Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Sea of Shadows by Kelley ArmstrongSea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars
Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn were marked at birth to become the Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood, beginning with their sixteenth birthday. Trained in fighting and in the secret rites of the spirits, they lead an annual trip into the Forest of the Dead. There, the veil between the living world and the beyond is thinnest, and the girls pay respect to the spirits who have passed.But this year, their trip goes dreadfully wrong.With all the heart-stopping romance and action that have made her a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and set in an unforgettably rich and dangerous world, this first epic book in the Age of Legends trilogy will appeal to Kelley Armstrong's legions of fans around the world and win her many new ones.

I think this is meant to be a high fantasy? It…felt like that…to me…?? As you can tell, I am really good at this genre lark. Anyway, Sea of Shadows kicks off Kelley Armstrong’s new YA Age of Legends series. I love Kelley Armstrong (as evidenced by my frequent emotional breakdowns over her Women of the Otherworld series as well as her Darkest Powers YA trilogy) but Sea of Shadows is basically just okay – it’s not fantastic, which I generally expect from her at this point, but it wasn’t terrible either.

The book follows in the vein of most high fantasies; it’s set in a vaguely olden time world and is filled with characters that have strange abilities and odd appearances. Add in a land with strange and dangerous places and we have a novel which ticks off all the basic requirements for classical fantasy. Our main characters are twin sisters, a rare phenomenon in this world because of terrible, terrible reasons, each with their own unique abilities that mark them out as important. Moria, badass teenage beauty queen who has no time for men outside of making out with them (a girl after my own heart t b h), is a Keeper, and her sister Ashyn, quiet, shy and moral, is the Seeker. Together they keep the dead from converging on their village. They do this by going out into the forest at the edge of their village and performing a ritual to send the tormented souls on their way. Basically this is what I imagined Ashyn to be like all the way through this novel:

final fantasy yuna

Incidentally her task as Seeker isn’t all that different to Yuna’s as a Summoner *coughs*


So why do they need to do the thing? Why, because only the worst criminals in the kingdom are sent to the forest at the edge of their village to die! What a GOOD system, I hear you cry. And that brings us to our next two main characters, Ronan and Gavril. Ronan, sent to the forest because of reasons and found by Ashyn, and Gavril, a warrior class mystery man who accompanies Moria on her adventures. This is what I really like about Kelley Armstrong – if nothing else, the lady can write some gooooood relationships. The two relationships are so different and yet so delightful; I love it so. Like with her Darkest Powers trilogy, Armstrong focuses on developing the relationships naturally and never at the expense of the girls – they are the focus of the story and she never forgets that or allows them to be overshadowed by their love interests.

The plot, however, isn’t as great as the character and relationship development unfortunately. I have to say I found the beginning very slow and it dragged in parts until the characters were on the road. I enjoyed the different places they passed through and the dangers they faced (I want a Thunder Bird tbh) and it ends with quite a clever, although not entirely unpredictable cliffhanger. That being said the plot in this first novel serves almost entirely to set up the rest of the series, I think, and it reads like it. There’s a huge amount of infodumping and not a whole lot else tbh.

Ultimately I can say after finishing this novel that I will probably be reading the next book in the series but it won’t be because I’m interested in the plot. It’s the four characters that drew me in and it’s them and their relationships with each other that I’ll be going back for.

10 comments on “Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

  1. Natalie 27/03/2014 12:16 pm


    The cover for this one is soooo pretty *__*

    I actually haven’t read anything by Kelley Armstrong yet, so I don’t have expectations. I like the sound of this one in general. And I can deal with a slow plot as long as the characters are well developed…so I think I will give this one a try. If only for the fact that things will hopefully pick up in the rest of the series!

    And HA. I suck at defining genres and stuff. There are just so many!

    • Tatum 27/03/2014 9:57 pm

      Right? Characters and relationships >>>>>>>>> And it’s definitely not a terrible book at all, I’m sure a lot of people will like it, I just expected more from her at this point. Lolol, I’m bad with genres because I don’t stick to any so I don’t actually pay attention to what kind of genre a book is XD

  2. Mel@thedailyprophecy 27/03/2014 1:21 pm

    Haha, it’s awesome that every time I visit your blog, it has a different look :p

    So if I want to read another book from her, I can better take a look at her Women of the Otherworld series? I wasn’t a fan of the first book from the Darkest Powers though. This sounded like an interesting promise, with the setting and the concept, but it’s a shame it wasn’t good enough.

    • judith 27/03/2014 9:33 pm

      SSSSSSH people are not supposed to notice my design crisis

      • Amber 27/03/2014 9:34 pm

        *snorts* It’s hard not to XD

    • Tatum 27/03/2014 9:53 pm

      I think you can really tell once you’ve read both her adult and YA stuff that she holds back when she’s writing YA. YES, definitely, definitely give her Women of the Otherworld series a try. I am not joking when I say that series has some of my all time favourite books/characters/relationships in it. I was a bit disappointed in Sea of Shadows but it’s not bad, just not compelling really. I hope it gets better though!

  3. ashleysgotbookcitement 27/03/2014 11:05 pm

    I’ve been looking forward to this one. I’ve yet to read a Kelley Armstrong book, but I know that when I finally get around to reading it, I’ll love it.

  4. Danielle @ Love at First Page 27/03/2014 11:40 pm

    I’m so wary of starting a series the year the first book is released, because I never know if a pesky love triangle will be introduced or if the cliffy will be too hard to handle. This might be one of those books I can wait to read until the sequel comes out. The two romances sound really cute, though; I wish the plot had worked better for you. Thanks for your review!

  5. Kelly 30/03/2014 1:33 am

    I just finished this one the other day and really enjoyed it! I think I had read a few negative reviews, so my expectations were quite low going in. I loved the characters and I love how you described them:

    The two relationships are so different and yet so delightful; I love it so. Like with her Darkest Powers trilogy, Armstrong focuses on developing the relationships naturally and never at the expense of the girls – they are the focus of the story and she never forgets that or allows them to be overshadowed by their love interests.

    This is SO TRUE! I never felt like either girl lost who she was, in order to develop the romances.

    I also really enjoyed the plot, but I didn’t see the twist coming at all so that probably helped! Haha

  6. Natalie @Natflix&Books 31/03/2014 6:48 pm

    I have this on my Kindle, but I have to be honest that this doesn’t really sound like the book for me. I love that the relationships are awesome, but not overwhelming, but the ho-hum plot and the fact that it reads like the set-up for the series (not to mention high fantasy) makes me feel like I will probably skip it. I actually snorted at the GIF. Lol. Great review!

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