and loyal toward Moria though and that was admirable.

This is the first book i have read from Armstrong and it wont be the last.
I feel those who enjoy fantasy, particularly Shadow and Bone or The Winner's Curse, should definitely, at least, give this one a try.
It's not as great as those two but it gives the same aura, especially with the setting.
I'm excited for book 2!

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Profile Image for Angela.
312 reviews55 followers
January 9, 2015

Poor plotting & character development make for lackluster read

Kelley Armstrong is a household name among those who love urban fantasy, both young adult and adult, and I was excited about the opportunity to read and review the first book in her newest YA series, Age of Legends. While Sea of Shadows provided the same easy writing style that Armstrong's other books have, it had very little of the worldbuilding, character development, and plotting that her best works contain. Because of this, it was a disappointment.

SEA OF SHADOWS is the author's first foray in YA high fantasy, and I think it suffered because of this. Though the story didn't shy away from grisly depictions of violence or high-stakes encounters, I still felt bored and unmoved by the first 40% of the novel. The worldbuilding didn't make sense, and the threats that were present seemed to exist simply for scare or awe factor. As the two protagonists, twin sisters Moira and Ashyn, moved out into their own personal journeys, the pace of the narrative picked up, but the character development did not. Each girl fell into her own clichéd role of being either the strong and brusque one or the emotional, sensitive one. When the romances enter, the chosen love interest for each girl was too obvious and too quickly developed for me to feel any real connection or swoon between the characters. The story's arc also followed Armstrong's typical plot of characters attempting to outrun a threat, being captured or nearly so, escaping, and then repeating the process. Based on the ending of this book, I predict that the plot of the sequel will be much of the same. And that's what I found most disappointing about this novel: the story, despite its high fantasy trappings of magical, terrifying things, felt simply like another iteration of the stories the author has written before.

In future books in the series, I hope Armstrong takes the time to mix up her usual plot line and infuse it with some of the emotional heart that first impressed me in her Darkest Powers series.
Profile Image for Beth.
3,124 reviews261 followers
March 10, 2014
Sea of Shadows had an intriguing premise and potential to be a fascinating series.

Two sisters, each with their own powers are sent into a wasteland filled with evil and monsters of long ago. The sisters, Moria and Ashyn, are separated and must face their own set of perils until they reunite and discover the treachery behind the devastation of their town. Each sister has a companion, that helps them along the way. As their journey progresses, they learn more about life and themselves. When they think they finally reached their goal a most unbearable betrayal will rip apart all that they've come to know.

I have found many hours of great paranormal reading created by Kelley Armstrong. She has an incredible imagination and creates fabulous worlds for us to explore. I really enjoyed the self discovery of both Moria and Ashyn. I found Sea Of Shadows action packed and quite suspense filled adventure but there was times that the story's flow seemed to stall. I see huge possibilities for this story line and will absolutely check out the next book in this series.

I received this ARC copy of Sea of Shadows from HarperCollins in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication April 8, 2014.

Written by: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Age of Legends
Sequence in Series: Book 1
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
ISBN-10: 0062071246
ISBN-13: 978-0062071248
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: Paranormal | Horror | Fantasy
Find this book on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews292 followers
April 13, 2014

It is somewhat hard to describe the plot of this novel because in my opinion there did not seem to be much of one until the last ten percent of the novel. This book was a disappointing read, I actually like this author but Sea of Shadows just doesn't hit the mark.

I did like the some of the characters in the novel and the dialogue was okay but the story moved so slowly. It felt like nothing was happening. I do feel like this series has potential, but in the extremely competitive young adult genre it is very risky to expect readers to wait for another novel before the story even starts.

Overall, while this story has promise, the plot was too thin and the pace too slow. I would not recommend this novel unless you are very patient. 2.5/5

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,464 reviews379 followers
October 24, 2022
I am glad that I gave this book another chance a couple of years later. I was slammed in life when I first read it, and couldn't get as immersed as I wanted to at the time. I enjoyed the story a LOT more this time around.

Twins Moria and Ashyn were more enjoyable as characters and I loved their guardians. Gavriel and Ronan made more sense to the plot and I was able to pick up on more nuances.

I now feel ready to continue on in this series, where I didn't when I read it a few years ago.

I look forward to what the future holds for these girls.

4 Stars.
Profile Image for Katy.
1,293 reviews283 followers
May 5, 2014
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.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews362 followers
March 7, 2014
I really need to stop picking up high fantasy books because as much as I always want to love them, I very rarely ever do and I so wish I could say I loved this.

I enjoyed the writing and the characters but again as so often happens with me and high fantasy, I just had a really hard time connecting to the world or characters.

I always want to love them and be a part of their world, I just never can be.

This really isn't the fault of the writer because I like Armstrong's work, I have read a few of her books and really enjoyed them, which is why I choose to give this one a try, it is simply just me. Something in my brain just doesn't..compute? Relate? Like?

Having said all of that, I don't want to discourage anyone from giving this one a go because like I mentioned above, the writing is well done and there was critical world building involved, this just wasn't the read for me sadly. But I do think and truly believe that those that really like this fantasy will like this.

The world was imaginative and different and unlike anything else I have read in the genre. There were twists and turns in the story I wasn't expecting and some character growth along the way with the sisters (which I really enjoyed the whole concept and idea of the Keeper and Seeker by the way), and that is always crucial to me. I am always all about the growth.

So yeah, this maybe wasn't the read for me but still something I could totally appreciate.
Profile Image for Nicole's Book Diaries.
106 reviews42 followers
July 16, 2016
Rating: 1.5 stars

This started out strong for me then went on a downward spiral.

I loved the world building in the beginning. I love the setting of a dangerous and mysterious forest with vengeful spirits. I loved the idea of Keepers and Seekers. There's also the added bonus of them being twins which sold the whole Keeper and Seeker roles to me even more. I also enjoyed the added creepy and eerie factor of the setting

Then all of that was thrown out the window...

I'm sorry but I couldn't stand the girls! Ashyn was always wallowing in a black hole of self pity and Moria was too headstrong! I usually love headstrong protagonists but not ones that rush into danger without a second thought. Moria kept getting into trouble because she couldn't stop to think for one second about where things may end up and she COULD NOT for the life of me, SHUT UP!

So the girls had to find each other in the story. I honestly couldn't appreciate the story that much because I was too frustrated reading about the twin protagonists. Then all of the sudden, near the end of the book, a war plot and conspiracy was thrown into the mix.

I'm sorry but this just wasn't for me. I did give it credit for the world building and the fact that it actually gave me chills reading it.
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