In this review, I will be providing a brief summary of each book in the Age of Legends Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, in addition to what I did, and didn’t, like in each book. If you haven’t read all the books, I recommend waiting to read the reviews of the later books until you’ve read their prequel, as the reviews may contain some accidental spoilers here and there.
Sea of Shadows
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.
What I liked:
- I’m a big fantasy fan, and this book certainly delivered. Armstrong created a well fleshed out, intense setting for this series, spending a lot of time setting up and describing the world throughout the book. There’s magic, mythical beasts and mysterious powers at work; and more than enough intrigue to draw most readers in.
- Moira, Ashyn, Gavriel and Ronan felt thoroughly fleshed out- Armstrong certainly delivered on the character development front. Each of the four major characters are strongly delineated as individuals, and the reader certainly feels drawn to and connected to them as the story progresses.
What I didn’t like:
- Despite a fantastical setting and a well-developed cast of main characters, this book just fell short in terms of action, romance and, well, excitement. The pacing of the story was totally off, with far too much down time and far too much build-up, leading to action scenes that were quite lack-luster.
- The lack of romance was particularly disappointing, since it seemed like Armstrong was setting up for some romantic interludes right from the beginning, by pairing off each sister with a man, then leaving them alone in the vast, dangerous wilderness. One would expect.. something. Instead, the reader gets nothing, except for maybe some wayward thoughts here and there.
- The actual goal of the plot. The journey was somewhat enthralling, riddling with mystical beings and the like, but really, what was the point of travelling all the way to the Imperial City to tell everyone that they failed in their roles as Keeper and Seeker, and oh hey, everyone is dead. Like the pacing, the romance (or lack thereof) and all the build up (which just led to a disappointing drop), the motivation behind the characters actions seemed to be somewhat dry.
Overall, This book did not meet my expectations. While all the elements of a great story were there – a fascinating world, interesting characters, and danger galore – Armstrong still came up short because she couldn’t bring them all together into a coherent, enthralling tale.