Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Publisher:  Doubleday Canada

Sale date: April 8, 2014

About the book:

The first book of a bold and hugely anticipated new YA trilogy by the phenomenal Kelley Armstrong. 
   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.  [Source: Random House]

This story takes place in a world where superstition and rituals are an important part of everyday life and twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are responsible for appeasing the spirit world and protecting their village.

When a ritual to free dead spirits fails and the sisters are separated, both young women embark on a dangerous journey to prevent more bloodshed.

Sea of Shadows starts off with a few suspenseful scenes and events, but the momentum falters and the story runs out of steam. If you enjoy books about spirits and quests, then you might really enjoy this novel, but in payment, you’ll have to read about the subplots involving love interests for each sister!

It actually took me a quite a few chapters before I could keep twins, Moria and Ashyn straight and remember who was who. At first, they both seem quite similar, but then eventually Moria emerges as the feistier twin. The majority of the novel is about their journey–this quest that both sisters must undertake.

The story alternates between each sister’s point of view, but, like I mentioned, their voices aren’t distinct enough early on, which is why I couldn’t always remember which twin was narrating. Add to that, the many names mentioned and I almost needed to have a character list on hand to keep track of everyone. Unfortunately, this made it harder for me to get into the story right away, but other readers might have an easier time jumping into the world of the book.

Overall, Sea of Shadows would be a good pick if you’re in the mood for a story about twin sisters who can fend for themselves, talk to spirits, and fight off supernatural beings. I was interested in what would happen to the young women as the story unfolded, and almost wished there wasn’t a romance angle to the story to get in the way.

Note: There are a few gruesome and frightening scenes — maybe just save this for in-class silent reading if you’re the type to get scared at night!