Saturday, 13 December 2014

What Is Lurking

As some of you might know from reading pieces of Cursed: Demon's Daughter, I have a thing for stories about powerful sisters that, despite their different personalities, remain strong through the darkest storms. So it was no surprised that Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong caught my eye a few months back. It's been a while since I've read a fantasy story, and the first novel in the Age of Legends series offers a powerful start into an in depth world filled with monsters, history, and magic.

Love the sigil/mark on this cover!

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.

The synopsis up there pretty much sums up the entire book from start to finish. From there, Armstrong goes into describing this new world and the elements of it. I admit that it is a pretty in depth world and a lot of time has been spent on delving into the hierarchy and history of magic and monarchy. And while I love new monsters and tough sisters kicking their ass, I wanted to know more about the mythology behind the Keeper and the Seeker. This is an obviously huge element of the story, as the mere mention of it Moria, Ashyn and company out of harms way more often than not. So naturally I wanted to know more of the history behind their duties, and if they'll be able to use their gifts/influence later in the series. As it stood right now, it just seemed like they had a rank. Ashyn was the only one I distinctly remembered using her powers, and I still don't think I'm clear on what Moria can do. That being said, there's huge potential with their gifts, and I hope it's shown soon.

One aspect of the story I really liked was that it was told from two different perspectives– Moria and Ashyn's, of course. They were separated from most of the book and it was fun to see how each sister reacted to the danger of her situation. Moria and Ashyn are twins, but they couldn't be more different as far as personalities go. Ashyn is the sweet-hearted, polite dreamer, and Moria reminds me of Merida from Disney's Brave. Both girls are strongly written and three dimensional, and I love them both for different reasons– Ashyn for not knowing how strong she is, and Moria for being ready to challenge anything in her way.

The secondary characters, Ronan and Gavril, both have secrets I would love to know, and like the sisters, are likeable in different ways. Ronan has the mischievous thief thing going on, and Gavril's supposed "tough" exterior is a wall that I suspect will break very, very soon.

I don't need to vouch for how talented an author Armstrong is. She's got her own very impressive resume, and while this is the first time I've read one of her novels, I can see myself reading more in the future. I would recommend Sea of Shadows to fans of fantasy, adventure and YA, and those who believe that the spirits may not be the most dangerous things two young girls may face...


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