Even though I don’t read Fantasy often and I’ve slowly been getting into the genre, this has to be one of my favorites. Also, my first 5-star review! Never would I have thought I’d get sucked into a sea adventure mixed with gods and Ancient Roman times. It’s basically everything Fantasy wise, into one book—well series since I can’t wait for the second novel!
Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen follows the story of Terianna, second in command to the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Born with the seas, Terianna collides with drama when her friend has to marry because of her dad’s soon passing. With an idea in mind, Terianna hopes to help a friend escape an unwanted betrothal. It doesn’t help when Marcus, commander of the Thirty-Seventh is assigned to kill Terianna’s friend and take over the Maarin people, for their access to the Endless Seas. When someone finds out Marcus’ dark secret and Terianna’s people are captured, they’re forced to abide to save their secrets and loved ones.
Okay, I tried to summarize a blur with no spoilers but if you’d like to read the official blurb, then you can here. Thank you to NetGalley who approved my request, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I read the blurb. Also, TorTeen, ever since Dark Shores I’ve been adding books from them into my TBR list.
When I first started with this book, it confused because of the terminology used, thankfully the author provided a glossary at the end of the book where I flicked back to now and then. I loved the pace of the book; it wasn’t too quick for me not to digest the information and understanding of every chapter and it wasn’t draggy—AT ALL. Every second chapter had an epic ending that made you want more if there was a cliffhanger. Usually, with me, I find there’s a lot of dialogue in Fantasy (based on past books I’ve read) but this had action, adventure, and suspense. It was from Terianna and Marcus’ perspective which I liked. The different lives and ways of living, Marcus the commander and twenty? twenty-one? And Terianna, a captain of the Quinecense at seventeen! Things are bound to fly.
Terianna wasn’t like another female MC in a Fantasy novel. She was mature yet still played around and joked as a teenage girl would. She’s very decisive and doesn’t give up easily. Even when her people are captured, she was strong and loyal to a point where Marcus even knew he couldn’t break her. She has a good heart yet doesn’t let it show as a weakness, throughout the novel we see Terianna get soft but her actions make up for it. Marcus on the other hand, I couldn’t get enough of him. At one point I felt sorry for him—I think it was the scene where he spoke to his brother then his sister—but him too, shows none weakness. You’d think he’s a grownup, but he’s only in his twenties? The decisions he makes, how far he’s willing to go to save not only his men but to do the right thing. Both of them don’t let feelings get in the way, which I found essential otherwise it’d take the essence away of it being Fantasy and Adventure. There’s romance but just enough!
My favorite parts would have been when they were all on the ship trying to enter the Dark Shores. That was a suspenseful time yet it was interesting to read how Marcus and his comrades reacted to seeing the sea gods and how Terianna communicated with them. I can imagine this on the big screen. I also liked the parts when Terianna got along with the soldiers yet still seeing them as the enemy in the end. She doesn’t lose her morals and what she truly came for.
If you’re looking for something new, especially tiring of one specific type of Fantasy that you’re latched on and want to read something new yet has a bit of everything, I’d recommend this book. I can’t wait for the second novel where I hope the author includes a map and more glossary terms! After reading this book through NetGalley, I’ve added it to my ‘to buy’ list because I want this book on my shelf!