Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Sea of Shadows
Kelley Armstrong
Series: Age of Legends, #1
Released: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: 2 stars
Word Rating: *pig like snoring in the background*
Reviewed by: Mel

Add to 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.

This is my fourth book by Kelley Armstrong. I read her spin-off to the Darkest Power Trilogy in 2012 and long forgot what her novels are like. What I do remember is that I didn’t enjoy the series. (And back then, I seemed to love everything I read so that was definitely an odd one.) Looks like my feelings towards her books are unaltered.

I don’t recall the last time when it has taken me almost 2 weeks to finish a YA novel. Sure, for classics or non-fiction books because they can be tedious and lame (well not so much classics, they just take time to adjust to the language), but for a YA novel—no. I eat YA books more than I eat chocolate. I don’t just go nibbling at them a little each day, if I get a chapter done; I go through most of it in a sitting. The problem with Sea of Shadows was that after a read a chapter, I had to put it down. It was too boring. But beforehand, I had read a few reviews mentioning that it does get better, plot-wise. So I ploughed through. Some parts were intriguing, yet for the majority, I was drifting off to sleep. In summary, Sea of Shadows lacked a direction in all aspects—characters, romance, world building and plot—until the last 30% of the novel.

The premise is as follows: Ashyn and Moira are twins and have been training since a young age to be the Seeker and Keeper of Edgewood. Their job is to quiet the angry souls of the dead. However this year, something doesn’t feel quite right. Soon, odd happenings are occurring over the town—including deaths. The spirits refuse to be quietened this year. They are rebelling. Soon enough, Ashyn and Moira are separated—their journeys take them far from home as they try desperately to reunite once again.

This story is told by Ashyn and Moira’s perspectives. Neither, did I enjoy. Armstrong gives the twins totally opposite personalities. Ashyn is the Seeker and is reserved, quiet and rather dull compared to her sister. Moira is much rasher with her actions and is quick tempered. One was too boring to read about, the other was idiotic. Don’t let me even begin on the romance. Ashyn and Ronan’s connection lacked any chemistry (but Ronan himself had a great potential…but of course, potential that was unmet.) As for Moira and Gavril’s—just no. Bleh. I don’t even know how that turned out to be a romance in the first place. Gavril is such an ass on all levels.

Sea of Shadows was unfortunately devoid of world building. It was desperately in need of more information on…basically everything. There’s only a few basic facts thrown left and right but at several points during the read, I was confused like crazy.

Ultimately, I could not oversea the plethora of criticisms I had with Sea of Shadows. I wouldn’t say that Kelley Armstrong is a bad author as her writing is great and there is never ending praise for her adult novels—but YA books don’t seem to be her forte.


  1. I decided to give up on Kelley Armstong YA novels about 6 bad Sea of Shadows reviews ago, and you've only reinforced that decision. Her adult novels are excellent, but you are correct--YA doesn't seem to be her forte. I think I need to make sure I don't still have this book pre-ordered somewhere . . .

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    1. Yeah, I did see a bunch of negative reviews (but never read them) before reading this one as well but there was so much praise for Omens that I believed that this would be also just as good. *sigh*

  2. I did not enjoy this book and I actually DNF'd it, which is rare because I adore Kelley Armstrong's adult series. I'm glad that I am not the only one.


  3. I was actually going to go see if you finished the book.. and I see you felt pretty much the same way. I actually liked her Darkest Powers trilogy but my interest waned in the spin off. I still haven't read the last book :P

    BUT BUT. THANK YOU. Gavril is such an ass! I don't understand why he is a love interest. I would punch him in the face if I could. No Joke. He deserves it.

    I definitely agree. YA is not Kelley's thing. Her adult novels are heaps more enjoyable and have much better characters.

    Lovely review, Mel!!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  4. I love that you said you eat more YA than chocolate, I always say I eat books for dinner!
    I love this cover but I don't think I want the tediousness!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  5. You know I actually DNF'd this one because I didn't think it was worth finishing. I'm glad to know I was right! Sorry it didn't work out for you though but great review. :)

  6. The more reviews I read for this one, the more anxious I get. I won a copy through Goodreads, so I'm going to feel obligated to read it, but it sounds like I'll have the same problems with this one that I did with the first book in her other YA series.

    I love her adult stuff; I can't understand why she isn't great with YA too??

  7. This is not the first review I've read saying this one was meh and rather dull. I'm so sad because I wanted it to be amazing. :-( Thank you for sharing.

  8. I wanted this from the first moment I read the synopsis & I love the cover but unfortunately it ended up a DNF for me :-( I completely agree with everything you mention in your review. I hope your next read is a good one!

    Thanks for sharing! :-)

  9. This one isn't fairing well. Skip for me.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog!