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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way and the thoughts expressed are my own.
East must never meet West. The Celendor Empire has conquered the entire Eastern half of the world, erasing all religions and enslaving the people, and the Maarin, the traders that sail across the globe, will protect the secret of the West at all costs. We follow two main characters, Teriana a young Maarin woman, and Marcus the Cel’s best commander. When the Cel threaten Teriana’s entire people, she is forced to lead Marcus’ and his legion to the West. Both Marcus and Teriana are merely slaves to the Cel Senate and if they don’t do as their told they, and everyone they love, will be killed.
The Cel Empire was clearly inspired by the Romans while the West, or at least the region we saw, seemed to be South American. This land was run by various clans who are all ruled by a sadistic Urcon. It was fascinating to learn more about the Aniquinons and snippets of information about the various other lands. Not only are the cultures and people strikingly different from the Cel, they also worship six gods, and some a seventh god of death. Some people are even god-marked, given magical gifts that allow them to do incredible feats, like healing terminal wounds. It was a great comparison between the two and I loved how important it was to the people, especially Teriana.
I really loved the Maarin people, they were an intriguing sea fairing people. They live their entire lives on the sea, travelling between the East and West, their greatest taboo is revealing one side of the world to the other. To do so would make you forsaken by the gods, forever damned to eternal punishment. Though Teriana knows she is damning her soul, she is willing to do anything to save her family and her people. The Maarin have tangible proof the gods exist by their ship’s guardian, Magnius, an enormous sea creature that follows them bellow their ship. I loved how nonchalant they were about this massive creature and he was a great introduction to the magic of this world.
Teriana and Marcus are one of the only ‘forbidden romances’ I loved. It was obvious why they shouldn’t be together, yet they developed feelings for each other, regardless of whether or not they acted on them. Their romance was the definition of a slow burn which only made it all the more captivating any time they were alone together. I just wanted everything between them to be gone and for the two be simply be together!
The soldiers were interesting characters, you knew they were nothing more than slaves yet they had actively helped conquer hundreds of people, but they were still human beings with their own distinct personalities. Teriana wants to hate them, to stop them, but the more she spends time with them, the more she realizes she may actually like them. I personally loved Miki and Quintius, two of Teriana’s bodyguards, they were funny and friendly and their deep love was beautiful. They were a great representation of how many in the Celendor legions, and the real-world Romans, were gay and came to deeply love each other. It was difficult, I knew they were the ‘bad guys’ and needed to be stopped, but just like Teriana, I couldn’t stand the idea of anything happening to these guys I’d come to care for, especially Miki and Quintius.
I loved this book, it’s characters and magic system was interesting and a breath of fresh air. Not to mention it was excellent to have a main character of colour, her long braids full of beads sounded beautiful. I give it 5/5 and am so excited to read the next in this great new series.
At first I wanted to give it four stars as I felt like I'd been loving everything too much then decided, screw it, I loved it and I wanted to give it 5 stars.
I did receive this book as an eARC from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
This book really delivered!
I adored Jensen's blend of the Roman inspired Celendor Empire and the amazing Maarin traders.
Teriana is more than just a Maarin Sailor, she is a heir to the Maarin Triumvirate and best friend to the daughter of a Cel Senator.
In an attempt to save her friend, Teriana jeopardizes her people, their way of life, and the fate of multiple countries.
Forced to enter a bargain, Teriana's fate, and the fate of the Maarin are now tied with Cel Legionnaire and Legatus, Marcus.
He is the reason she's alive, and she's the reason he's escaped the eyes of the Senate but their voyage is a dangerous one and despite have their fates intertwined, it does nothing to give them a shared cause other than survival.
Jensen's world building is great and if this weren't a trilogy I'd be screaming for more in this novel but I'm rest assured there'll be more to come and temporarily appeased though I'm still just as impatient for book two.
Teriana and Marcus seem quite tangible in their feelings and not just in romance but I mean their regard of one another and what is occurring around them. Not to mention they're both faced with limited choices.
One could easily judge them but they have done what they have to protect those that matter to them. And really in the same situation what wouldn't most do to protect those they care about.
Teriana is for appearances fearless but she runs deeper than that, she's as complex as any one would be in her situation and I love her all the more for it.
Marcus definitely has you realizing not everything is quite so black and white but I think Teriana really steals the show for me.
I loved this adventure of the high seas and unchartered lands (well unchartered to the Cel!) and hope the wait isn't too long for book 2!
Where do I start with this book! Fabulous characters, Pirates, Thrilling New Lands, an adventure and a slow burning romance - what more can I ask for! A cliche, I know but it was so good from the very first page - I literally couldn’t put it down.
An amazing, imaginative world and fantastic, multidimensional characters set on a mesmerising, historical and mythical backdrop - making it a thrilling and believable story.
The narrative shifts between the two main protagonists of this book - Teriana and Legatus Marcus, offers readers a vivid tale, interesting world building and detailed character insights.
Teriana is definitely up there as one of my favourite fictional characters- she’s beautiful, fierce, courageous and breathtakingly unique! Perfectly juxtaposed with the honourable, Swoon- worthy and heroic Marcus - together their chemistry is stunning!
Danielle Jensen writes one of my favourite tropes so well - the slow burning Enemies to Lovers romance is enthralling. The chemistry and banter, world building, unexpected plots twists and unique setting add to the beginning of a gripping fantasy series. Highly recommend.
Pirates, Warring kingdoms, Political intrigue, Meddling Gods, Slow burn enemies to lovers romance. THIS BOOK HAS IT ALL. I absolutely adore Danielle’s writing, ever since reading The Bridge Kingdom I became a dedicated fan. I went into this book expecting to love it and guess what? I was right to do so! It is quite simply - amazing!
The world building in this story is done so well, you can easily picture yourself right alongside the characters. I loved the Ancient Roman influence and the mystery of the dark shores. I found this story so unique to the fantasy novels I have read previously. I LOVE Marcus. He’s such an amazingly complex character that deserves all the love. Each character has so many layers, that’s something I love about the character’s Danielle creates - they’re always complex and never one dimensional. You can both love and hate them and have reasons to do both. Frustrating at times? Yes. Would I have it any other way? No. Their flaws make them all the more real and relatable. Well as much as you can relate to a pirate and an army commander.
The mystery of the God’s and those that have been God-marked is something I am really excited to learn more about in the next book! This story has you feeling so many emotions and I’m here for that!
I love the author’s world building. I was initially intrigued because the story was meant to be inspired by Roman mythology, which I studied in school but I hadn’t ever really read in fantasy/fiction. It was phenomenally done in this book. This story had wonderful parallels that kept me invested in the beginning. It was interesting to see how differently Marcus perceived events compared to Teriana.
Within the story itself characters are constantly changing and developing as their motivations become more clear; The slowburn romance, the enemies to lovers aspect, the political tension. All of it transforms the plot and makes the characters complex in the most capturing way possible.
𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗘𝗗 𝗙𝗢𝗥: readers looking for some slow-burn, Roman mythology inspired fantasy books.
Eu faço questão de dar chance a praticamente qualquer livro sobre piratas que cruze meu caminho, mas não posso dizer que sempre tenho a expectativa de que sejam bons. Nunca tinha lido nada da Danielle L. Jensen, então não tinha qualquer base para começar a ler achando que seria bom ou nem tanto. No máximo, eu torcia muito para valer minha vontade de ler. E, afinal, me surpreendi tanto, que entrou para a lista dos favoritos e dos livros que vou indicar loucamente!
O mundo de Dark Shores é super inspirado no Império Romano, o que eu já sabia por ter visto uma entrevista da autora antes de comprar o livro. Confesso que isso chegou bem perto de me incomodar em alguns momentos, tanto pela estética desse império não ser minha favorita (togas não são atraentes!), quanto porque o império do livro era tão parecido com o romano, que os aspectos diferentes me pareceram difíceis de encaixar. Depois de um tempo, me acostumei e essa estranheza passou!
Só tenho outra crítica mesmo para fazer, que talvez nem seja relevante para outras pessoas: a autora usou vários nomes inventados para países, nacionalidades e personagens que começavam com a mesma letra e tinham sílabas parecidas, o que conseguiu me deixar bem perdida no começo! Como ela não parou para explicar nada (ainda bem, ninguém merece infodumps), me deixei ficar confusa por um tempo para depois começar a acompanhar melhor!
E daqui para a frente tudo que eu vou falar vai ser positivo, porque este livro é incrível e me conquistou! O mundo inspirado no Império Romano deu uma credibilidade e um foco em detalhes para o mundo tão perfeito, que parece existir de verdade! As culturas, as rotinas, as crenças, tudo encaixa super bem, e os personagens não ficam para trás!
Estou tentando decidir aqui se gosto mais da maravilhosa da Teriana ou do odioso do Marcus! Fiquei com tanta raiva dele (pela Teriana) durante o livro, que é até engraçado pensar no quanto amo ele! Eu também comecei a ler achando que ia ter romance, mas já estava passando da metade quando tive que duvidar, já que os dois se odiavam tanto, que nem dava muito espaço para se atraírem um pelo outro. E aí eu caí de boca no chão de tão desprevenida e apaixonada que fiquei quando a autora teve a audácia e esperteza de desenvolver o romance direitinho e bem na hora exata!
As partes no navio foram tão absurdamente emocionantes, que faço questão da autora escrever mais livros com piratas! Não deixou em nada a desejar! E depois, quando começou a parte da guerra, achei que ia ficar mega entediada, como já tinha ficado com outros livros e histórias se passando no mesmo cenário, mas em nenhum momento eu quis parar de ler! Estou realmente impressionada com o jeito inteligente e viciante da autora de escrever e definitivamente vou atrás de outros livros seus!
É claro que eu recomendo! Este livro foi tão apaixonante, que vai ser muito difícil esperar pelo próximo!
Note réelle 4,5/5. Ayant adoré et particulièrement pleuré pour la précédente série de l’auteure : The Malediction. J’ai hésité un bon moment entre les deux premiers tomes de cette série-ci et de celui de Bridge Kingdom. J’ai fini par me décider pour Dark Shores.
Le premier point positif de cette nouvelle histoire est l’univers, de la fantasy avec des inspirations de l’Empire romain. Cela donne une touche réelle et nostalgique au récit. Ensuite, j’ai beaucoup apprécié les personnages avec le peuple de Teriana : les Maarin et certains membres de la Légion avec Marcus, Servius… On apprend à les connaître avec leurs motivations, leurs buts, leurs peurs.
Pour l’histoire, j’ai mis un peu de temps à rentrer dedans car c’était le temps pour moi de m’adapter au style de l’auteure. J’ai vraiment aimé l’intrigue, il y a encore des secrets non dévoilés, des possibles trahisons et des combats en devenir. La scène où nos personnages doivent franchir un passage afin d’arriver au Dark Shores est mémorable et fait froid dans le dos. Bref, une fois dedans, impossible de le lâcher. C’est prenant, on se demande quel chemin va prendre l’histoire. On s’attache facilement à certains personnages.
Pour conclure, j’ai vraiment beaucoup aimé ce premier tome et j’ai hâte de lire le tome deux qui nous fera suivre l’histoire de Lydia, la meilleure amie de Teriana et d’un nouveau personnage, Killian. Ce qui est sûr, c’est que je m’intéresserais aussi à Bridge Kingdom dans le futur.
Dark Shores was an amazing book! I can't believe I waited this long to read it. The concept was so original the same as all of Jensen's books. The world building was perfect. Not too little and not too much. The characters and friendships were by far my favorite part of the book. I loved both our main characters Marcus and Teriana and their relationship, but the side characters and their relationships and friendships were equally wonderful. I can't wait for the next book!
Danielle writes amazing worlds and this book did not fail to capture the world she thought out perfectly. I was captivated from the first page on and could not put the book down. The moments that I had to made me count down the time until I could pick it up again. The characters in this book are smart and witty and one more word: Marcus! You have to meet him. I am not going to take no for an answer. The political aspects in this book are so well thought out, and it stayed important throughout the whole story. I am so happy there is more to come for this series because I am not ready for it to end just yet.