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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
This book was interesting.
In fact, it was really boring. For most of it.
There was so much potential to this story I was actually sad when it ended and I realized that none of that potential meant anything because NONE OF IT BECAME ANYTHING.
SEA OF SHADOWS is built up well. I enjoyed the world-building especially, even though there was a lack of a backstory to much of the world, backstory, etc. The writing wasn’t too simple and the plot was fairly straightforward. The pacing was what was really disappointing in the beginning, but that grew into an issue that was a lot bigger.
For me, characters can make or break a book, and I really disliked the way that the characters were drawn up in this book. The romances were terrible to the point where it was tiring to even think about the characters and their relationships, and that wasn’t even when I was judging the characters as they were by themselves. SEA OF SHADOWS is about twins, Moira and Ashyn. Right from the beginning right until the very end, I struggled with figuring out which was which, but it didn’t matter too much because the POV differs between the two girls and really–all you need to do is identify one of them and then you realize who the other is, because they both have clearly defining traits and don’t deviate much from those traits over the course of the story. It’s really very simple.
Moira: Rash, stupid, impulsive.
Ashyn: Quiet, dull, forgiving.
Moira is constantly talking and making bad, rash decisions and getting people–including herself–into trouble. As for Ashyn, she is always forgiving people. That might seem like a good trait, but it’s not when Ashyn is basically being stepped on all the time by others, especially her romantic interest.
Then there’s the romantic interests, Gavril and Ronan. And just as Moira and Ashyn are equally dumb (okay, maybe Moira is more apparently dumb) in different ways, Gavril and Ronan are both equally annoying, standoffish jerks in different ways.
Gavril: constantly shoving down Moira, who of course is the person he’s interested in.
Ronan: uses people, is a criminal, unforgiving.
You know, now that I think about it–these four were made for each other. I just hate the way that they’re constantly stumbling about from one scene to the next, being chased from one place to another, out of the frying pan and into the fire and then being rescued continually. It’s annoying and it makes the plot extremely repetitive. I had hoped to see a lot more from this book than I got, and while there were parts to it I enjoyed, I didn’t like much overall with this story and would not recommend it. Many people have, however, said that they enjoy Kelley Armstrong’s adult novels far more than her YA ones, so I would recommend taking a look at her other titles if you are interested in her work. As for YA that is like this, I would recommend books by Leigh Bardugo and Maggie Stiefvater (the one and only), especially her THE RAVEN CYCLE series. 1.5 stars.
pg count for the paperback: 409
Series: Age of Legends