Oh I love Young Adult authors who don’t skimp on story.
Kelley Armstrong’s “Sea of Shadows” begins with an odd near-altercation over some fish and rice. I fully expected this book to solely be about Ronan’s attempts to survive the Forest of the Dead, where he, his uncle, and his father have been sentenced for their (unknown) crimes. The introduction of a red-headed girl who speak to Spirits was unexpected and kept me reading.
Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker, respectively, of their realm. They are twins who have been allowed to survive because they can hear and speak to the spirits thus keeping the realm safe from supernatural upset. With their spirit-bound animals for protection the two work like night and day, opposite sides of the same coin, to send the deceased on to the next life. When the yearly Seeking goes very wrong, Ashyn, Moria, Ronan, and a young warrior named Kitsune, are left to deliver an unfortunate message to the imperial court. Are the spirits out for revenge? Or is there a darker force behind the supernatural events in the village of Edgewood?
I loved this story. It started simply and quickly developed into a story with depth. I enjoyed the Japanese undertones: the sticky rice and noodles, the flared roofs of the palace, eating with sticks. Moria and Ashyn, although twins, are two distinct people with different roles to play. I’m glad Armstrong lets the point of view alternate between the girls for most of the story. I hope in the next installment we get to hear Gavril Kitsune’s thoughts as well. (His acidic interactions with Moria are so full of tension you can feel it.) One drawback is that the characters already seem matched for pairs. Sure there are a few wrenches thrown in but I can foresee everyone living happily ever after despite their opinions against it.
Also, what happened to Wenda?
Put this book on reserve at your local library!