Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen — Review

Dark Shores by Danielle L JensenSummary:

High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, a thrilling first novel in a fast-paced new YA fantasy series by USA Today bestselling author Danielle L. Jensen.

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.

A SAILOR WITH A WILL OF IRON

Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET

Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.

A DANGEROUS QUEST

When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

Review: 4 Stars

I picked this book up because I had seen several great reviews that got me so excited for this story. Dark Shores is a political fantasy with a slow burn enemies-to-lovers romance. I really loved this book and I am so excited that I also have the sequel already. This fantasy novel had me captivated and invested in the journey that Teriana and Marcus took. I am so grateful to everyone who recommended this book to me because they were right, I did love this book.

The characters were done so well. Teriana and Marcus were enemies, each fighting for the opposite side, but as a reader I could never decide who to root for. I understood both of their motivations and I loved both of them so much that I wanted both sides to get what they wanted. Teriana and Marcus were both flawed characters, they felt genuine and stubborn. I did connect with Teriana best because she was loyal, but she also knew how to let loose and have fun. On the other hand, Marcus came off as rigid and hardly let his walls down. Eventually I did feel like I got a real sense of who he was though. Marcus was a character that I grew to love, but I loved Teriana right away.

The plot was insane! There was so much that happened in this story, yet somehow it didn’t feel rushed. The pacing made it hard to set the book down because just when I thought the book hit a lull it would pick up again. The ocean journey from the eastern lands to the western lands was my favorite part, and I did find myself wishing that more of the book was set on the sea because that atmosphere was built so well.

The world building is incredible. It is all described well enough that you can easily visualize the entire world, but the writing isn’t overly flowery. I really loved the religion that the West followed and I hope that there is more about the gods in the next book. This world was so immersive, yet it wasn’t overly complex. Danielle L. Jensen found the perfect balance in Dark Shores.

I am so excited to start book two right away because I really love this world and its characters. Dark Shores is a hidden fantasy gem that many fans of the genre will love. If you enjoy political fantasy and enemies-to-lovers romance I highly recommend checking out Dark Shores.

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