Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen Book Cover

Summary

A PIRATE'S DAUGHTER

Teriana is the daughter of a trading ship captain. Her people have the sea in their bones, their ships are guarded by demigods of the Sea Goddess, and they are the only ones who know how to traverse the never-ending ocean between the East and the West.

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET

Marcus is the leader of the Thirty-Seventh legion, the notorious army that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is the only family he has, and even they don’t know the secret he’s been hiding since childhood.

A DANGEROUS QUEST

When a tyrannical ruler gains power in Celendor, he kidnaps Teriana’s mother and threatens to reveal Marcus’s deepest secret unless the two of them help him conquer the unknown West. The unwilling pair, distrustful of each other’s motivations, join together for the sake of their families, and must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much of themselves they are willing to sacrifice.

Book Details

Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen
Dark Shores Series #1
Publishes on May 7th 2019 by Tor Teen
Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure
Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: ARC from NetGalley / Publisher
My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Politics, betrayal, daring nautical adventures, fearsome gods, magic, and romance fill the pages of Danielle L. Jensen’s new YA fantasy series opener DARK SHORES.

Ever since I first discovered the writings of Danielle L. Jensen in The Malediction series, she became an auto-buy author for me. I love how her books featured compelling, yet flawed characters. She has this knack for making them face dangers while confronting personal moral dilemmas, all the while setting her stories in fascinating worlds readers want to visit and experience.

Dark Shores is the first book in an exciting new young adult, fantasy series that surpassed my high expectations.

The story is set in Celendrial, the crown jewel of the Celendor Empire—a world inspired by the ancient Roman Republic—and the undiscovered Dark Shores—the Western realm only rumored to be true. The worldbuilding is so well done, so vivid and touchable, that the writing just pulls you into the story.

Readers who are craving adventure by sea and land will find plenty to be excited about.

The wealth of Celendrial with its gleaming white buildings, towering statues, and enormous stone wharves contrast beautifully with the beauty, danger, and magic of the sea and lush and untamed lands of the Eastern Empire.

It’s time for you to let go of the lies Mother Empire has whispered in your ear and start seeing the world for what it really is.”
”And what is that?”
”Inexplicable, Limitless. Her gaze went back to the ocean... Divine.

The pirate’s daughter and an enemy soldier make a deadly bargain—to map the Dark Shores.

The story brings together two unlikely allies, Teriana, the daughter of a Maarin trading ship’s captain and Marcus, the notorious battle leader of the Thirty-Seventh legion, on a dangerous quest to reveal the sea path of the never-ending ocean between the East and the West.

Brash, tough, and loyal—Teriana will do anything to protect her people—even if that means revealing a secret entrusted to the Maarin by the very gods.

The sea is her home and running a ship second nature to her, but when it comes to dealing with Marcus, the legionnaire she is sworn to help, she is at a loss. How can one’s enemy become something more?

Marcus hates the tyrannical new ruler over Calendor, but when his family is threatened, he joins forces with a sea-faring group in order to keep them safe.

If it means working with the captain’s insufferable daughter, so be it. Finding a way to chart the Dark Shores and map the undiscovered country of the West means his family’s safety. What Marcus doesn’t expect is the admiration and respect he begins to feel for Teriana.

I loved how we see both the strengths and vulnerabilities these two characters share.

Told from their alternating perspectives, we see them both grappling with moral dilemmas and their growing attractions to one another even as enemies plot to use them both as bait for a treacherous plan that will reach across the shores and shake the very gods awake.

In the End

Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen is an exciting series opener with plenty of nautical and questing adventure. Politics, danger, and romance are carefully interwoven while exciting new worlds are discovered.

I tore through this one and cannot wait for the next installment. Recommended for fans of the author and readers of YA fantasy looking for watery adventure and vivid worldbuilding.