[512]: Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Double Day Canada | Hardcover, 432 pp. | April 7th, 2015 | Age of Legends, #2 | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Oh wow. That ending… and the mother of all plot twists! I don’t even know when the next book will be out, but trust me when I say, I’ll be making another offering to the ARC-giving goddess to send a copy my way. There’s no date yet, so I’m guessing Kelley is still writing the third book. Empire of Night is much of the same, only she’s up the ante on this book.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. 

Prisoners of their discontent.

The children of Edgewood are still missing. While the twins are growing more impatient each day, the Emperor doesn’t seem all that in a rush to retrieve what’s left of their village. In the meantime, Moira’s pride is still smarting from the betrayal of who were once a trusted ally. There is no better motivation for revenge than an injured ego. When the Emperor finally sends them on a negotiation mission, things will go from bad to worst.

The tale of a two-faced warrior.

If you haven’t read Sea of Shadows, I should warn you that it ended with one of the boys betraying the twins. As in, he may or may not be involved in the massacre of their people – including, their father. Moira may have put her trust in the wrong place, but I can almost tell that her heart may have been broken because of this. She will not admit, though. She will not admit that she liked the boy a bit too much.

In the past, authors making their readers choose “teams” has been a source of my aggravation. And while I was tempted to do so in this instance, I got over myself. I think I mentioned it on my review of Sea of Shadows, that it’s not that important. Well, by the time I finished this book, it’d become one of the reasons why I can’t wait to read the third book. Not so much as to see who she chooses, but more to see how it will play out. Armstrong is wickedly brilliant…or brilliantly wicked. I had developed a distaste for this character after the first book and during the second. But, by the end of the second, I’m finally seeing his end game.

Upping the ante.

I often struggle with the middle book in a trilogy. While the plot tries its damnest to convince me of its importance and relevance to the series as a whole, it more often fails.  It was not the case in this book, however. Armstrong used conflicts after conflicts to move the plot along. And much like the first book, there will be no down time here, folks. These books have been so much fun. I’m dying to see how it all ends, because that ending was so incredible…torturous, yes. But incredible, nonetheless.

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[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.

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On the Night Table [12]: Shadows and Magic

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I’m still struggling with the time zone change, so every night, I find myself either tossing and turning or reading. Unfortunately, both are becoming such a bother to my husband. I started reading Sea of Shadows on Friday night. By the time 5 am rolled around, I was more than halfway through. On Saturday, I woke up at 9 am and cleaned the house and kept on working until night time. I’m exhausted, but I refused to take a nap. The last time I took a nap, I slept for 5 hours and was up until 5 in the morning. So, no. I’m not doing that again. Needless to say, I have been spending some late nights reading. This would be nice, but I still need some sleep. Sigh.

This week, I’d planned on reading one book for review and a couple that’d been on my shelf for quite some time. Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong is a fantasy series. Though I was intimidated to start it, I didn’t have a choice as I needed to read the first book in order to read Empire of Night. Since I’m halfway done, I have to say that this world and the plot is interesting, at least.

A Darker Shade of Magic is one book that I’ve coveted since I got wind of it last year. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to pick it up. Well, this is one book that I’m really excited to read, so here’s hoping it will be everything that I’d expected from Ms. Schwab.


18209344Sea of Shadows [Age of Legends, #1] by Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: April 8th, 2014
GOODREADS SUMMARY:

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.


21480854 Empire of Night [Age of Legends, #2] by Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood. Or at least, they were.
Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, they are all but prisoners in court, forced to watch and wait while the Emperor decides whether to help the children of Edgewood, who remain hostages of the treacherous Alvar Kitsune.
But when the emperor finally sends the girls on a mission to rescue the children–accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of men–the journey proves more perilous than any of them could have imagined. With lies and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on every bit of influence and power they possess to unite their people and avert an all-out war.


A Darker Shade final for Irene A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.


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Reviews for these books will be up this week.

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