“Dark Shores” by Danielle L. Jensen

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Thanks to Tor Teen and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Having read the wonderful Viper by Bex Hogan recently I was excited to read another swashbuckling adventure based on the high seas. If this whets your appetite then well, you may have to rein your expectations in a bit as the synopsis is telling a few fibs. 

There are two points of view in this novel, the first is that of 17-year-old Teriana, who is touted as…. 

“A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON”  

First things first, she is not a pirate. She is a trader from the Maari culture who are seafaring traders, definitely not pirates. I thought Teriana was pretty cool, she was spunky and dropped some A+ one liners. The concept of the Maari people was interesting and it was great to see a darkskinned heroine front and centre in a YA fantasy novel. 

We also have the viewpoint of Marcus, the… 

SOLDIER WITH A SECRET  

This novel is heavily inspired by the Roman Empire and 19-year-old Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seven, a notorious legion with a fearsome reputation for massacring and enslaving civilians. Marcus was interesting enough I suppose, it’s clear the author has a decent knowledge about Ancient Rome, but I felt sometimes it was a little too inspired by the real-life historical setting. It felt a little jarring with the fantasy elements of the story. 

Marcus and Teriana find themselves thrown together in a quest to open paths from the East to the West, the West being hitherto keep secret from the East.  There is a good amount of action in this novel, but the pacing can be rather strange sometimes with some parts dragging, particularly towards the end. The love story is compelling enough if being rather obvious. I liked the banter between Marcus and Teriana and there were moments of genuine humour.   

There was lots of world building thrown in at the beginning without any real exposition which I found a bit confusing at first.   

This book was not without its issues, but I enjoyed it overall, I got the feeling it wasn’t always sure quite what it wanted to be but the story is fun and exciting and Teriana is likeable enough as a heroine to carry the story.

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