DARK SHORES (Dark Shores #1)
Written by Danielle L. Jensen
Published by Tor Teen, May 7, 2019
My star rating – 4 stars
In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.
A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON
Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.
A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET
Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.
A DANGEROUS QUEST
When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice. Find it on Goodreads
Have you ever picked up a book, knowing that you’re going to love it, but still you’re surprised by how much you enjoyed it? That’s the case with this book! It had so much of what I was looking for in a fantasy – a strong female, lady pirates, magic, adventure, politics, and so much more. But it was the way this book was written and presented that totally made me fall in love!
First and foremost, this book was one hell of an adventure! We have a pirate ship commanded by a group of strong women. A mother and daughter, along with an aunt. It’s rare that you have lady pirates let alone 3 very strong willed and independent women! Teriana (the daughter) also had an unlikely friendship. Being out at sea for so long, friends are usually only those aboard the ship. But Teriana was good friends with a Senators daughter…. and the respective parents weren’t really all too happy about the situation. But their friendship, along with the changes in politics, set in motion changes that neither one of them was prepared for….. and here comes the soldier. Teriana signs a contract that forces her to take a group of soldiers to another part of the world that they thought was only a myth. This both dooms her soul and possibly the lives of those residing in the west. Literally everything about this plot was so fresh and new! Female pirates, gods, magical beings and travel, unlikely friendships, falling for your captor, following orders or your heart……. there was just SOOOO much happening in this book!
Even though the plot was interesting, and the pace was fairly consistent, it was the writing style that I absolutely fell in love with! To me, her characters and the plot felt gritty…. and I mean that in the best way possible! There was an undertone of sarcasm, humour, darkness, and wonder behind everything. So often in YA fantasy, this doesn’t happen enough. Both Teriana and Marcus have had difficult lives filled with struggle, conflict, abandonment, and so much more. They carried around so much baggage yet all they wanted was what was best for those they loved. They were jaded and they wore it on their sleeves. The way that the author writes just works with my personality so well! Especially Teriana! She didn’t like to accept help or admit defeat. She loved completely or not at all. She also got an insane amount of enjoyment from handing someone their own ass on a silver platter, smiling all the while!
One of the things that I think was done SO WELL with this book was balance! Especially when it came to plot and world building. She effortlessly built upon the story as you were moving along in your journey, adding layer after layer as we continued to read. I felt like I was constantly learning something about the world, the characters, and the action. It didn’t move so fast that my head was spinning, but I was never allowed to slow down and get bored, or even wonder when something was going to happen. There as also a perfect balance with the relationships of the characters.
The only issue that I had was that literally nothing was resolved at the end of this book. I ended with just as many questions and open ended situations as when I began. I was really hoping that at least something, even if it was just one thing, was resolved at the end. I get it. This is a series, and those questions will be answered as we read the sequels. But, throw me a bone here!!! I also regret that I didn’t have enough time to read this book in one sitting…… I liked it THAT much!
I can pretty much place bets that I will read ANYTHING this author writes! There’s something about her writing style that I loved so much! I can’t wait for the sequel and I can finally get some answers!
Thank you so much to Raincoast books Canada and Tor Teen for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are uninfluenced.
Until next time, happy reading!