This book swept me off my feet with all its characters, its world building, and the entire story. The two main characters, Teriana and Marcus (who is not really Marcus--you have to read the book to find out what that means!) are so human with all their flaws, all the evil and the good they have done. I loved reading from their perspective and immerse in a world of emotions where the characters are torn between doing what's right for their people and yet keeping their humanity. In many instances, these two act so mature when, in fact, they they are still teenagers. They are rough and tough on the outside, but vulnerable on the inside.
First there is Teriana, "A SAILOR WITH A WILL OF IRON--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." (description from Goodreads)
She struggles all the time with her loyalties and how to do right by everyone. And here she meets Marcus, a most unusual ally...or isn't he?
Marcus, "THE SOLDIER WITH A SECRET--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." (description from Goodreads).
You can definitely feel the ancient Roman inspiration for the Celendor Empire that sends Marcus and Teriana to the DARK SHORES and the DARK SHORES have a mystical and mythological aura. This combination makes for a great read!
Teriana and Marcus are forced on a dangerous quest on behalf of a power-hungry politician who doesn't care about anything but being powerful. His dark motives to conquer the DARK SHORES forces Teriana and Marcus into an unlikely--and not really willing--alliance. How far are they willing to go to save those they love?
Speaking of love: Romance is usually something that annoys me in YA books, because of all this "I see you, fall in love, kiss, and I ride into the sunset with you (on a dragon, maybe?). This book is refreshingly different; the romantic chemistry the characters have is so strong, but Danielle Jensen doesn't push it on the reader. It is intertwined very subtly into the story. In this book, I believe the romance is an element that is sort of necessary. It causes drama and triggers twists. It's like a little piece of popcorn stuck between your teeth. It's not huge, but you sense it, and you want to dig it out.
This is one of the books that leaves me hanging and wanting more and sometimes wishes do come true, ya know! There will be a sequel coming out and Yours Truly will be the first in line to get her hands on a copy! Just as the DARK SHORES cover, the cover of DARK SKIES is just as gorgeous! Take a look! Floating to you in a bottle at a shore near you :-)
Danielle L. Jensen is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malediction Trilogy (Angry Robot), the Dark Shores series (Tor Teen), and The Bridge Kingdom series (Audible Originals). She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family.