ARC Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

April 6, 2014 Review 50 ★★½

ARC Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher
Pages: 416
Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Series: Age of Legends #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Paranormal, Young Adult
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


This is a DNF review. Only 60% was read, the rest was skimmed.

I’m a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s books so I was ecstatic for this one, especially after reading that synopsis. We need more sibling centered/family books in YA. 

I actually really liked SEA OF SHADOWS when I first started reading it. The book had pretty good pacing, interesting characters, and more than a few secrets I was anxious to figure out. But after two hundred pages of all that with no rise in the plot, trying to finish this one became tedious.

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Character development is pretty much always necessary in a book, but the development in these characters didn’t always lean toward growth. After awhile, it seemed like I was reading about an entirely new set of characters, almost all of them had changed and read differently than they had in the beginning. The love interests I had liked in the beginning became soft and sappy while one of the main characters turned into more of a damsel in distress.

SEA OF SHADOWS was too much of the same thing for too long. After the initial bout of action and fast pacing in the beginning, it leveled out and it seemed like nothing was happening for awhile. And there is a point where you just have to say


This book hooks you in at the start, which was great for me. However, if you are the type that tends to lose interest or patience with a book towards the middle because things are dragging out, SEA OF SHADOWS may weigh you down. Otherwise, it’s not too bad of a book.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.4

50 Responses to “ARC Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong”

  1. Melliane

    oh that’s sad I was really curious about this one. Like you I love Kelley but well I think I’ll wait before reading this one…

    • Alise

      Exactly! I have no issue with longer books but they have to somehow keep me interested for the most part.

  2. Joy (Joyousreads)

    Oh that’s too bad. I’m a huge fan of Kelley and her work, but I have no patience with sluggish plot. I’m pretty surprised with the character development, though. I have not read any of her books that I didn’t like. I guess there’s a first time for everything. :/ Great review, Alise.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Hoarders: Books Edition, Episode 106

    • Alise

      Same here. I loved her Darkest Powers books so it was an even bigger disappointment. If you really like the sound of it, I would definitely say still give it a try! Thanks!

    • Alise

      It’s really a shame. If I hear the sequel for this one is good I may go back and try and read it but… I think I’m out as well. Haha :)

  3. Lola

    I love Kelley Armstrong her writing style and I was so looking forward to this one, but I’ve read quite some reviews that mentioned it was slow. So I am a bit hesitant to start it now. I still hope I enjoy it, but I have lowered my expectations a bit.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #68

    • Alise

      Yeah, definitely just have patience with it (because that’s what I lacked) and I think you still may come out really enjoying this one!

    • Alise

      That’s really too bad, I wonder what happened to her writing, I love her older stuff. Yeah..

      Thank you :D

  4. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    Oh bummer. Sorry to hear it wasn’t a great read for you! I love Kelley’s books so I am obligated to try it out! Reading a sort of variety of reviews as well. Hoping that it will at least be able to please me! Nice review!

    • Alise

      I actually am curious to see what a new reader to her works would think of this one, I’ve have to go read some reviews as see. If I had that rule this one would probably get a much lower rating from me, haha!

  5. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    *Sighs* I can definitely see where you’re coming from Alise…it’s always really annoying when books are too long for their own good. And the fact that the characters don’t develop? No. Just no. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves in books, so I don’t blame you!

    Sorry you didn’t like this one as much as you hoped you would Alise. Hopefully your next read is better! <3
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…The Winner’s Curse

    • Alise

      They develop but they almost revert, if that makes sense. It seems like all the growth they do is forgotten. Too long with bad pacing :c

      Thanks :3

    • Alise

      It’s kind of a tradeoff because the beginning had good pacing but yeah, I didn’t have a lot of patience at that point in the book.

    • Alise

      I haven’t read that many other reviews (if any, actually!) but it’s nice to know that someone else is having the same issues with this one!

  6. Kirsty-Marie

    Well, I’m so glad I DNF’D it when I did. I think I got to around 10% (and I usually go to at least 30% before calling it a day) but I had to keep reading a few pages over and over because my brain kept wandering, so obviously it wasn’t interested. 416 pages isn’t that long but if it draaaaaags then it might as well be 800 because booooring. But, what’s up with the character changes? Growth, yes, but it sounds like they went backwards…Yeah, I’m really glad I left it. I really do not have any luck with Kelley Armstrong’s books.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Don’t Look Back

    • Alise

      Ooooh, if you thought it lagged there then yeah, no worries giving it up. It got much worse around the 200 page mark. Exactly! It seems like you are getting nowhere if the book is that slow.

    • Alise

      Yeah, is really was because it started out great! The dynamic between the sisters was probably my favorite part but they weren’t together in the story for very long so :/

    • Alise

      Yeah, they almost reverted… like forgot everything they went through. It starts off fast but fizzles out after awhile, which is almost worst.

  7. Romi Foster

    Sorry this one didn’t work for you, Alise, especially after a promising start; I think it’s only happened once or twice that I’ve gotten into a book and then, after around half, just start to really dislike it and struggle to finish. It’s maybe happened twice, and always leaves me far more disappointed than if I hadn’t liked it in the beginning. I do think this one sounds quite interesting, too, so it’s unfortunate it didn’t work. Hope your next read is/was better!
    Romi Foster recently posted…“When Did you See her Last?” by Lemony Snicket…

    • Alise

      That’s exactly how I feel! And you’re right, it’s worse in a way. Plus if I got through that much only to put it down it’s even more disappointing because of all the time I put into it. Thank you!

    • Alise

      I can’t believe it either, but that’s what it came out to. Almost a 2.5 though ;) There’s still hope! Let me know if you read it!

  8. Aman

    I really liked her Women of Otherworld series, but some of them were unnecessary stretched too. Kelly Armstrong books are kind of a hit and miss for me, so I’m glad that you read it before me and saved me time :D Hopefully your next book will be much better!
    Aman recently posted…What to do when in a reading slump

    • Alise

      I’m beginning to think that about her too because some of her stuff I actually loved too. Haha! Thanks :)

  9. Amelia

    I love the cover for the book at least! Sorry you didn’t like this book, but even though you didn’t I still found your post very interesting and most bloggers just say it was awful (the book if they didn’t like it) so thanks! :)
    Amelia recently posted…Insurgent by Veronica Roth-Review

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