cover image Sea of Shadows

Sea of Shadows

Kelley Armstrong. Harper, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-207124-8

This promising first book in Armstrong's Age of Legends fantasy series introduces a sinister empire populated by spirits, anthropomorphic animals, and preternaturally talented humans. Chosen in a brutal ritual as infants and assigned to control the spirits that haunt the land, twin sisters Ashyn and Moria are the Seeker and Keeper of Edgewood. Their village borders the Forest of the Dead, where the Empire sends its criminals to die; venturing into the woods to purify the dead, the girls are separated by a nefarious paranormal force. When Moria and her wildcat, Daigo, find the inhabitants of Edgewood slaughtered, their children missing, and mercenaries on the march, she and Gavril Kitsune, an aristocratic warrior of a disgraced family, trek across the Wastes to find Ashyn and warn the Empire. While the narrative is at times overstuffed, resulting in sluggish pacing in the first half of the book, the antagonistic romance between the girls and their unlikely companions is sweetly tantalizing. A startling betrayal provides momentum for a sequel. Ages 13%E2%80%93up. Agent: Helen Heller Agency, Inc. (Apr.)