Sea of Shadows
by Kelley Armstrong
Published on April 8th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Goodreads
Also by this author: Empire of Night, Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends, #3)
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.
I LOVE Kelley Armstrong. I’ve read both of her YA series – The Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising – they are paranormal gems to me and of course I was dying to read Sea of Shadows. I can confidently say that I also loved it (I mean, it seems like Armstrong can do no wrong!)
Sea of Shadows is different than her other series because instead of paranormal/contemporary, this new series is fantasy. I adore fantasy, so this is right up my alley. Scary shadow stalkers (zombies)? Check. Death works (Tremmors anyone)? Check. Thunder hawks? Check. Plus amazing animals, mercenaries, slaves, magic, and more!
Moria and Ashyn are identical twins and very different in character. They are our protagonists and the story is told in the first person POV, with a group of chapter to narrate their adventures. Moria is the Keeper, she has trained as a warrior to protect her sister and the Forest of the Dead. She is quick to react and quick to anger too. In contrast, Ashyn is the Seeker, she is supposed to help the spirits reach peace. She is methodical, caring, sweet, very smart and a great strategist, and she has the same steel inside her that Moria has.
Ronan has been punished to the Forest of the Death with his uncle and his father. He was helped to survive by Moria (under instructions of the spirits) and later found by Ashyn during the Seeking. Ronan is very resourceful, savvy of the world, smart and loyal to his family and, for some reason, to the twins. He is Ashyn’s champion and I do hope something serious develops between them.
Gavril Kitsune is a young warrior that has be punished to be stationed at Edgewood because his father was accused of sorcery and running from a battle. He is the perfect match for Moria because he is as stubborn as a mule, loyal, and does what needs to be done. Even though he pretends to be aloof, I think he really cares for Moria. I
I adore animal companions in stories and Sea of Shadows has two. Daigo is a wildcat that belongs to Moria and Ashyn has Tova, a Hound of the Immortals (a big dog). These animals have a special connection to their charges and they protect each other fiercely.
The world building is really good, I was easily able to understand everything that was going on. What was that at the end? A plot twist that I did not see coming at all. Oh, and of course the ending was a sort of cliff hanger. Have a mentioned that I’m not too fond of cliffhangers? The pace was a bit slow at the beginning, but by the middle of the book and was truly hooked. The plot is unique, interesting, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going. The writing is, well, awesome since is Armstrong’s.
I did find very interesting the different castes and the way society and politics work. Unjust, superstitious, and discriminatory, but interesting nonetheless. It seems wrong that children are bound and punished by the mistakes of the generations that came before them.
Sea of Shadows is a perfect first book in a wonderful new fantasy series by author extraordinaire Kelly Armstrong. I can’t wait for Empire of the Night, the second book in the series; it has an expected publication date of April 1st of next year. (*let the waiting start*)
About the cover: I really love the cover. The dark forest in the background and dragon? thunder hawk? in read in the middle make a nice contrast.