Book Review | Dark Skies by Danielle Jensen

Book Description

Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

Readers may read either Dark Shores or Dark Skies first! 
Suggested series reading order:
1. Dark Skies or Dark Shores
2. Dark Shores or Dark Skies
3. Gilded Serpent (coming spring 2021)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review – Rave

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Dark Skies by Danielle Jensen is book 2 in the Dark Shores trilogy – an epic fantasy tale that has me eagerly anticipating the final installment scheduled to come out next year. The trilogy is classified as a YA Fantasy, but it quickly sucks adult readers in and does not feel like a story intended for a younger audience.

What I Loved

Killian and Lydia separately and together.  I enjoyed Teriana and Marcus from book 1, but I love Lydia and Killian in this story.  They each have qualities that I connected to on a deeper level.  Lydia is bookish and feels that there are nothings you can’t learn from a book, while Killian – wearing the mark of Tremon, the war god – has been raised to tackle problems as appropriate for a leader among men – with diplomacy first, then with might if all else fails.  They approach problems differently but that both are brave and not afraid to stand up for their convictions.  They do the right thing, even when it is the hardest thing to do.

I love the tightly woven intricacies in this multidimensional world.  Every structure and every landscape is painstakingly detailed to the point it is effortless to immerse yourself in it.  And not one of the senses is overlooked.  I was quickly able to see, hear, smell, and even taste various points of this unknown world, even when it was not pleasant to do so.

The romance plot in the story utilizes plot devices typically only found in romance genre novels. The type of devices that make me hurt for two young lovers who love utterly and unfailingly but for whom their sense of right and wrong keeps them apart.  The unfulfilled romance gives the tale a haunting quality that has stuck with me long after I finished the book.

The concept of the marked ones and the magic they bring is a fun aspect of the story for me.  This aspect had my attention throughout the novel as a lover of anything and everything supernatural and magical.  I want to know more about the gods of the Dark Shore and look forward to finding out more in the third book.

I found the parallels between Dark Shores and Dark Skies very interesting.  Each story was separate but intertwined with the other.  Lydia is introduced in Dark Shores, but you only see her in a few chapters and learn a little more as the characters think about her, and the same goes for Teriana in Dark Skies.  She is present in the first few chapters, and after that, she is just thought of and occasionally mentioned.  Both leading ladies fall in love with a military man. And both stories have a young sidekick character – Bait in Dark Shores and Finn in Dark Skies.  Also, and probably what I loved the most, both stories have elements of repression of women yet contain women of remarkable strength and character, both good and bad. 

Lastly, I found it interesting how the two worlds in the trilogy are the two aspects of the Roman Empire – the West has the belief in gods and intervention from those gods shown by the powers they can bestow. The East has the corrupt democratic empire that is trying to take over the world but has no beliefs in a higher power or powers.  One demonstrates Ancient Rome’s political side and the other – its spiritual side.  I will be curious to see what happens as the two worlds become more aware of each other.

To Read or Not to Read

 I highly recommend this trilogy, as it contains memorable characters, an intricate world, and is full of page-turning action.  What more can you ask?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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