[510]: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Double Day Canada | Hardcover, 406 pp. | Age of Legends, #1 | April 8th, 2014 | Fiction | Young Adult | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


We all know I’m not the most patient reader when it comes to fantasy novels. I just can’t get into them. The way I look at it, if I can’t picture myself in that world, chances are, my interest wouldn’t hold for very long. Which would be the primary reason why I waited an entire year to read this. Kelley Armstrong is a prolific story teller. I’ve always enjoyed her books (apart from her Women of the Otherworld series). She’s the type of author whose books will always have a place on my shelves. That being said, I tend to drag my feet with certain genres, regardless of how much I admire the author.

Wonder twins

Sea of Shadows is your stereotypical fantasy novel. It starts with a quest: to find the children of Edgewood who disappeared after the Shadow Stalkers killed all the adults in sight. It’s up to twins, Moira and Ashyn, and their beasts to find them. Moira and Ashyn aren’t your typical twins. Moira is a Keeper; and Ashyn, the Seeker. When they were born, they were chosen by the gods to protect the empire. They are, in essence, an indomitable force. But what chances do they have against creatures that once only existed in the story books? Giant acid-spitting-earthworms, hawks as big as airplanes that bring storms, and shadows that kill in the most heinous way imaginable. Aside from beauty and smarts, these two are fearless.

Easy like Sunday morning

As one would expect from a fantasy novel, this book took the slow route to lay down its foundation. Armstrong took deliberate care in showing us exactly what kind of world with which to tell her story. In the beginning, we see what’s involved with being a Seeker. Ashyn was pretty much front and centre for three-quarters of the novel. Simply put, her job is to send the restless spirits packing. These spirits are those of criminals condemned to die in The Forest of the Dead. Of course being a newbie on her first day of the job, nothing will go as planned.

I could’ve sworn there were two of you

To be honest, I’d forgotten that Moira is a part of this story as well. I thought that the first book would focus solely on Ashyn’s role. I had to come back to the first few pages to get some sense into Moira’s role. As we go deeper into the story though, we see what kind of responsibilities rest on her shoulders. Let’s just say, if this was a story about the mafia, Moira would’ve been the designated hitman. Both girls are fierce creatures. While Ashyn uses considerable smarts, calm and poise, Moira is the brains and the brawn. She’s a fearsome thing to behold, and fiercely independent.

Three boys, two girls

There is allusion to romance(s). However, it’s not quite clear. There is a warrior who lives to aggravate Moira; and a thief who starts off completely enamoured by Moira’s ferocious persona. Things will change, though, but the pairings are not clear. Especially with the appearance of Prince Tyrus. When the dust settles, I wouldn’t care either way because I’m not vested in the romance element of this book. And that’s a good thing, because this series is fantastic with or without it.

Why you should read it

Sea of Shadows is a surprise. Immerse yourself in a well-conceptualized world featuring a couple of fierce women who had to forget their own tragedy for the sake of the empire. This may be lengthy or wordy, but this is what you fantasy readers like, isn’t it? There is intrigue, betrayal, and relentless battles that makes for an engrossing, heart-pounding read. Honestly, this is a different side of Armstrong that I’ve rarely seen; a fantastic showing of the scope of her storytelling prowess.