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Sea of Shadows: Age of Legends #1    by Kelley Armstrong order for
Sea of Shadows
by Kelley Armstrong
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Kelley Armstrong is well known for her YA Darkness Rising and Darkest Powers series (set in the same world as her adult Women of the Otherworld fantasy books). Now she launches something a bit different, though with the familiar elements of young love, horror and magic, in this new Age of Legends series that begins with Sea of Shadows.

Its female leads are twin sisters Moria and Ashyn, who were tested early in life and trained to fill the roles of Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood. Ashyn has as companion a giant yellow hound, Tova, while Moria has wildcat Daigo at her side. When she turns sixteen, Ashyn must enter the Forest of the Dead to 'find the bodies of the damned and put their spirits to rest.' Of course, all goes awry. The sisters' village is destroyed and the twins are separated. But each gains a new companion.

Forced to live as a thief to survive, Ronan was exiled to the Forest of the Dead, along with his father and uncle. Before he entered the forest, Moria tossed him a dagger, prompted by the spirits. It helped him to survive the forest and later to come to Ashyn's aid against shadow stalkers. Gavril Kitsune, son of the disgraced former marshall, has been assigned to guard the forest. Moria has long known Gavril and they are constantly at odds. He defends her after the village is destroyed and its children stolen.

Both pairs head to the imperial city to warn the emperor and seek help to recover the children. They face new dangers along the way from mercenaries and bandits, death worms and thunder hawks, and sorcery. This episode ends on a cliffhanger of betrayal and grief, with war looming. Though I didn't enjoy this as much as Kelley Armstrong's other YA books, Sea of Shadows is an engrossing read and I'm curious to see where she takes the story next.

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