Title: Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
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.I have never been more thankful that I'm patient with books than when I finished reading Sea of Shadows. The first seventy pages were such a struggle to get through as I was getting more questions than answers - although, looking back now, I think I was just distracted then - and I actually almost DNF-ed this book, but once I got past that and the action truly kicked in, oh lord.
I'm asleep, she thought. Or I've gone mad. Moria's tales have come to life, and that is not possible, which means I've gone mad.
Or the world has gone mad, and we're simply trapped within it.This year's Seeking is the first that Ashyn would lead without the guidance of her mentor, the imperial court's official Seeker. But as the tradition has been performed for many, many years, no one thought it would go wrong. Until it did. Suddenly, monsters of olden tales aren't so fictional anymore, and Ashyn races to court with her twin sister Moria, the Keeper, to warn the entire country of the new dangers that fill their land.
Ashyn and Moria are two very different girls, their similarities ending with their appearance. Ashyn, the Seeker, is shy and kind, the one charged with going into the Forest of the Dead, their assigned post, to settle the spirits in it, so she learned little aside from the rituals she's to spend her life performing. Strong and rash Moria, on the other hand, is the Keeper who will stand watch during the Seeking to make sure that no spirits come out of the forest. She's well-trained in fighting and is as rough as her sister is gentle; they reminded me very much of Rose and Lissa from Vampire Academy. It was hard to connect with them at first, but once the going got tough, their unyielding love for each other, determination and strength, both inner and outer, really shone through. And despite a handful of stupid decisions that had me facepalm-ing, I really loved them both.
As the girls raced to reach the king, it was hard to guess who their real enemy was: the dangerous foreigners or the legendary beasts that had come to life, and their lack of breathing room had me frantically turning the pages. Admittedly, the world-building wasn't astounding, but it was enough to get by with and surely didn't distract from the pace of the story - as did the romance or, rather, romances, because both girls had guys to keep them company through their perilous journey. If you're someone who demands romance in your fiction, then you shouldn't be disappointed.
Relentless and unpredictable, Sea of Shadows redeemed itself after its slow start and by the end, I was beyond desperate for the second one. A few people have mentioned that aside from the girls' journey to the palace whilst evading evil people and monsters, nothing much happens in here, and while that may be true, it's not something I can hold against the book because I would be lying if I said I didn't absolutely enjoy reading it.
MY FAVORITE PART is probably the ending because, like I said, it had me begging for more. The wait for the sequel is going to kill me.