*I received a free copy from the publishers via Edelweiss.
Sea of Shadows follows the lives of twin sisters, Moria and Ashyn, who are the Keeper and the Seeker of the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s most terrible criminals are exiled to. Every year, the Seeker and Keeper are tasked with calming the infuriated spirits of the forest. Yet, this year, something darker lurks in the forest, creatures of myth and the spirits won’t be calmed. Violence is unleashed and the two sisters are separated, accompanied by a thief and a irritable guard. The two sisters race against the clock to deliver a message to the emperor and attempt to save the empire from the ancient evil.
I’m a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s first YA series, The Darkest Powers, and so I was eager to give this a read and so took the first opportunity I could to give it a shot. It did not disappoint and fans of Kelley Armstrong will enjoy massively. As far as I know, this is Kelley Armstrong’s first epic fantasy, and I must say she did a very good job. The world building was fantastic and I really felt drawn into the empire and felt I travelled with the girls across the Wastes and battled with the ancient and supposedly mythical creatures right along with them. The pacing was a little slow at times, yet this did not lessen my enjoyment and I found myself reading at every opportunity. There was lots of action and suspense and you will not be disappointed if that’s what you’re looking for, but bear in mind that the story can move slow at times.
As for the characters, I loved them. Moria was by far my favourite and was much more interesting that Ashyn. Moria is badass, she’s strong, loyal to her sister and to her duty as a Keeper. She has a sharp tongue, quick wit and takes shit from no one. A female character to be deeply admired. Ashyn, whilst not as badass as Moria, was just as strong. She’s vulnerable and insecure and a dreamer, hopelessly romantic and scared. Yet, I still loved her. I also think that Armstrong captured the dynamic between twins (being a twin myself), and this was definitely a highlight of the novel. Whilst romance plays a part in the girls life, it is not overwhelming nor a centric part. I loved both Ronan and Gavril, though at times Gavril was a bit of an ass, but mysterious and that made him all the more alluring. I would really like to learn more about both of them in the sequels.
Sea of Shadows is definitely a book to pick up if you’re a fan of the Young Adult genre, as it ticks all the boxes: suspense and action, great heroines and broody love interests. I would also recommend to fans of Kelley Armstrong and fans of the high fantasy genre. Definitely one of the best books I have read this year and is a series I will, without doubt, be continuing with.
MY RATING: ★★★★★