High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, the first novel in a new YA fantasy series.
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.
At first, I wanted to give it four stars as I felt like I’d been loving everything too much then decided, screw it, I loved it and I wanted to give it 5 stars.
I did receive this book as an eARC from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
This book really delivered!
I adored Jensen’s blend of the Roman-inspired Celendor Empire and the amazing Maarin traders.
Teriana is more than just a Maarin Sailor, she is an heir to the Maarin Triumvirate and best friend to the daughter of a Cel Senator.
In an attempt to save her friend, Teriana jeopardizes her people, their way of life, and the fate of multiple countries.
Forced to enter a bargain, Teriana’s fate, and the fate of the Maarin are now tied with Cel Legionnaire and Legatus, Marcus.
He is the reason she’s alive, and she’s the reason he’s escaped the eyes of the Senate but their voyage is a dangerous one and despite have their fates intertwined, it does nothing to give them a shared cause other than survival.
Jensen’s world building is great and if this weren’t a trilogy I’d be screaming for more in this novel but I’m rest assured there’ll be more to come and temporarily appeased though I’m still just as impatient for book two.
Teriana and Marcus seem quite tangible in their feelings and not just in romance but I mean their regard of one another and what is occurring around them. Not to mention they’re both faced with limited choices.
One could easily judge them but they have done what they have to protect those that matter to them. And really in the same situation what wouldn’t most do to protect those they care about. I love books that live in a grayscale world, it’s so much more believable when they make their choices, even if you might disagree with them.
Teriana is for appearances fearless but she runs deeper than that, she’s as complex as anyone would be in her situation and I love her all the more for it. She is a strong female character and not just because she’s brave or doesn’t cry, because she does, and she does show fear, it’s because she’s got such a good heart and makes choices out of love and I think that’s admirable.
Marcus definitely has you realizing not everything is quite so black and white but I think Teriana really steals the show for me. Her and the other Cel soldiers and her Maarin crew.
There’s so much to look forward to with regards to the Dark Shores and more lands to find out about. It’s like we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg and that makes me so incredibly happy!
I loved this adventure of the high seas and uncharted lands (well uncharted to the Cel!) and hope the wait isn’t too long for book 2!