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Books I Read: Sea of Shadows & Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Sea of Shadows by Kelley ArmstrongI’m pretty sure my readership on these book review posts is ~0 [+/- 1] but just in case, can you let me know if you prefer to have about three books in one post, one book per post, or no book posts at all? I kinda assume those who prefer no books will just skip this altogether, but hey, might as well include it as a potential option.

For those who don’t know and might care, for a couple years before Writing Whimsy I used to run a strictly book blog. I still have this slightly obsessive tendency to review ALL THE BOOKS (that I read…) and generally, those reviews land here. Eventually. Maybe like a year after I’ve read the book at this rate.

Today’s post is dedicated to a little Kelley Armstrong love. She’s a Canadian author who generally writes urban fantasy/paranormal fiction of both the young adult and adult variety. I have one of each to share!

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Sea of Shadows by Kelley ArmstrongSea of Shadows* is the first book in a new(ish, it was released in April 2014) young adult series by Kelley Armstrong. I adored her Darkest Powers/Darkness Rising Trilogies, so I was really excited to pick this one up, even if the premise was quite different and much less paranormal and more fantasy. Plus, I’m a twin, and this book is about twin girls, Moria and Ashyn, who are the Keeper and the Seeker. Each has an important and complimentary role that keep the people safe from the Spirits. Moria goes into the Forest of the Dead, but this year instead of settling the Spirits, the entire group is viciously attacked, and it turns out the village has been too. Moria and Ashyn are separated, and as they cross the Wasteland to reunite and warn the emperor, they are followed by an ancient evil.

Armstrong switches between the two girls’ points-of-view, and although I enjoyed them both, Moria is definitely a little more exciting–and impulsive–than Ashyn. Also, her companion for the journey, Gavril, was kinda a jerk but also probably my favourite character of the book. They both have a companion animal which is probably unnecessary but I like animals so I’ll go with it.

Although well-written, Sea of Shadows was quite slow, especially the first half of the book while all the world building takes place. However, by the time I had made it three quarters in, I was fully captivated and hooked. I wish it had gotten its start a bit faster, but although it isn’t my favourite Armstrong book, there was enough potential and excitement, especially at the end, that I will pick up its sequel, Empire of the Night when it is released in April. Then I’ll probably wait 8 months to review it, as I do.

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Visions by Kelley ArmstrongVisions* by Kelley Armstrong is actually a sequel to Omens–so if you haven’t read that, this review contains some spoilers and you can learn more about Omens by checking out this post where I gave a copy of the book away. Or, you can skip directly to the bottom of this post to comment on how awesome my reviews are.

In Omens, Olivia learns she’s the daughter of serial killers, moves to Cainsville, Illinois to escape the publicity, but then works with Gabriel to clear her parents of one of their crimes. There’s also a little bit of a paranormal element, but it’s quite subtle. In Visions, Olivia continues to experience omens, or signs of impending danger, and that’s what she thinks has happened when she finds a dead body in her car that is dressed like her–only for it to disappear before anyone else sees it. Only, she later recognizes the same girl as one who has gone missing, and it turns out Olivia is working to solve another murder instead.

I was definitely disappointed that Visions got off-topic from Olivia working to clear her parents of their crimes. There is a little bit of a storyline there, but mostly not until the end, and the main focus is elsewhere. Also, in Omens I spent the whole novel rooting for Olivia and Gabriel to fall in love, and that potential storyline also went on the backburner as Olivia develops another relationship instead. I really liked her new love interest, but the actual relationship felt unnecessary, and… Gabriel…

I guess the problem with series–and with Deceptions planned for release this August, there will be more in the Cainsville adventures–is that they often tell more than one story. Having got hooked by one storyline in Omens I was disappointed and a little impatient by the detour. Still, the writing and intensity was still there, and I can only imagine that Armstrong will continue to slowly reveal the answers to my many questions in book 3.

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Have you read anything by Kelley Armstrong before? Let me know if you have! I still haven’t picked up her main adult series, which is also now a TV Show, Bitten/Women of the Otherworld but I may someday when I have time to read 13 books…

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