ARC Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

ARC Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Sea of Shadows
Age of Legends #1
by Kelley Armstrong

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: April 8th, 2014
by Harpercollins

Format: eARC


Amazon | Book Depository

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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


This book can be summed up in one word. Boring. It was so painfully boring that I, who claims to be a night owl, went to bed early. I just couldn’t bother anymore.  I made it to the end and I was happy that it was over. The thing about this book is that it doesn’t really have any other major flaws, it just didn’t click with me and I feel like it’s definitely a case of ‘it’s me not you’ when it comes to this book.

This is a story about two twin sisters who get separated, have to overcome some scary ass obstacles with the help of their respective companions and then they reunite. That sounds fun yeah? Well it’s BORING AS HELL. Or it was for me at least.

The story starts on the eve of Ashyn’s 16th birthday. She will have to go into the Edgewood and free the spirits of the dead but something is wrong. Dreadfully wrong. *cue drum roll*.

I really don’t know where to start with this book. It’s always hard to review books that are mediocre because you never know what to say. I feel no enthusiasm about this book and am probably not going to be reading the sequel either.

This book is written in dual pov and when you absolutely hate one of the characters… you’re in for a long long time.

Ashyn is a pretty decent character but Moira on the other hand… yeah, I hated her. The problem with the twin sisters is how the author portrays them. One is brave, outspoken, realistic (in her opinion) and everyone (especially the guys, like her more). The other is silent, a romantic and presented as someone who is not as brave . I am pretty sure you can guess which one I liked better.

Moira, in my opinion, was rash and needed to stop acting so weird. She basically had Ashyn on a leash. She told the guards to not let her go anywhere and they ‘followed’ her orders even though both the sisters have the same status. I just don’t get it. Who is Moira to restrain her? Moira can go off fighting but Ashyn needs to be ‘protected’? EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE THE SAME BLOODY AGE? Nope. Nope. Nope.

The problem isn’t only Moira. Her POV in general holds no interest for me. I have to listen to her ‘being the bigger person’, worrying about her sister, being badass but on top of that I hate her companion. Gavril is a douche bag. He is the passive aggressive dude with who you can never tell if he likes you or not. He completely ignores Ashyn and is always pulling on Moira’s (metaphorical) ‘pig tails’. This isn’t 3rd grade. You don’t need to be a douche if you like the girl and it isn’t cute when you constantly threaten the girl. There are lines that need to be drawn if you want to go down the passive aggressive lane.

Ronan on the other hand just makes me sad. He had so much potential but for some reason his character fell flat. Ideally, he is the perfect character in my book but for some reason, I cannot feel the enthusiasm I should be feeling. He is a thief, he didn’t live a perfecty life, he is goal oriented, he is sharp and I could go on and on about why he is awesome but I don’t FEEL the enthusiasm I should be feeling about his character.

The romances were bleh. Ronan and Ashyn’s romance was developed but they lack chemistry. There is some but not nearly enough to make me want to jump up and cheer them on. Gavriel and Moira’s romance on the other hand just feels icky. There is chemistry but… *shudders*. Their romance just doesn’t seem healthy to me.

The world building was wonderful; I really loved how the author developed the  monsters and the forest and everything else. The whole atmosphere of the book was eerie. It was creepy but the problem was that the potential of this book remains unrealized.

The plot is not developed enough for me to even be able to enjoy the fantastic world building. Things happen. They fight creepy creatures and then they do more stuff. There just isn’t enough happening to keep me hooked.

I am starting to think that Kelley’s YA is just not for me. I have a soft spot for The Darkest Powers trilogy but even I realize that it’s not a masterpiece. I just don’t think YA is Kelley’s forte. I LOVE her adult books but her YA’s tend to fall flat in comparison which really is a pity because she always has such wonderful ideas.

This book is full of potential and I am sure there are people out there that will love it but this one is clearly not for me.

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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    BOOO! That’s all I’ve got really. On the bright side, I’ve moved Exit Strategy to the Kindle I actually read books on (my other one is slow and buggy presumably from all the books). I only have around 10 on it at any given time, so I will read it sometime soon. Blah, no more Kelley Armstrong YA books, blah. I had actually almost convinced myself to go ahead and read it earlier this morning, but nope. Can’t do it. Sorry you did :( I will find you a good UF series though.<——something to look forward to after the MEH that this was. MUAH.
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Skinwalker by Faith HunterMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Now all I am waiting for is you to read the book!
      Then (if you like it) we can fangirl over the wonderfullness that is Jack. Goddamn. He is DREAMY.
      I know, I don’t think I’ll be able to pick up another YA by Kelley anytime soon.

      Also, you’re the best! :)

  2. says

    LOL. I read the synopsis and thought “probably not for me” and then got to that first word of your review and cracked up. I know this author has a lot of loyal fans, and I would like to try one of her books, but maybe not this one….
    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. says

    Heh. I just finished reading a “liked it” review for this one. Hmm. I must say though that this book has never been on my tbr nor have I even considered adding it there so I’m not that sad that you didn’t love it lols. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the characters that much. I mean.. if you hate a character and then need to spend time with them in their head? Ehh, not good. Plus, lols yes! Why one of them gets to be the hero and the other one needs to be portrayed as “needs to be protected etc”. I’m glad you at least liked the world. Based on that cover I’d think that the world is pretty awesome indeed. Anyhow, I’m glad that you didn’t outright hate it, but I’m sorry it wasn’t for you, sweets.
    Siiri recently posted…Review: Down London Road by Samantha YougMy Profile

  4. says

    Well among all adjectives I want to be added to the book, boring is probably my least favorite one. I have love-hate relationship with Kelley’s books but from your review and the idea of this one I think I’ll just skip it. Great review, Rashika :)
    Tanja recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#87)My Profile

    • Rashika says

      Boring really does suck right? Because then you have no idea what you want to say and then you just end up going round in circles.

      I think, so long as we all keep on her Adult books, we’ll have more ‘love’ experiences than hate :)

      Thanks Tanja!! :)

    • Rashika says

      Ahh I cannot wait to read your review for this one Maja!! I just hope you have better luck than I did!

      Thanks! :)

  5. says

    Eh, that sucks. I’m kind of frustrated at the characters just reading your review! I read another review yesterday that was saying mostly the same stuff, soooo…it’ll probably be a no from me. The whole pulling the pig-tails thing sounds really condescending. And I HATE it when siblings rule each other’s lives in books…like yeah there’s “being protective”, but there’s also “being controlling and manipulative”. -_-
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…How Do You Feel About Fanfiction?My Profile

    • Rashika says

      IT WAS. He was such an ass.
      SAME HERE. Unless the younger sibling is a lot younger (like 4+) you should not be controlling their lives. Seriously. They should be able to make their own choices too.

  6. says

    haha what a coincidence, I just recently reviewed this book too. BUT YES I AGREE THE ROMANCES WERE VERY TERRIBLY DONE. Weirdly enough, I still shipped them (then again, I ship anything that moves, so that doesn’t really mean much lol), but the love interests were just so bland that the romances just weren’t interesting to read about.
    I did like the book more than you overall though! I thought the horror aspect was pretty awesome. (Although strangely enough, I actually thought the world building was terrible :P)
    Nara recently posted…Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley ArmstrongMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Or maybe it was meant to be this way Nara. You never know :P
      I am glad to hear you had better luck than I did though! :P

      LOL. I find the world building to be good because of the whole atmosphere, I don’t think there was actually enough in depth world building :/

  7. says

    Oh, no! I’m sad to read your less-than-stellar review, but I was afraid of this. I <3 her Women of the Otherworld series so hard that I've been afraid of reading her YA for fear of having overly high expectations. And, I didn't care for Omens either. But, boring simply will not do. What a shame… such a pretty cover too.
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Question: Do You Ever Forget?My Profile

    • Rashika says

      I am so sorry to hear you didn’t like Omens .-. It was one of my favorites from last year.

      I’ve read the first two books in her Women of the Otherworld and Clay is worth dying for. *swoon*

      All of the pretty covers lie Carmel. *whines*

  8. says

    I had hoped this would be good, but way too many reviews sight the same issues. I think I will stick to her adult novels. I really want to read her Woman of the Other World series and go back and forth over Omens. It has been in and out of my cart on Amazon so many times the peeps at Amazon must think I am cray-cray. Great review my friend!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Gift of Prophecy by Lina GardinerMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I do that all the time on amazon/TBD… but TBD understands (I am hoping) since they realize that the decision is just not that simple :P
      Thanks Kimba! :)

  9. says

    hahah I love how you’re a night owl, but went to sleep early reading this Rashika. I really am sorry that you didn’t end up enjoying this book, but the frustrations that you had with this book, I think that I would find the same problems too. I don’t mind dual pov books, but when we’re stuck with the majority of a pov, from a character that I don’t like, I would at times feel like skipping ahead to the other pov :( I’ve not read a book by Armstrong yet before either, but I definitely don’t think that I will be starting with this one! Thank you for your honest review! I hope your next book is a lot more enjoyable!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Me Since You by Laura WiessMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      My mom sadly doesn’t appreciate it :P She just doesn’t understand :P
      I do hope you try some of Kelley’s adults. They are extremely fun! :P
      Thank you so much Jasprit!! :)

  10. says

    NOOOO! It’s a shame when books have such potential, but ultimitely don’t live up to that potential. This definitely sounds like it falls under that category; as the characterization doesn’t sound all that thrilling. And the fact that it’s so boring just makes me really nervous! Anyways, I think this one will be a miss for me. The issues that you’ve had with it certainly sound like they’d bother me and I think I’ll just spare myself the pain by skipping this one! ;) Thanks for sharing Rashika, and, as always, brilliant review! :D
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Maybe One DayMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I think potential that goes down the drain is becoming a recurring theme in books I’ve been reading lately :P

      Thanks Zoe!!! :)

    • Rashika says

      I decided to skip Avalon because of the general negative reviews.
      I enjoyed The Nightmare Affair but it seems that a lot of people who did were disappointed by Avalon.

      Thanks Marianne! :)

  11. says

    You did much better job with your review than I’ve ever done with a book I’m not enthusiastic about. It’s so tough to write reviews like this! I’ve never been that interested in reading this one–I have a feeling I would get bored as you did while reading it. The Summoning made me a bit wary of this authors books. I can’t remember why I didn’t like that book, but I think it was because it just wasn’t very interesting to me. I may have to check out one of her adult books sometime, though.

    Great review!
    Kaitlin recently posted…Thursday Thoughts ~ Library or Bookstore?My Profile

  12. says

    This sounds bad, Rashika, really bad. :( I’m sorry you didn’t like it. I’ve noticed that lately I don’t easily like paranormal novels. I don’t have much patience for 16 year old girls discovering that they are wolfs, vampires or whatnot… I have zero patience for teenagers in general.O.o
    Great review.
    Glass recently posted…Saving Quinton (Nova, #2) by Jessica SorensenMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Pnr in YA hasn’t been doing much for me either :/
      They all seem to be the same thing. Girl finding out she has magic powers. Meeting random dude. Going on some adventure and I just have zero patience for teenagers as well. Which is why I’ve been picking up less and less YA unless it’s for review.

      Thanks Glass! :)

    • Rashika says

      I am wondering if there is some sort of ying and yang thing in those sort of situations? O_O. I really do hope you have better luck and that perhaps it lives up to your expectations the way it didn’t live up to mine!

      Thanks Jeann!! :)

  13. says

    I’m worried that Kelley’s YA stuff isn’t for me either. I’ve only read the first of her Darkest Powers books, and I thought it was just awful. But her Women of the Otherworld series? LOVED it.

    I won this through Goodreads, so I will be reading it. I’m glad I’m a little more prepared for what to expect; hopefully my lowered expectations will mean I enjoy it more. Time will tell if it’s the nail in Kelley’s YA coffin for me, or not.
    Kelly recently posted…Pretty Little Discussion: A Mid-Series Cover Change Conspiracy?My Profile

    • Rashika says

      I’ve read the first two books in her Women of the Otherworld series and I LOVED THEM TOO!

      EEK! I really do hope you have better luck then I did then!