Sea of Shadows, Empire of Night and Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends #1, #2 and #3)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publication: April 8th 2014, April 7th 2015 and April 5th 2016
Format: Kindle Edition 406 pages, Kindle Edition 432 pages and Kindle Edition 448 pages
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Read: October 2016 and February 2017
Sea of Shadows
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.
Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book is really slow paced and there was some action that kept me entertained but it wasn’t what I was expecting. The world building was really confusing and it took me awhile to really get into the story and to grasp everything that was going on. This book deals with death, monsters, religion and rituals. There’s a lot of play on legends and magic which was everything interesting.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This particular writing style is really verbose and old fashioned. It’s at a slow but steady pace and it’s descriptive and detailed. However, the world building is really confusing and messy. I didn’t understand it at all and it kept me from automatically getting lost into the story. In general, it took me awhile to get into the story because of the older style writing.
Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
This is probably my least favorite part of this book. I felt like the majority of the characters fit into certain boxes or stereotypes and it didn’t help me connect to any of them. The two main characters are twins, Moria and Ashyn. First thing first, it took me a really long time to get comfortable with the names. They are much more complicated than they need to be. I kept reading Moria as Moira and it drove me nuts honestly.
Both of them are stereotypically completely different. Moria has a really strong personality. She’s kind of defensive and temperamental. She’s definitely more of a warrior type and spends a lot of time investigating and practicing fighting. She’s really protective of her sister but not overly emotional. She tends to be seen as the tougher one, with a kind of coldness and practicality to her personality.
Ashyn on the other hand is really shy, meek and quiet. She’s much more book smart and the more romantic of the twins. She’s really naive and almost overprotected in a way. She feels very much out of her depth and completely unsure of how to stay safe and stay alive. She knows more about medicine and tending to wounds but is kind of useless in a battle.
There are also a lot of side characters in this book, each with their own complex personalities. It took me awhile to keep everyone straight in my head because there’s a lot of different players in this complicated story. Because of that, it was harder for me to connect to them and I wish I could’ve seen them grow more then they did in this book.
Empire of Night
Sisters Moira and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood.
or at least, they were.
Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, they are all but prisoners in court, forced to watch and wait while the Emperor decides whether to help the children of Edgewood, who remain hostages of the treacherous Alvar Kitsune.
But when the emperor finally sends the girls on a mission to rescue the children – accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of men – the journey proves more perilous than any of them could have imagined. With lies and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on every bit of influence and power they possess to unite their people and avert an all-out war.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book picked up the pace a bit more and it’s much more action packed as well. Thankfully, there’s much more information on the world and how the empire they live in actually works. It’s still a bit confusing though with this second book, I’m definitely getting the hang of things. There’s more romance in this one, lots of twists and turns and monsters. It was definitely a lot more exciting than the first book.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is, luckily, really easy to read and has a steady pace to go along with the plot. It’s really descriptive and detailed though it can still get kind of confusing sometimes. It’s really verbose and old fashioned. The characters voices sound much older than they are because of the way their empire is. However, the world building has definitely improved in this one and things make much more sense.
Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is still the section in which I’m struggling with the most in this series which sucks because characters are my favorite parts of books. Though it’s definitely improved from the first book as well.
Moria is really freaking angry in this book. The ending of the last book kind of shook her and she’s now questioning the things she thought were right. She’s hurt and she feels betrayed. However, she’s still smart and confident in who she is and the plot of this book pushes her to become much more open and honest.
While I’m not the biggest fan of Ashyn, I really like the development she had in this book. She’s much more confident and much more outgoing but without losing her personality and the person that she is. She’s still smart and is becoming much more aware of her surroundings but still can’t really fight and is overprotected by some of the male characters.
There are more side characters added in this book, much more than I was expecting, but at the same time, they’re all fleshed out much more than in the first book. I enjoyed that there was much more development for all of the characters.
Forest of Ruin
The empire rests on the edge of a knife, and sisters Ashyn and Moria are the handle and the blade. Desperate to outmaneuver the evil Alvar Kitsune, whose hold on the people grows stronger every day, Emperor Tatsu begs Moria to put aside past grievances and ally with Gavril—at least long enough to make an attempt on Alvar’s life. Meanwhile, reunited with her long-lost grandfather, Ashyn discovers that she is the key to a ritual that could reawaken an ancient dragon and turn the tide of the coming battle in their favor.
But with lies and betrayal lurking around every corner, Ashyn and Moria will have to decide once and for all where their allegiances are. And it may not be where their hearts would lead them…
In this breathtaking final book in her trilogy the Age of Legends, author Kelley Armstrong blends fantasy, action, and romance to give readers the unforgettable ending they’ve been waiting for.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book is set at a steady, medium pace but the action keeps going. There’s also some mystery in this one, revolving around dragons which is pretty cool. There’s a lot more focus on romance in this one as well and it’s so much easier to understand than the rest of the books have been. There’s twists and turns and lots of violence (it can get graphic) but I feel like the ending was very solid and conclusive.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style as always is descriptive and detailed. There’s a steady pace that flows with the plot and I really enjoy that the POV’s are very distinct. The characters speak with big words and it’s all very old fashioned in style. It’s easy to read and I ended up enjoying it much more as the series continued.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Finally, one of these books where I don’t have some huge complain about the characters. They will never become favorites of mine but I have to say that they definitely improved as the series went on.
Moria is a freaking badass lady. She’s so logical, smart and crafty. She’s gotten better at working through her emotions but it doesn’t stop her from continuing to be brave and fiercely protective and strong. She’s super blunt and is always looking at things in a different perspective than other people. Though she had a lot of development, I think it was more of building on who she already was and making her even better.
Ashyn on the other hand had the most extensive development out of everyone in the series. She started out really shy and timid and pretty much scared of a bunch of things. But as things progressed and she started to become more confident, she blossomed. She’s passionate, determined and smart. She’s kind as always but much more blunt and honest with herself and others. I love how self-confidence helped her become a much more well rounded person and someone that can kick ass in her own way.
All the side characters now feel much more three dimensional and fleshed out. They’ve always been complex but since there were so many, I never felt like I got to know them as much as I wanted to but that was definitely fixed in this book.
I’m a fan of Kelley Armstrong and I’ve really loved some of her other series but this one definitely isn’t the best and it definitely doesn’t come close to being a favorite.
I was really disappointed with this first book. I’m a fan of her urban fantasy series but this high fantasy one let me down. The plot is slow. We follow twin sisters, Moria and Ashyn, who are the Keeper and Seeker of their village Edgewood, basically sort of spiritual controllers. During an important Seeker ritual, things start to turn deadly and the girls, their two companions and the kidnapped children of their village are the only survivors. I did my best to describe the plot with these two sentences, but if it sounds confusing, that’s because it is. At the sart of this book, you’re thrown into this complex world and you have to figure out what the heck is going on as you go along which took me a really long time to do. These kinds of things tend to work for me when the world building is really precise and detailed, but this one is pretty messy and complicated. While you get bits of information as the plot moves, it took me until probably halfway through the book to be able to grasp the world and then to move on and try to keep the characters names and identities clear. The names were really confusing and hard to remember and differentiate and I couldn’t really understand the kind of culture she was trying to portray. It felt like a very strange mix of various different inspirations but they didn’t mesh as well as I’m sure the author hoped they would. The plot itself is really slow and sometimes kind of boring. Basically it’s made up of the main characters traveling. They travel through the desert and then they travel to the capital. In between all these travels, there’s some action and twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting but not enough to really keep me engaged and interested in what was going on in the plot. Moria and Ashyn, the main characters of this series, are both really different from each other, almost to the point of it being an exaggeration. I definitely liked Moria much more than Ashyn because she’s the most outspoken out of the two, even though I’m probably much similar to Ashyn. I appreciated that the POV’s felt different between the characters. It didn’t feel like the usual way dual point of views are done which I liked. There are quite a few side characters in the story, some who have page time and others who were mentioned but never ever seen. I felt pretty much okay about the majority of them. Two of them get a lot more attention as they are the twins’ companions, Gavril and Ronan. Gavril is a soldier in a way. He’s really rough around the edges and not really the kind of person who opens up to people. He kind of annoyed me a few times but I also really enjoyed seeing the push and pull kind of relationship that he had with Moria. Ronan is definitely a sneakier character. He wasn’t originally part of Edgewood and he jumped into this adventure out of nowhere. But he was also really charming and funny and I’m really interested to see more of him. I wish the characters had much more development in this book and I hope it improves in the coming books.
While the first book in the series was disappointing, this second book improved on a lot of things that I had problems with in that one. The plot is full of action. We follow Moria and Ashyn who, after sharing their hardships in Edgewood with the emperor, are frustrated with the lack of progress being made to save the children from their home. When they’re sent on a rescue mission, the journey ends up being much harder than they think. I definitely enjoyed this book much more than the first one. The plot has a lot more action and it’s more engaging, I wanted to continue reading and to find out what was happening. There is more traveling in this book as well and we get to see more of the world and the empire that all these characters are living in. I was still confused by a few things, it’s such a complicated world with so many different inspirations for it, but I still think that if helped the plot move much more progressively. In this book, one of the characters becomes a prisoner of the antagonist and it was really interesting to be able to see behind enemy lines. It helped shape the plot much better in my opinion because I could see both perspectives of this potential war that started brewing in the first book. The twins are separated and because of that, we see so much more than in the first book. The empire is vast and the people are very unique to each kind of region and that was also something that helped me understand the world better, to see all these different cultural traditions. However, I’m just not that invested in what happens next. The ending added a new dimension to the plot and to everything that was happening that feels too big to really be resolved in one book. I don’t really know how everything will be wrapped up and I feel like I might not enjoy it. Moria had more of a spotlight in this book. Her point of view is the more precarious one. I really enjoy her character development. She’s just as harsh and as confrontational as she was in the first book but the things that happened then has affected her personality. She’s so much more mature and is managing to think beyond her emotions and learning to think ahead and strategize. Ashyn has also grown a lot after the events of the first books. She’s much more mature but in a much different way than her sister. Because they are separated, she can’t rely on Moria to help her out of things and she can’t feel threatened or overshadowed by her either. It gives her room to spread her wings and to learn a bit about defending herself and to trust her own instincts because there’s no one there to save her. I really like how even though she’s becoming more vocal and firm, she’s still shy and quiet, she’s grown but she’s not a different person. I’ll talk briefly about the side characters because this is getting super long. Tyrus is a new character that is introduced in this book and I love him! He’s absolutely amazing and actually really refreshing since his personality is the most positive and upbeat of them all. Ronan frustrated me beyond belief in this book. I wanted to shake him and finally get him to do something and stick to it gosh! Gavril is now annoying me. I don’t like how his characterization is turning out and I don’t want him to be a part of a romance. I hope what I’m imagining doesn’t really happen in the next book.
This third book is definitely the best one of the trilogy and I think it was the perfect ending for it as well. The plot is intricate. We follow Moria and Ashyn, twins separated while their kingdom is in the brink of war. One is implored to ally with the enemy while the other is confronted with mythical creatures and her potential power to wake them. I really had no idea how the author was going to pull off a complete ending to a trilogy with all the new plot lines that she introduced in the second book. This idea with the dragons came kind of out of nowhere (but I should’ve known considering the cover of the third book) so I didn’t really know how things were going to wrap themselves up. It just felt like there was a lot of stuff left undone and with the potential to blow up and it worried me a little bit. I didn’t want this book to have an incomplete ending or a lackluster one because I felt that the series was improving with each book and I would’ve been really disappointed with either of the two things I just mentioned happening. However, I am very happy to say that neither of those things happened! There was a lot of action and a lot of back and forth with the way things were playing out which kept me engaged with the story and continually wanting to get back to it. There were a lot of things that surprised me and that I wasn’t expecting which is pretty cool for me. Unlike the other two books, this one focused much more on the character relationships while not taking away from the pace and action of the story. I really liked that a lot and it endeared me much more to the characters, specially after seeing all they’ve been through in their separate relationships. The last few chapters had me freaking out and on the edge of my seat. Everything that happened felt completely crazy and intense. I liked the epilogue the author shared but I think the last few lines were really weird. Moria is much more level headed and emotionally open. She grew so much from the first book to the second book. I liked that the romance she was involved in was the easiest to develop I guess, because it showed how much she was really learning about life and about herself. Ashyn grew on me, specially with all she deals with in this book. She’s brave and passionate and determined. I like how she’s now not afraid to speak her mind and to make herself be heard. I usually talk about the side characters now but I honestly just want to say that I like the way the two separate romances developed in this book. They were very unique and very different from each other and I liked their development for different reasons. I got nervous for a bit there in the second book because of some triangle kinds of hints but I’m glad it ended up not happening that way.
Overall, I ended up liking this series. It’s definitely not my favorite that the author has done and I had a lot of issues with the way she did her world building and the kind of world that it was. However, I really liked the character development throughout the whole series and I feel like enjoyed it that much more because of how well I think it was done. I like the way everything concluded and I’m looking forward to seeing what else I pick up from this author.
So that’s it for this post! I’ve spent all day today trying to get it posted on a Monday and it’s 11:57 pm here so I’m keeping this brief. Let me know if you’ve read any Kelley Armstrong or if you’ve read this series and what you thought of it. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!