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 SAILOR 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.
From page one of The Dark Shore, I found myself swept away, as the characters were, on the Quincense, and I loved every minute of it. Full of magic and adventure, there was no end to the fast-pace and intense emotions.
What I Loved
I loved the characters. Each one is well-developed, sympathetic, and heroic in their way:
Teriana is strong and proud. She makes decisions that require an extraordinary inner strength reflecting her maturity and ability to lead. Marcus is a born leader with an uncanny ability to understand languages and the people speaking them. Bait is magical, sneaky, and just a pure delight. It feels like he could be a fun, mischievous character during regular times. All three are unique in their own right and drive the story as it moves from conflict to conflict.
The dual narrators – Teriana and Marcus – alternately tell their tale in a manner that has a natural flow and works very well to create the multi-faceted story of the Dark Shore. Frequently I do not care for multiple narrators, but I thought it added something to this story being in the minds of both an Easterner and a Westerner.
I loved that the novel did not read like a YA Fantasy. It felt more like an Epic Fantasy made for any age from teen to adult. Though the main characters are technically teenagers, they are considered adults with adult responsibilities and decisions in their world. They never, even remotely, act like the teenagers in this world.
I loved the setting. The East is reminiscent of Ancient Greece and Rome socio-politically without their belief in gods. It is a very organized world that uses children to grow a robust unstoppable army and practices democracy with rulers elected in a general election. Whereas, the West is made of several countries (or areas) with their own rulers, and they believe in the Six Gods that ultimately control their world. There is a richness to the West that the East does not have, which comes from their beliefs and their culture.
I loved the magic elements. The powers of individual people have not been as developed as of yet, but the battle between the gods was extraordinary. That was my favorite scene in the novel. I can’t wait to see if we find out if there are more powers in the people marked by a god-like Bait and the village healer.
To Read or Not to Read
If you love Epic Fantasy, you will love this swashbuckling, richly-spun tale by Danielle Jensen.