Monday, 18 November 2013

15:55 - No comments

Book Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelly Armstrong

(I received an advance copy from Doubleday Canada through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

 Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

My Review:

Kelly Armstrong’s new book, Sea of Shadows, follows the adventures of twin sisters, Moria and Ashyn, on their quest to stop the Shadow Stalkers, the monsters that destroyed their village. On the way through the journey, the twins get separated and try to find their way back to each other. They do this with the help of buff warrior, Gavril, and charming bandit, Ronan.

I really loved the character dynamics between the four heroes. Their personalities really seemed to complement one another perfectly. For example, Moria is a skillful fighter and can be feral with her dagger at times. In contrast, her sister, Ashyn, is thoughtful and caring, and has more difficulty grasping the concept of violence. Giving the sisters opposing personalities was a great idea, except that there wasn’t as much interaction between them as I would have liked. This may be because the main storyline is that they get separated. However, when they do meet up in the end, they seem more connected to their traveling companions, Gavril and Ronan, than to each other.

Gavril and Ronan each added their own little flair to the novel. The setting of the book, a “forest of the dead” and a massacred village, was quite depressing, so Ronan helped lighten the mood with his loving and lighthearted personality. Gavril paired well with Moria, up about their fears and feelings, cracking their stubborn shells and making them easier to relate too. Ronan and Gavril also had really well plotted back stories. Armstrong knows how to make secondary characters just as important as the main ones. She gave these characters interesting histories that grabbed my attention. I look forward to seeing how they develop in future books.

As I said, the setting was rather depressing and gloomy. It gave the book a really dark persona. In fact, considering the amount of description, I thought the places would be more interesting. There was a lot of time spent scraping the surface of the setting rather than exploring them further, leaving me to picture and imagine the finer details myself. For example, while they were in the forest, there was talk about vicious monsters, the Shadow Stalkers. When the monsters showed up, the action was quite brief. It also seemed a little hard to grasp because I didn’t know the monsters’ stories and so I felt detached and uninterested. With such an awesome title such as Shadow Stalkers, I was hoping for more of a storyline about these creatures. My expectation for this was also raised after reading Armstrong’s brilliant character plots. I thought that would have carried through to the monsters. Overall, it could have used more imagination and excitement, being what I would consider a fantasy read.

The ending for this book really let me down. It seemed to finish very unresolved and was very anti-climatic. In fact, I even double-checked to make sure the entire book had been downloaded. That was how unfinished it seemed to me. The last fifty pages or so really dragged. In my opinion, it would have been better if they were filled with a climatic adventure, like a final battle or a more complex plot twist. I found it too predictable and way too inactive. Maybe I have a flair for the dramatics, although, I think the twist had potential for more. Perhaps the ending in future books will be less disappointing.

Despite the ending, I enjoyed the novel because of the characters. Right from the beginning it was apparent that this was a character driven novel. The characters made the novel worth reading. If it weren’t for them, it would have been a struggle to finish the book. The prologue was very captivating and I really enjoyed the beginning as well, but I believe the reason why I was so disappointed with the ending was that I was expecting more, since I was enjoying it until that point. I will read the sequel, however, just to find out what happens to the characters. I would recommend this book to someone who is a fan of dark plots and well thought out character dynamics.

I give Sea of Shadows, by Kelly Armstrong three out of five stars.

There is my review for Monday.  Come back tomorrow for "Top Ten Tuesdays!"

Stay nerdy,


Post a Comment