TITLE:  The Sea of Shadows

AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong

BLURB: 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.

The Otherworld series of novels really placed New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong on the map and deservedly so since every one of the 13 novels maintained a standard of writing that made the characters and plot accessible without stooping to formulaic repetition. I admit I was hooked early on and eagerly awaited the publication of each instalment in the series.

I had high hopes for this new trilogy – Age of Legends – and was quite confident that Armstrong would deliver a readable tale. What I wasn’t immediately aware of was the fact that it was intended to be young adult fiction. That was a pity because if I had realised it I would have been a little less disappointed at the lack of depth of the characters and the over emphasis on who fancied whom and why.

Having said that it was a decent enough read and the strong female main character I was looking for was delivered in the form of Moria. The fantasy fare is well formed and “believable” if somewhat familiar – more walking dead!

What was more interesting was the very modern take on the thoughts, beliefs and even expectations of the female characters. Clearly the author knows her audience and wants to reinforce the equality agenda that’s rightfully popular amongst younger readers. This is to be applauded as is the light-touch way that it is achieved throughout the book. There are no damsels in distress in need of rescuing, quite the contrary in fact.

It’s an entertaining read and will transport you to another world to brighten your day. As to whether or not the trilogy works, I’ll be in a better position to offer an opinion once I’ve read the second book in the series – Empire of Night.


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