Title: Sea of Shadow [Age of Legends #1]
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy
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.
This book was very much the beginning of something. I really enjoyed the idea of the story, the action, and characters, however, it was just that, the beginning.
The plot went fairly slow, beginning with an introduction to the twins and the overall idea of the exiled, then moving into a fair bit of action, and then just as the world was getting interesting, everything just seemed to stop. For most of the book, we lay in wait as the twins travel across the wasteland with their designated love interest – separately – and then have a moment of action here and there, and then again nothing. I’ve only read Armstrong’s Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies, and so reading this book, I felt like all the romance was rushed and very predictable. Much of the time was spent focusing on these relationships too, which irked me, as I’ve found her past YA novels to be much more puzzle based, figuring out what was going on, romantic distractions left for later on in the book. I’m hoping that the second book will have more of that feeling.
That bit aside, I loved the concept presented in this novel. The whole Keeper and Seeker idea, where these twins are so connected. It’s great seeing a novel semi-based around a sibling bond. In addition, I liked the whole idea of legends coming to life. The moments when those creatures made their appearance were truly captivating. I’m trying really hard not to spoil anything, so this is sounding extremely vague, but trust me, the concept and creatures really make the novel interesting.
While they were fairly contained, there were in fact a number of action packed parts to the novel. They were intense and gripping and left me wanting more. They really helped build the relationship between the love interests, and while I wish there was a little bit less of the whole hearts beating fast idea, the attacks and surprises kept me guessing throughout the novel, wondering what exactly waited for both of them around each bend.
I also liked that we got to see two very different personalities come to life. We have Ashyn, ever cautious and unsure, and Moria, hot-tempered and kickass. It always amazes me how Armstrong can create such unique characters, allowing them to have their own voice, but also letting them come out of their normal mindset in times of distress or worry. I like knowing that the strong character isn’t always totally collected, and that the quieter character has the potential to be something greater, someone stronger.
Gotta say though, I enjoyed reading Moria’s parts more than Ashyn’s.
All in all, this novel was interesting, due to the concept, the characters, and the moments of action. However, the romance, or the slow construction of it, kind of turned me off of the story, though, come the next book, I’ll probably be wishing for more of it. On another note, it was nice that Armstrong stepped away from the whole Darkest Powers/Darkness Rising concept. While I loved them, it’s great knowing that she still has more than just one world to write about. I’m definitely excited to see what Armstrong has in store for us in the next novel, as much of it was set up in this book, I’m waiting for the big bang. I’m just hoping that she can deliver.
World Building: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.61/5
eARC obtained via DoubleDay Canada via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.