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Dark Shores #2

Dark Skies

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Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

464 pages, Hardcover

First published May 5, 2020

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About the author

Danielle L. Jensen

23 books8,493 followers
Join Danielle's mailing list for exclusive content, giveaways, and new release alerts https://danielleljensen.com/newslette...

Danielle L. Jensen is the USA Today bestselling author of the Malediction series, the Dark Shores series, and the Bridge Kingdom series, as well as the forthcoming A Fate Inked in Blood. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family and guinea pigs.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 685 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,781 followers
May 10, 2023
I had an absolute blast reading Dark Shores, the first book in this series, last year and consider it to be a highly-underrated YA Fantasy.

Going into this installment, I was completely prepared to enjoy it, but Dark Skies took this series to a whole new level.

One very interesting point of note on the format, which I was unaware of going in, is that this book's storyline runs parallel to the storyline of Dark Shores.

I expected this to be a linear continuation of the series, picking up directly after the events of the first book.

However, that is not the case. This book follows two completely different perspectives during the same time period as the first book.

It was so interesting to see the story unfold this way. Lydia, one of the protagonists in this book, is a side character in Dark Shores.

Lydia lives within the Celandor Empire and she was actually the impetus for a great many of the events in Dark Shores, but as the reader, you don't know the whole story.

Dark Skies fills it in. Not only does this book fill in some missing pieces, it continues to grow the world at an impressive rate.

Lydia meets Killian when she is forced to flee her home due to a botched assassination plot. She ends up in the West, on the far side of the Endless Sea.

Killian is a solider, marked by the God of War for great things. He is sworn to protect the Princess of Mudamore, a principality on the brink of war.

There are too many incredible elements of this story, but some of my favorites include: Lydia's character arc, the brutal world seemingly inspired by ancient Rome, the political intrigue, the dangerous, dragon-like creatures terrorizing the city by night, the blight infecting the citizens and yes, the extremely slow-burn romance.

This book is close to 500-pages and there is always something going on. These characters have to constantly be on guard and it certainly made me tense.

I had no idea where this was going to go. There is so much left to this story and I was shocked and delighted to learn, this is slated to be a 4-book series!

If you have not picked this series up yet, I highly recommend giving it a shot.

Personally, I did enjoy this more than Dark Shores and that's saying a lot. I think the main reason is because of Lydia and Killian. Not their relationship, well yes, that helps, but just because I loved each of them both as characters.

Lydia is the legit best. A bookworm who gets in over her head and who transforms into a certifiable badass. Talk about coming out of your shell!

I cannot wait for the next book in the series, which if I understand correctly, will follow the events of the first two books and will have all four main character perspectives: Teriana and Marcus, from Dark Shores, and Lydia and Killian, from Dark Skies.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I am really looking forward to continuing with this series!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
November 28, 2020
holy smokes. its very rare for me to enjoy a sequel more than the first book, but this blew ‘dark shores’ out of the water, out of the sky, out of the universe.

and i think, in this case, it could be because the events of this book run parallel to the events in the first book; so rather than a continuation of the story, its an extension. the characters are also more likeable, the story is more action packed, and the vibe of the story feels like there is more at stake. it radiates that nail-biting feeling you want to get with an fantasy adventure story.

im super excited for the next installment as all the characters from both ‘dark shores’ and ‘dark skies’ will finally cross paths and the story will truly progress.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Danielle Jensen.
Author 23 books8,491 followers
January 10, 2020
Read chapter 1! https://danielleljensen.com/dark-skie...

Two best friends separated by an ocean of lies, betrayal, and political machinations. One girl's path has been revealed, but now it's time to travel with the other. For there is more than one way to cross the world of Reath...

This is an excerpt from my newsletter in which I discuss DARK SKIES and why it's not exactly a sequel...

SURPRISE! I'm sure quite a few of you are reading this email and wondering what is going on and why this novel isn't about Marcus and Teriana. Put your fears to rest, because I haven't abandoned them – you'll be seeing their points of view once again in the third book. And you'll definitely be seeing them in DARK SKIES, albeit from a somewhat different vantage point.

I've talked about how this series is the biggest in scope of anything I've written, and I think now you'll all be starting to understand what I mean by that. The setting isn't just a few kingdoms, but an entire world. It crosses a dozen nations, it contains diverse cultures and races and religions, it faces evils that are both human and decidedly inhuman. But at the heart of it has always been the friendship between two girls, and I hope you're all excited to explore the other half of that friendship.

Now here's the REALLY fun part, and what makes what Tor Teen and I are doing with this series different from other YA fantasy series. You can start reading the series with DARK SHORES *OR* you can start reading with DARK SKIES! They are both starting points to the series that will converge in the third book!

DARK SKIES hits shelves May 5, 2020, and I can't wait for my readers to meet Lydia and Killian!!
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
369 reviews976 followers
May 31, 2022
I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Buddy read with Zoe!!!

I will admit…if you plan to jump into this, expecting a Dark Shores kind of vibe, you’ve picked up the wrong book, haha. Yes, you can begin this series with either book, but they’re both extremely different, in my opinion. This is longer, slower, and more political. In fact, it took me about 20 chapters to get into this book. 20 CHAPTERS! That’s almost unheard of for me, when it comes to a Danielle L Jensen book. But once I read past that point, I could. not. put. it. down!!!

While Dark Shores was a fast-paced, action-packed adventure with gods battling in the sea and island tribe skirmishes, Dark Skies is very different, in comparison. Rather, Dark Skies is very reminiscent of classic YA political fantasies, such as: Poison Study, The Kiss of Deception, The Winner's Curse, The Queen's Rising and Ash Princess.

“The pillow descended again with a violent force.
‘You,’ Malahi said, once she was through beating him, ‘are the handsome, god-marked warrior with at least a dozen songs written about him. All my ladies swoon when you walk into the room. You’re the one the imagine riding in on a white horse—’
‘My horse is black,’ he interrupted, which she rewarded with another smack of the pillow.
‘On a BLACK horse to save them when they are in distress.’
‘Why can’t anyone ride in to save me when I’M in distress?’”

For the life of me, I can’t understand how so many people switched from #TeamMarcus to #TeamKillian??? Certainly, he had some cute moments and funny one-liners here and there, but…he was so much less compelling than Marcus!!! The first turn off for me, I will admit, is how disparaging he was towards books. Aka MY LIFE. Everyone loses my interest if they hate reading; I’m sorry. (No, I’m not. :P) When he said, “you lost me at ‘favourite linguistic texts’” to Lydia, I was like BOY, BYEEEEE xD My strategical prodigy, Marcus, would NEVER! But, I guess, being god-marked by Tremon, the god of war, means that as long as Killian is brawny, he doesn’t have much to worry about. Aside from losing my interest, that is, lols.

Also, Marcus would move heaven and earth to protect Teriana, but Killian just went along with whatever the princess said, leaving Lydia constantly caught and endangered in the crossfire??? Big yikes. :/ Plus, Marus and Teriana communicated with each other and discussed problems LIKE ADULTS, which is ironic because Lydia is much more mature than Teriana. So, I don’t know if you could tell, but I’m still firmly #TeamMarcus. ;)

Now, I will say that I much prefer Lydia as a lead female protagonist. Teriana had a tendency to be abrasive and rude; whereas Lydia, for the most part, was really sweet and loyal, even when she was scared out of her wits! Also, I loved how relatable she was with her head constantly buried in a book and reorganising other people’s libraries, hehe. I, too, would’ve tried to learn how to swordfight by reading about it, because reading is how I learn most things! :D

In this book, Lydia is forced to flee her comfy life in Celendrial after a foiled assassination attempt, and ends up in the foreign kingdom of Mudamora, a place she hadn’t even heard of until now. There, she has to fight to survive in order to make it home to save her father, Teriana, the Maarin people, and the Cel Empire itself from the man who ordered her assassination. I loved watching her evolve from a demure bibliophile into the determined fighter she had buried deep inside her this entire time, as well as learning her true origins.

As always, my love for the Dark Shores series has not wavered. Romance. Politics. Battles. Adventure. Ancient Rome. Fantasy. Mythology. Magic. It’s everything that I love! Now, that Gilded Serpent’s release date is fast approaching, I can’t wait to see what happens next in the story as Marcus, Teriana, Killian and Lydia’s arcs finally converge as the timelines come together.
Profile Image for Lucie V..
971 reviews1,778 followers
August 17, 2022
“Time itself doesn’t change people, Highness. What happens to them while it passes does.”

✅ Main character
✅ Character development
✅ Action and plot twists
✅ Politics
🆗 Romance / Love interest

4.5 stars

This book is very different from Dark Shores, it is less a traveling and conquering adventure, and more of a classic YA political fantasy. The beginning is slow, it took me almost 150 pages to really get into this book, but once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. The last third of this book is incredible: packed with non-stop action and plot twists. I couldn’t figure out who was playing who in the political game until the end.

Lydia ends up in the kingdom of Mudamora after escaping from Cassius and Marcus. Once she realizes where she is, she tries to find a way back to Celendrial to save Teriana and the Maarins, while trying to survive in a city where dark creatures roam at night. I prefer Lydia as a leading character, she is sweet and loyal, and I like how she is always caught in a book. The evolution of her character is definitely one of my favorite things in this book, she evolves from a reserved scholar to a brave and strong fighter. She is determined to help as much as she can, even if it means risking her life or making difficult choices.

I was very sad when I realized that this book was not about Marcus and Teriana. I adore Lydia, and I did end up liking Killian, but he is a less compelling character than Marcus, I feel that most of the time he just went along with everything the princess decided and left Lydia to be caught and endangered (even though he obviously had feelings for her). I did not feel as invested in their relationship as I did with Marcus and Teriana’s.

“In another life, I’d get down on my knees and beg you to come back. Might beg you not to go in the first place.”

I had mixed feelings about Malahi for the most part of the book. She seems to really care about the welfare of her people, but at the same time, she is plotting for her own gain. I was impressed that she was willing to strip naked in the middle of the street to give her people everything that she has, but I realized later in the book that it probably was a political move and nothing more. She lied to everyone and was willing to sacrifice countless lives to gain power and status. Also, she was a total bitch to Lydia near the end so I officially don’t like her now. Stupid scheming brat.

Even though the beginning was slow and the romance part in this book was not that good, I really enjoyed reading this book. There is action, battles, politics, and magic, all the things that I love! The good news is that I received a copy of Gilded Serpents so I can start it right away! I can’t wait to read the last book of this series to see how they hopefully will all end up together (finally!).

Tarnished Empire ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dark Shores ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Profile Image for Melissasfandomworld.
580 reviews115 followers
January 16, 2021
REREAD January '20:
Yet again such a fantastic read!
Gods, how I love this world, these characters and this author's writing.
And Killian.... just...SIGH #TeamKillianForever. Sorry Danielle, lol.

It's going to take me a few days to try to come up with a review that'll do this magnificent book justice! Until then, I say:

PRE-ORDER THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW and let yourself be swept away by Danielle's fantastic writing. From what I've read so far, this is easily my favorite read of 2020!!!
Profile Image for Athena (OneReadingNurse).
691 reviews98 followers
May 6, 2020
Happy book birthday to Dark Skies (May 5th!)

Here finally is my full review:

Thank you so much to Tor Teen for the advanced copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own.

The two books, Dark Shores and Dark Skies, occur at the same time in the fictional world and can be read in either order. I enjoyed publication order. It made sense to learn what was "really" going on.

Here is a quick spoiler-free recap:  In Shores we read about Teriana and the Maarin traders, Marcus and the Cel legion, and the initial exploration and conquer of the Dark Shores.  Remember the puppet king of the Raiders and some larger threat that is revealed at the end? In Dark Skies, we follow Teriana's friend Lydia who we briefly met before.  We learn the truth of the betrayal, see Lydia take another route to Mudamora, and meet Killian who leads the King's forces.  This book starts in Cel but we learn a lot more about the Gods, the mystical forces, and the people of the Dark Shores.  The third book is going to be an amazing meeting of the two plot lines.

The pace is incredible. I read the first 300 pages kind of slowly but ended up taking the last half in a crazed four hour sitting where I don't think I breathed or blinked.  The intrigue, assassinations, BLIGHT ZOMBIES, reckless chases, magical evil army leaders, more scheming, and a race against a huge deadly clock just made it impossible to stop.

The magic of the world was hinted at in Shores, but in Skies we learn all about it.  The God-Marked people each have an ability like strength, healing, growing/restoring, water breathing, and it seems they were meant to create teams of people.  A great theme this is, and I appreciate the idea that healing is a drain on someones life force.  The triage they use is so interesting.  The seventh god's power is just terrifying and that will continue in book 3.

All I will say about the additional world building is that the desperation and fear are  real, the hurt is real, and the darkness is real.  The feelings of the people and the world seeping through the pages into the reader is what separates exquisite world building from the rest.

I 100% liked Lydia and Killian both a LOT more than Marcus and Teriana.  They have flawed but endlessly brave personalities, are good problem solvers, and are both loyal to no end.  I even liked princess Malahi for the most part, she had some admirable moments and the banter was hilarious between her and Killian and the female guards.  It's hard not to root for every single character in the book, including Killian's mother who is a rare gem.

The combination of great characters, more shippable romantic pairings, breakneck pace,  magic, and the intrigue of plots to end all plots make Dark Skies (and Dark Shores) a series that I absolutely 100% recommend to anyone with even the slightest interest in fantasy. Thank you so much again to Tor Teen for the advanced copy
Profile Image for Rae.
205 reviews144 followers
April 26, 2021
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Loved the change of focus to different characters in the same storyline! Can't wait for the next book where all four characters POV combine!

Full RTC!
Profile Image for Grüffeline.
1,074 reviews102 followers
October 4, 2021
"Time itself doesn't change people, Highness. What happens to them while it passes does."

I loved Dark Shores and Tarnished Empire. Agrippa, Marcus and Teriana were amazing and the world that Jensen built was as well.
Dark Skies practically starts off repeating the events of the previous books. From Lydia's perspective. That had me bored and annoyed. And on the other hand: confused with Killian's pov. That changed after a while and we entered parts of the story that we hadn't covered before and I started liking Lydia (who really goes through a lot of development here) and Killian and their story. The writing helped with vivid pictures in my mind (not all of them pretty, though...).
Shortly before the ending, all of that changed again. I was left confused and a bit angry. Everything was just happening too fast for me.
I have no idea what to exptect from the next book and to be honest I'm totally scared that we'll get yet another change in pov...
Profile Image for Stephenie.
181 reviews57 followers
March 13, 2021
Lydia is the best friend of Teriana, and if you read Dark Shores first, you briefly met her. Killian is a new character we meet, and the story is told from both of their perspectives.

I really wasn't sure if I would find Lydia interesting or if it would be enough to anchor this story, but I was wrong. Lydia's transformation and journey from the beginning to the end was amazing. I could not stop rooting for this girl. Seriously, Lydia is one tough cookie!

I am a fan of slow burn romances and dang did this one do a number on me. There is definitely something going on between Lydia and Killian. I loved the development between the two, and with everything going on in the background, Danielle makes it work. WARNIING: the ending nearly broke me.

The world building in Dark Skies has a medieval-esque world, dark, foreboding with gods and mythical creatures. It was easy to immerse myself within the walls of Mudaire to the sewer tunnels and the dark creatures that haunt the night skies. The war between Mudamora and the Corrupter's armies, gets pretty bloody and nasty.

Overall, I thought Dark Skies was amazing. It has action, drama, romance, intrigue and great characters. Yeah, I can't wait for book 3, Teriana, Marcus, Lydia and Killian... I need book 3 asap!

The author has stated that you can start with Dark Skies or Dark Shores, and I agree. Just read both before book 3.
Profile Image for Kim.
52 reviews3 followers
May 15, 2020
She cried for all that she'd gained. All that she'd lost. And all that would never be.

Wow I truly loved this book!
The story, the characters and the feel is great and I can't wait to read more about Lydia and Killian. Those two.. I just don't have the words for it.
Profile Image for Brittany.
857 reviews112 followers
October 10, 2021

3.5 ✨!!

Wasn't a huge fan of Dark Shores, although it was decent and rated it a 3/5 - I found its plot to be all over the place and somewhat confusing. I saw that Dark Skies was a little better so I had to give it a go.


I found I had the same issue with it. Even though it was a tad bit better- I still felt holes or something missing. The writing was good just a confusing story line for me. I kept waiting for some action and that didnt happen until about 75% in.

This is my personal opinion, obviously Im a minority because it seems to have captivated many. So please dont take my word for it maybe I just wasn't feeling it- even though I really really wanted to like it! Not sure if I will continue the series- a part of me wants to know what happened but I also dont know if I care that much. Time will tell.
Profile Image for Katherine.
263 reviews155 followers
June 6, 2021
Wow!! I absolutely loved this! I liked Dark Shores ( Book 1), so I decided to read the prequel: Tarnished Empire..and basically the 37th made me swoon. Its a must read! Deciding to continue on with this series is a decision you wont regret.

Dark Skies has it all. Slow burn romance, political scheming, rich world building and complex characters 😚💖 I loved it so, so much. Danielle Jensen is a master at storytelling! I already ordered Gilded Serpents, and am excited to see how the rest of the story plays out. Read this series it wont disappoint!

(5) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Profile Image for Shannon.
Author 2 books191 followers
May 10, 2020
Read my full review plus you can listen to a playlist inspired by Dark Skies curated by yours truly here!

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I have so many thoughts about this book but one thing stood out among anything else: DARK SKIES IS AN AMAZING SEQUEL.

I stumbled upon enough book reviews to know that the second book is harder to write than the first one. We, readers, expect things to be better in the sequel. Sometimes, we set those expectations too high and we'd be disappointed. But in not-so-rare times, we'd be blown away by the twists and turns of the story in the sequel. I would definitely put Dark Skies in the second category with no hesitation. If you've read Dark Shores and still hesitating whether to continue this series or not, I urge you to keep reading!

Dark Skies served me jaw-dropping battles, awesome characters, unexpected plot twists, and SO. MUCH. BLOOD.

The story was told through two perspectives, Killian's and Lydia's. The first few chapters of Lydia's POV were actually a recap of what happened in Dark Shores. I struggled a little bit while trying to get through those chapters but after that, everything went smoothly. I love both of their POV though I prefer Killian's. The writings were beautiful and captivating. It complemented the massive world-building. I wish we'd explore more of the lands in Dark Shores in the next book!

I love how the East is completely different from the West and the fact that they didn't know each other's existence is what makes it all more fun. I couldn't stop reading until 4am! Reading this book was like seeing two different worlds facing different threats colliding into one powerful story. I enjoyed every minute I spent reading Dark Skies. Aside from the engaging plot, I love the characters! They have strong characterizations that make them felt real and alive.

Overall, Dark Skies was a fantastic sequel! From the first chapter, I could already tell that I'd love this book. The tension was already high from the very beginning and it was only getting better until the last page. If you're looking for a next great read with nerve-racking battles, monsters, intriguing characters, and endless political schemes, I recommend you to read this book.

Thank you for reading and liking my review! What are your thoughts on this book? I'd love to discuss it in the comments, so don't hesitate to write down your opinion! Follow my socials and get awesome book recommendations or we can just talk about books 24/7 😊

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Profile Image for Steven.
1,063 reviews382 followers
May 19, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Tor Teen, for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I read Dark Shores last year and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, so when I saw this one available, I knew I needed to request it. And I'll be waiting impatiently for book three after this story.

The beginning of both books tells basically the same story, Dark Shores telling Teriana's side of things and Dark Skies showing Lydia's. Then they both diverge into two separate concurrent tales. I'm assuming they'll meet back up in book three and become one big story. I hope so, because if we go back to Teriana and don't get more of Lydia's story, I'll be devastated, because while I really like Teriana, I adore Lydia.

The magic system and political machinations of this world are really cool, and the stories are fantastic.

Definitely highly recommend reading these two books as soon as you're able, because they're worth the read!
Profile Image for Anja H..
732 reviews449 followers
July 4, 2022

“Time itself doesn’t change people, Highness. What happens to them while it passes does.”

Why the fuck are these books not more widely known or more popular? I swear, this series just keeps getting better! I swear I nearly went into cardiac arrest a couple of times as this was pretty much non-stop action after the 25% point.

This book is set at the same time as the first book, but follows a different leading duo: Lydia and Killian. Twas was way more policital and strategy-based than the first book but I enjoyed it just as much. And just when I thought nobody could top Teriana as leading lady, enter Lydia. I adore her. She is strong, she is fierce, she is loyal, she is selfless.

I like Killian too, but I also had some problems with his unwavering loyalty to his duty. For gods's sake, I wish he'd choose Lydia sometimes because his loyalty always seemed to get both of them in trouble.

I can't wait for our four main characters paths to surely cross in the last two books. I adore this beautiful and detailed word with its gods and marks and monsters and everything in between!
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,290 reviews215 followers
April 14, 2020
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dark Skies, wow - just wow. At first, I was hesitant because it was a little slow to start off with. Then I got a little confused because I was re-reading something that happened in the previous book. Yet, it started to make sense. We were going back because we had to see everything from Lydia's POV. Which, if I'm being honest.. was pretty boring throughout the book. Eventually she got better but I really enjoyed Killian's POV a lot more.

Oh, did I forget to mention that you meet Lydia and Killian in this one? Oops! Well, you do and they were interesting. Of course, I couldn't help shipping them myself but I wont spoil anything about them (I swear!).

Honestly, a lot of betrayal goes on this one which didn't really surprise me. Then there's this mysterious aspect because people are turning into the corrupted and some weird ass black sludge going around. Plus the hint of war - sounds like an average Tuesday.

Long story short, I definitely need the next book ASAP. I can't accept that kind of ending people! I have so many questions that need answers and I need to see certain people again.
Profile Image for Ashley.
800 reviews440 followers
February 6, 2021
Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars

AHHHHH SO GOOD! The ending totally gutted me, though. Ugh. Can't wait to read book 3!
Profile Image for Ava.
226 reviews234 followers
April 30, 2020
That was insanely amazing.
I think it's really cool that you could technically read DARK SKIES *or* DARK SHORES first, because they're happening along the same timeline; either way, I think readers will be thrilled with whichever they pick, because the Lydia/Killian story is JUST AS AWESOME as the Marcus/Teriana story. I love the world Jensen has created; it's fully fleshed out, I fall for just about every character who walks on the page, and the books are so tightly plotted that there is not a single moment where I find myself wanting to skim. I'd recommend these books to anyone who loved RED RISING - the politics Jensen crafts are just as entertaining as the battle scenes, and I dare you to not root for the two POV characters the minute they walk onto the page. As an extra bonus, the writing is absolutely stunning.
Having read DARK SHORES first, I do agree with the people who say it starts off a little slow, because we know about what happens in the beginning thanks to that book, but I actually really appreciated it because it allowed for a full fleshing-out of Lydia's character - which I, personally, really needed after how she's depicted in DARK SHORES. I found her to be very bookish (and kind of dorky if I'm being honest) and while there are definitely "fish out of water" moments for her throughout this book, she never becomes whiny; she's determined, ambitious in a selfless sense, and willing to do whatever it takes to help others. Her character was really appealing, and I'm so curious to see where the rest of her story goes. The same goes for Killian; I love this sassy war commander so much. Seeing his relationship with Lydia develop was agonizing (two words: slow. burn.) but I was also really entertained by the dynamic between Killian and his brother, as well as between him and Malahi. The courtly setting of this book was an interesting change of pace to the adventure-y plot of DARK SHORES, but Jensen's writing is still punchy and entertaining as hell to read. The twists were brilliantly plotted, and the scheming between all of the royals kept me turning pages like crazy.
My only issue with this is that I don't have the sequel in my hands right now!
Profile Image for Lyn.
401 reviews51 followers
May 16, 2020

Dark Skies is Lydia’s story. We learn what happened to her after her ordeal in the first book and we also learn more about the world and politics concerning the countries of the Dark Shores. I have to say, both books have amazing covers. Even without reading the synopsis, you will be tempted to grab the book just for the remarkable covers.

The plot-line was intriguing, knotted with curve balls that you would not see coming. Surprising secrets embedded deep were revealed at the optimum time, adding value to the story. I found the plot-line well-crafted and with enough complications to keep you reading.

The main characters in Dark Skies were Lydia and Killian and the story was shared between their viewpoints. I loved Killian. He wasn’t perfect, he had his flaws, but he accepted them and he tried his best to do the right thing. He was honorable. The author wrote his character so well, I totally fell for him.

I had high hopes for Lydia, especially with how much she loved books but sadly, I found myself disliking her. I found her annoying and weak. Her stupidity and her reasoning frustrated me. There were a lot of things I didn’t like about her and it would be hard to disclose them all without giving away spoilers. Suffice to say, she did not deserve Killian.

From what I observed with both books, Dark Shores, and Dark Skies, I find that the author did a great job with the key male characters but a poor job with the female MCs. I would have loved the books better if the female MCs had been worthy of the male MCs.

Profile Image for VICTORIA EDWARDS.
316 reviews98 followers
April 3, 2021
Dark Skies wasn't what I expected it to be, but with DLJ i've come to expect that.

So this book was a bit of a struggle for me in the beginning. A lot of people have told me how much BETTER this is in comparison to Dark Shores but i'm honestly inclined to disagree. This book felt way more familiar in that it reminded me of a lot of YA fantasy that i've read: a girl is separated from what she knows, is pulled into a new scary world and learns that there's more beyond her sheltered life. In comparison, Dark Shores focuses on a female ship captain who's forced into a deal with a semi-foreign empire to sail across the seas in search of a new world. So for me the latter was much more refreshing.

That being said, I still loved this book.

Lydia was very selfless as Killian said in the book. I loved her loyalty to Teriana, her determination, and the growth that we get to see from her throughout the book.

I loved the world of Mudamora and the heavy contrasts we see between Mudamora and Celendor. It made the world seem that much more vivid and real.

Killian didn't stand out to me until his feelings for Lydia became apparent. Before that he was a mouthy solider who had made some mistakes. His personality was fine, but nothing about him made me swoon or have some sort of heart attack. (Agrippa might have something to do with that.)

With that said, I loved the timeline and how Danielle weaves the events of Dark Shores into the events of Dark Skies. This really did hype me up for the third book!

And if you've been considering reading this series? Absolutely do it. It will definitely be worth it.
Profile Image for Eileen (BookCatPin).
740 reviews192 followers
April 15, 2020
A billion stars!!!!

I loved Dark Shores a lot but oh my god did I fall head over heels for Dark Skies! The story made my heart pound, the characters gave me all the feels and the romance stole my breath away!

Lydia and Killian is officially my favourite OTP!!! She's timid yet resourceful and he's disgraced but resilient. They couldn't have been further apart but fate brought them together. I loved seeing their relationship develop. With the exception of a few bittersweet moments, their interactions were full of smoldering intensity. They're 1000% meant to be.

Politics is a major player in Dark Skies and it's really well-done. It drove the story and heaped on tons of tension between the characters. So much scheming by so many different people. It was hard to hate the schemers when their plans were so clever. The plot twists were anything but predictable. Every single one had me gasping and nodding in appreciation.

I'm hyper aware of a couple plot points that have been hinted at but brushed over. I have a pretty good idea where they're headed and I just know they'll be explosive once revealed. I especially am holding my breathe . I can't wait for certain people's reactions ;)

I can say a gazillion things about Dark Skies but none could adequately convey my love for it. I simply just need more. My mind, my body and my soul are ready for every single feels the next installment is sure to bring!
Profile Image for Morgan.
135 reviews145 followers
July 26, 2020
Actual rating: 6/5 stars

Dark Shores was a 5/5 star read for me and I loved Dark Skies even more soo sorry bout it Goodreads

It's very rare that I can find no issues within a book, but honestly… this was perfect. Guilty pleasure binge-worthy amazing. I’m calling it now: Dark Skies is in the top 5 for the best 2020 releases and 100% one of the most underrated books of the year. There wasn’t a single moment I didn’t enjoy while reading Dark Skies and I need y’all to stop sleeping on this series.

The plot was...wow, the whole book was so fast-paced but not a single moment felt like a filler. Every scene has a purpose and held a role in the story and I love the unique approach Danielle L. Jensen took to writing a series. Dark Shores was told from Teriana and Marcus’s point of view where Lydia held a major role as a side character. Dark Skies was told from Lydia and Killian’s (a new addition) point of view, overlapping on some events at the beginning of each book and then diverging on different adventures for the remainder. This is such a brilliant way to show multiple sides of the story without making the book some 1,000-page saga that is overwhelming just to pick up; you get two individual stories - equally, as action-packed and entertaining, I might add - that both create so much depth to the story. Absolutely brilliant, Mrs. Jensen.

But lots of books have great, meaningful plots so why, you might ask, did I rate a book so highly that I intentionally went out of Goodreads scale?

Excellent question, let me digress.

The first reason for such a high rating is the characters. Both Lydia and Killian were incredibly enjoyable to read. Lydia is a 6ft scholar who would rather bury herself in a book than interacting with her peers (honestly, me too) or the wives of other senate members who work alongside her father. I loved reading how deeply she cares about everyone she comes across - so much so that the Goddess of Healing, Hegeria, marked Lydia within hours of her arriving on the other side of the endless sea - but still was driven to return to Celendor and help defeat Lucius. As opposed to Teriana in Dark Shores, there was never a moment where I didn’t enjoy reading Lydia’s character.

“The wall is not the kingdom.” Killian coughed. “And one battle is not the war”

Marked by the God of War Tremon, everyone has high expectations for Killian so when he allows the wall protecting Mudamora to fall to the army of Derin, retreating his soldiers to safety, his betters believe that he should face severe consequences, but was ultimately saved by some of the High lords and ladies including the princess Malahi herself. Despite being marked by Tremon, Killian is the ultimate softie. Taking care of the starving children that live in the sewers at night to avoid the Deimos attacks and insanely protective of the all-women guard he created to help protect Malahi, and his unofficial adoptive younger brother, Finn. I feel like it is impossible to not fall in love with his character, who doesn’t love a sworn killer with a BIG heart?

Besides the two amazing main characters, the side cast was equally as great. Gwen, Lena, Bercola, and the rest of the all-women guard and Finn were all very enjoyable to read. I find it equally as important to have well-written side-characters as enjoyable main characters, and that’s something Jensen excels the most at. I love the story of how Bercola began working for Killian’s family (we love to see giants going to war because they find it fun), how Killian met Gwen for the first time, and I would die for the opportunity to some background stories of some of the side characters from both Dark Skies and Dark Shores.

I also loved… the romance. I can’t believe I’m saying that but I really enjoyed ‘few steps down from SJM-type-of-romance’ in a book… I don’t even know who I am anymore. It was the definition of a slow burn romance that just teases the reader and every possible moment. And the drama that went down right after Killian met Lydia for the first time… yeah, I really did love it.

“Gods-damn it, woman! You are causing me to question my commitment to chivalry!”

I found the writing eloquent, flowing, and incredibly complex. Jensen paints the world of Celendor and Mudamora beautifully. The political elements in the story were deeply interwoven; from Lucius and Vibius in Celendor poisoning Lydia’s father and rigging the election to princess Malahi willing to kill her own father to become queen, the political elements were heavy but not so much that the book read like a textbook, there was a perfect balance in the story. And with the so much complexity, Danielle Jensen keeps you guessing on every character’s motives, she even had me rooting for Malahi at the beginning who I’m positive is not dead and I think Hacken is 100% in on everything that is going on.

+ I loved the inclusion of the corrupt creatures that roam the night called Deimos, which was described to be a hybrid between a horse and a dragon that 100% reminded me of thestrals from the Harry Potter series.


If there is a God or Goddess of writing in the Dark Shores world, Danielle L. Jensen would be marked by them, without a shadow of a doubt. There wasn’t a single element I didn’t enjoy throughout the whole book and I cannot wait to see all four beautiful characters reunited in Gilded Serpent - and that moment when they reunite…. The drama, the angst... ugh it’s going to be amazing - I’m so excited.
Profile Image for Estíbaliz Montero Iniesta.
Author 35 books949 followers
June 15, 2020

No le doy un 5 redondo por un simple motivo. Al principio, creía que el libro seguiría a los mismos personajes de la primera parte (Dark Shores) pero no, sigue a dos personajes diferentes, Killian, personaje totalmente nuevo, y Lydia, a la que ya conocimos en el primer parte, donde era un personaje secundario. Los capítulos de Killian han sido novedosos e interesantes desde el principio, pero los primeros capítulos de Lydia (hasta la página 100 o así) son una repetición de los acontecimientos del comienzo de Dark Shores desde su perspectiva. Por lo tanto esta parte se me ha hecho repetitiva y algo lenta, porque ya sabía lo que pasaba, así que quizás habría sido mejor buscar otra estrategia narrativa. Este es el motivo de que le haya quitado ese 0'25 a la puntuación.

Por lo demás, el libro me ha maravillado. Me han encantado los nuevos protagonistas, sobre todo Killian, que es uno de esos personajes que te ganan enseguida, porque les gusta bromear y vacilar, pero en el fondo son de lo más noble, sincero y valiente que te puedas encontrar. Su espíritu de sacrificio me impresiona, aunque desearía que fuera capaz de ser egoísta y pensar solo en lo que él quiere de vez en cuando. Pero no, su sentido del honor se lo impide (suspiro resignado).

A Lydia me costó un pelín más pillarle el punto, pero también es muy buen personajes, y me he sentido bastante identificada con ella, porque siente que no acaba de encajar, porque cree que puede aprenderlo todo de los libros, porque no es físicamente fuerte pero está dispuesta a todo por las personas a las que quiere.

Y las escenas que tienen juntos.. madre mía. La suya es una relación que se desarrolla con calma, muy lenta y progresivamente, pero se nota la autenticidad. Me ha gustado mucho porque me parece muy natural como se desarrollan las cosas, pero debo reconocer que hacia al final también me he frustrado un poco porque por las circunstancias y sus personalidades no he podido ver todo lo que quería. Habrá que esperar a los siguientes libros, y espero que no me hagan sufrir tanto, aunque en realidad me veo venir que sí.

En cuanto a la trama, igual que el primer libro está plagada de intrigas políticas, personajes manipuladores que engañan a todo el mundo para conseguir el poder, secretos, traiciones... Otro de los motivos por los que me ha encantado ha sido que no me he visto venir ninguno de los giros, me ha sorprendido página tras página, por lo que estaba superinteresante y yo totalmente enganchada en todo momento. Es una lectura que merece muchísimo la pena.
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
It's not a 5 because I must admit the beginning felt slow, because Lydia's first chapters were just a repetition of the beginning of the first installment, Dark Shores, and thus they dragged the story a little bit. On the other hand, I found Killian's chapters gripping from the very beginning. Overall, I fell in love with both characters (although I didn't have any idea this book was not following the same characters as Dark Shores) and what kept me super hooked to the story was that I didn't predict a single plot twist that happened, so the book managed to surprise me page after page. It's an absolute must read, and I can't wait for the third one!
Profile Image for Lalla.
259 reviews43 followers
May 10, 2020
This was amazing, different from Dark shores but still amazing.

I miss Marcus and Tierana but loved Lydia and Killian all the same. Oh and the chemistry between these two, the restrained feels and pent-up lust... Gosh, I wanted so much for them to kiss properly!I was screaming inside --Still it was achingly beautiful. 

I'm a big fan of the slow burn - as it definitely feels more real to me than the insta-love (which makes me gag and annoys me in equal part... the only insta-thing I love is coffee) and this is really slow, it's different from Tierana & Marcus and although I would have loved more smut, I'm willing to wait because I understand why Lydia and Killian did what they did (or didn't) . They both have obligations and people depending on them, they're both selflessness enough to put that before their own wishes and feelings. 

Tierana & Marcus are a wildfire, Lydia & Killian are more a peat fire--it smolder slowly and spreads underground but burns all the same. Anyway, lesson on the type of fires aside... 

Everything in this book is heartbreakingly beautiful, including the action. There is so much a stake, so many implications--- Can't wait for Gilded Serpent (book 3)with all 4 PoVs! Woah I'm already super excited!! I need it now!! 

I have only one minor complaint: I would have loved a few more details / descriptions of locations, armors, dresses and outfits as to have a clearer picture in my mind (I'm a sucker for outfits in particular ). Even so, I still adored Dark Skies and its characters. (I feel in love with Killian straight form the first two lines lol) 

I'm giving this book 5 stars not because it's perfect but because of the depth of feelings it stirred in me. For two days I was immersed in its world and when I turned the last page I felt the sorrow of having to let it go even if for just a while. 
Profile Image for Kaitlyn Davis.
Author 45 books1,671 followers
May 24, 2020
Wow, I really loved this book! I wasn't sure what to expect because I haven't read the first book in the series yet, but you can definitely start with this one like I did (and then go back to book 1 like I will because you need to know what happens!).

The world building was top-notch! The seven gods and the marked (with their magic) were so easy for me to envision, as were the differences between the two continents on opposite sides of the world--one more roman in nature, and the other more medieval. I believe the first book takes place in the other continent, which makes me eager to read it and explore more about the world we only touch on in the beginning of the story.

I really enjoyed the characters as well. Lydia is strong-willed and soft-hearted. Killian is a brooding warrior trying to make up for past mistakes. And there's a whole host of supporting characters as well. The romance pulled me in, and the nonstop action kept me glued to the pages.

I definitely recommend for fans of YA fantasy! Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC copy :)
Profile Image for Lauren.
139 reviews3 followers
April 28, 2021
I wish there was just one kiss! But the story was very interesting! It’s nice to learn about the little holes in dark shore is about. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
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