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on 9 April 2014
Twins are rare and when they are born they usually become Keeper and Seeker. The Keepers job is to keep the spirits from entering the village and the Seekers job is to go into the Forest Of The Dead and put the spirits to rest. Moira is the Keeper and Ashyn is the Seeker.

Every year the Seeker has to go into the Forest to quiet the spirits and this year is Ashyns first year doing it by herself. At the start everything goes as planned but when her companions start disappearing things start to go wrong. In the forest Ashyn meets Ranon, a criminal sent to die there. He may be her only hope of getting out alive.

OK, this was just amazing!!! From the very first page this book had me hooked.

Moira was a kick ass character. She was strong, stubborn, an amazing fighter and could throw a knife a hairs breath away from you. She was fierce and loyal but also kind and always looked out for her sister. Ahsyn on the other hand is quite and meek. In other words the total opposite of Moira. I loved how different both were, even though they are twins, but yet they make a complete whole. They each make the best of each other and are fiercely loyal to each other.

I loved both Gavril and Ranon. Gavril is surly and strong but you know deep down he has feelings for Moira. Ranon is more open with his feelings for Ashyn and I loved seeing both friendships progress. Moira is more practical in her approach to romance, she sees it more logically. To her a kiss is just a kiss and it doesn't have to lead to anything, whereas Ashyn is a romantic at heart.

The whole lore of Sea Of Shadows was unique and fascinating. The Seeker and Keepers have animals bonded to them that help them on their journeys. There is 3 pairs of these twins in the kingdom and its Ashyn and Moiras job to be at the Forest Of The Dead. This is where criminals are sent and left to die. These spirits often become vengeful which is why a Keeper and Seeker need to be there. If a spirit becomes vengeful they can become Shadow Stalkers. These spirits can then reanimate the dead and they become like zombies. We also have giant worm like things, giant Thunder Birds, warlocks and mercenaries. I absolutely loved the mythology.

Overall Sea Of Shadows was a breathtaking journey of magic, mystery, suspense, creepiness and danger. I loved every single aspect of this book! When I was reading it it took my breath away!! The separate journeys the girls make were dangerous and deadly and the way the author described things was so creepy. She has a way with words that make you apart of the book. Its an action packed, edge of your seat book and Kelley Armstrong has created a dark and dangerous world but one I cant wait to jump back into. This is a must read and all I can say is bring on book 2!!!
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on 22 April 2014
I've read and liked most of Kelley Armstrong's books. This book was extremely disappointing- it read like a young author's first work, not a book written by an experienced writer. I'm assuming this is one of her Young Adult works, but her other YA works are much better written. The characters in this book are two dimensional and the male characters are irritating in the extreme. In particular, Gavril spent his time patronising Moria as if she was about 7 years old instead of being almost his age (18) with extensive training in a respected and responsible job. He has a nice little sideline in gaslighting her as well.

Is this a thing now? Do authors think younger readers view it as acceptable or somehow an attractive trait for a young male character to treat his girlfriend this way and have her (even though she is an assertive character with no self-esteem issues) just accept it because of LUUUURRRVE??!! If he was just a jerky character, fine, but no-one calls him out on his behaviour and he is tidily assigned to Moria as her boyfriend in a heavily-telegraphed way right from the beginning of the novel.

Kelley Armstrong used to be one of my "no need to think about it, just buy it" authors. This was sub-standard garbage.
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on 3 August 2014
Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and the Seeker of the Forest of the Dead. Criminals get sent into the Forest and if they survive, they're told they get to be placed back in society - no one ever survives. The Seeker and the Keeper are tasked with dealing with the souls of the dead so they don't become evil spirits. This is Ashyn's first solo journey as the Seeker and it doesn't go to plan - turns out there's more in the forest than the souls of the dead. After their town gets attacked, Ashyn and Moria are separated and in finding one another discover something is very wrong.

With Kelley's Otherworld series at an end, she's introducing some new stuff. No new adult series as yet but this is her new YA/New Adult series (I don't know the difference between the two - genres aren't my strong point). Moria and Ashyn are both very different and likeable in their own ways.

Moria is strong and kick ass, she's not afraid to stand her ground and will fight anything to protect her family and her town. Ashyn is quiet and calm, the complete opposite of Moria and that's why they work so well together. They counter each other and are better for it.

I love Kelley's writing as anyone who has read my reviews before will know but sadly this one fell a bit short with me, I still liked it and will continue with the series but it was quite slow going and hard to pick up once it was put down - which is very unlike all Kelley books for me. I usually find them unputdownable. I would still recommend this to any YA Fantasy fans but if you're a Kelley fan it is quite unlike her other books so don't go into this expecting another Darkest Powers or Darkness Rising.
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on 19 April 2015
I've read and enjoyed quite a lot of Ms Armstrong's books and so I was keen to read a new series. However, this tale of gloom and despondency is just too black, and is not redeemed by anything particularly special in the characterisation or writing etc. I contrast it with The Wounded Land, for example - the first book in the second chronicles of Thomas Covenant. That's as bleak and depressing a book as you'll find in fantasy, but the quality of the writing is there. I'm not going to carry on with this series although I will continue to buy other books of hers.
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on 17 May 2014
Even though this series is aimed at a YA audience I had no hesitation in giving it a go - there's not a Kelley Armstrong book I've not enjoyed yet - and this was no exception, what a brilliant start. I love that Ms Armstrong has created a whole new world for her characters, one that I found to be reminiscent of ancient Japan, to exist in. It's a pleasant change from the norm. With a couple of neat plot twists at the end that I, admittedly, did not see coming I already know who I'm rooting for! The female leads are strong yet honourable and, even when things get a little messy, they jump on in. The guys? Well that remains to be seen.
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Kelley Armstrong is best known for her urban fantasy books -- for adults, teens and even children (if you count her books with Melissa Marr).

But as far as I know, "Sea of Shadows" is the very first high fantasy Armstrong has written. And it's not a half-bad way to start her new Age of Legends series -- she creates a fantasy world filled with dark magic, monsters and blood, countered by a pair of tough young girls who are equally adept with knives and magic. The main flaw? At times I could have used a lot more elaboration.

Moria is the Keeper who protects the village from hostile spirits, while her twin sister Ashyn is the Seeker who finds the dead and buries them before they can become troublesome. Now that they are sixteen years old, they lead the villagers on a specific day when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest. Also, they each have a supernatural animal.

But then the village is invaded and destroyed -- the children are kidnapped, the men are turned into monstrous shadow-stalkers, and the women are slain. Even worse, the sisters are unable to stop it. Teaming up with stoic warrior Gavril and the mysterious Ronan, Ashyn and Moria set out on separate quests to right what has gone wrong -- and discover an enemy raising a nightmarish shadow army.

From the very beginning, Armstrong sets "Sea of Shadows" in a world that feels incredibly dangerous. There is no pretty little village set apart from the danger of the outside world... oh no, no, the characters live next door to a forest of madness, disease and death. There's graphic gore, lots of blood, demon-things that turn you into a grotesque cannibal, more dead bodies than a World War I cemetery, and "death worms" that can spit acid at you.

And Armstrong adjusts her writing to better fit a high fantasy story -- it moves quickly despite the heavy details, and some of her prose is downright lovely ("... watched the spring sun burn away the lace of frost"). It's not very clear what's going on in the first half of the book, but eventually the author sketches out the real threat to the empire, as well as some unexpected twists.

It also has a distinctively Japanese flavor. Some parts of the setting are pretty generic medieval stuff, but Armstrong weaves in some cultural attitudes and ideas into it -- consider the kitsune tattoo on Gavril's arm, or the Edgewood's resemblance to Aokigahara.

Both of the sisters are thoroughly likable heroines -- Moria is strong, stubborn and fiery, while Ashyn is shy and awkward. Ironically, at the beginning Moria has to stay at home while Ashyn has to go charging out into the forest. And they each have a budding romance, one with a quiet mysterious warrior, and the other with a feisty mysterious criminal living in the woods.

The biggest problem is that sometimes I could have used a bit more elaboration on the world that Armstrong has built, such as the religion that they follow (can we hear more about the goddess?). Instead we leap headfirst into the plot with few explanations about, say, what the empire is.

While Kelley Armstrong could give us some more details about her world, "Sea of Shadows" is definitely a solid start to a new high fantasy series -- and the two buttkicking heroines don't hurt either.
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on 11 February 2015
I really enjoyed the start of this series by Kelley Armstrong. I own almost every book she's published and I can say this one is vastly unique to her other works. The format itself took a little time to get used to, she's used it before in storytelling switching between two characters POV and it can be frustrating at time. (We all want to go back and find out what happened next immediately!) I'm looking forward to the next book coming out this April.
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Review originally posted on my book blog:


I found it hard to rate this book.
The entire concept of the book I really enjoyed, with the main characters being the Seeker and Keeper of Edgewood, and the idea behind the spirit world being important here. I loved the explanations to how their world works, and the descriptions of the different places within.

I liked the main characters – Moria and Ashyn – very much, because their personalities were so diverse but also balanced each other out equally. You could definitely tell the difference between which chapters were based around Moria or Ashyn’s thoughts and adventures, with them each having different responses to the problems they faced.

Towards the end I lost interest for a short amount of time, as it became more political and informative, however this didn’t last long at all. The entire story was action packed. I had a small issue with the names of the monsters brought in, as they seemed kind of cringey and sounded unrealistic, however the scenes involving them were great.

The ending was quick paced and left me wanting more, so I am very interested in picking up the next book in the series!

Rated 3.5//5 stars
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on 14 April 2014
I usually really enjoy Kelley Armstrong's books, but am finding this one hard to get in to. Maybe because it is outside her usual genre. Will keep going and hope for the best.
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on 16 August 2015
This is truly an action packed fantasy in which we have twin sisters who have known sadness and loss however they rise to unbelievable challenges with strength of character, bravery and love.  
Ashyn being the seeker has the responsibility of  putting dead spirits to rest. For the first time entering alone  into the forest searching for bodies of the damned to carry out this undertaking.
Moria being the keeper has the responsibility of protecting the empire from unsettled spirits.  Duty bound to protect the village during the seeking she is unhappy that her twin sister has to enter the dangerous forest without her.
Both girls have their own trusty strong companions bound to them Tova a giant yellow hound and Daigo, Moria's wildcat.  
Kelley Armstrong has beauitifully created this mystical, unsettling and harsh World in which the characters are embarking on an adventure of epic proportions.
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