For untold years, the Endless Seas have separated two continents: the lands of the East, now fully controlled by the Celendor Empire, and the Dark Shores of the West. Only the seafaring Maarin know the secret to traveling between the two realms, until the ambitious Celendor Senator Cassius launches a plan to steal the Maarin’s secrets and expand the Empire’s reach. Now, for the sake of friends and family taken hostage by Cassius, Maarin Teriana, pirate’s daughter and second mate of the Quincense, must work with Marcus, the young but brilliant commander of one of the Empire’s legions, to lead an invasion force across the seas, where they can win allies and influence by waging war against a despotic Dark Shores warlord, who wields forbidden magic. The two form a tenuous, uneasy alliance, with each shared threat bringing them closer together, even as Teriana secretly prays for Marcus’s campaign to fail, which would grant the Dark Shores safety. While this series opener starts slowly as it establishes the ambitious world-building, mythology, and protagonists’ parallel story lines, events escalate at a satisfying rate once Teriana and Marcus’s stories intersect. This blend of romance, epic fantasy, and military strategy by Jensen (Warrior Witch) makes for an engaging tale, setting up plenty of material for subsequent installments. Ages 13–up. Agent: Tamar Rydzinski, Laura Dail Literary Agency. (May)
Richly-woven, evocative, and absolutely impossible to put down—I was hooked from the first lines! Dark Shores has everything I look for in a fantasy novel: fresh, unique settings, a cast of complex and diverse characters, and an unflinching boldness with the nuanced world-building. I loved every word.”—Sarah J. Maas, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"The book grabs readers from the beginning with its stellar worldbuilding and multidimensional characters, and the mythical elements are truly believable within the constructs of the story. The perspective shifts between the viewpoints of Teriana and Marcus from chapter to chapter, offering readers greater insights into each. ...A gripping introduction to a new series."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"This epic first installment in a new series from Jensen (The Malediction Trilogy) features stunning worldbuilding, a vivid cast of secondary characters, and a steamy slow-burn romance between two exceedingly competent and compelling heroes. Dark Shores is not one to miss."—Booklist
"This is a lush, imaginative world, and as the focus shifts between Teriana and Marcus, it becomes clear that the readers are only getting a glimpse of its complicated history and mythology. ...Their secrets don’t, of course, stop Teriana and Marcus from embarking on a steamy romance, and fans of Rutkoski’s sighworthy The Winner’s Kiss and the high-stakes sea adventure of Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King will want to know where Marcus and Teriana journey to next." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The plot's twists and turns and fantastical elements add to the allure of this thrilling story. VERDICT Exhilarating fantasy-adventure romance for fans of Tricia Levenseller's Daughter of the Pirate King, Alexandra Christo's To Kill a Kingdom, or Natalie C. Parker's Seafire. Readers will eagerly await the next book in the series."
—School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Two young enemies are forced to work together to protect their loved ones in this fast-paced nautical fantasy. Set in Reath, a rigidly hierarchical world reminiscent of the ancient Roman Republic, the godless Celendor Empire has conquered Reath's East Hemisphere. Impudent Teriana, 17, of the god-worshiping Maarin race, is second mate on her mother's pirate ship. The seafaring Maarin are a free nation, who alone know the secret to navigating the endless seas to the unknown West Hemisphere's Dark Shores. Some Maarin are even god-marked with secret magical abilities. If the Celendorians discover their route to the West, they'll want to conquer it. Handsome Marcus, 20, is an imposing commander of the Celendor Empire's terrifying Thirty-Seventh Legion. The dangerous secret Marcus has causes ruthless blackmailer Cassius to gain power as consul, the Senate's leader. Teriana's ship is attacked, and she's captured and tortured by the Celendorians. To save her crew and injured mother's life, she agrees to guide Marcus and his regiment of ships to the Dark Shores. Teriana's and Marcus's perspectives are conveyed in alternate chapters, and although both seem infallible and strong-willed, they're imperfect and make bad decisions. The plot's twists and turns and fantastical elements add to the allure of this thrilling story. VERDICT Exhilarating fantasy-adventure romance for fans of Tricia Levenseller's Daughter of the Pirate King, Alexandra Christo's To Kill a Kingdom, or Natalie C. Parker's Seafire. Readers will eagerly await the next book in the series.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
The pirate Teriana is the epitome of the beauty and strength of the seafaring Maarin; Marcus is leader of the feared (and revered) Thirty-Seventh Legion.
What the two have in common though, is secrets....Celendrial—inspired by ancient Rome—is the center of the Empire, home of their government, with major ports bringing wealth to the upper echelons of the city. Through the years, the Cel have used their legions to subdue the continent as they know it. But the Maarin, who have no land, are left free to sail the seas and trade as they will—until now. Newly elected Lucius Cassius has other plans for the Maarin people and the Dark Shores only they know how to reach. Once believed to be a myth by the Cel, Cassius has made it his mission to find the Dark Shores and will use any means necessary to conquer them. The book grabs readers from the beginning with its stellar worldbuilding and multidimensional characters, and the mythical elements are truly believable within the constructs of the story. The perspective shifts between the viewpoints of Teriana and Marcus from chapter to chapter, offering readers greater insights into each. Teriana has dark skin, Marcus has light-brown skin, and other characters have a range of skin tones; race is of no significance in this world.
A gripping introduction to a new series. (Fantasy. 14-18)
Narrators Jeanette Illidge and Jeremy Arthur complement each other’s performances in this YA fantasy. In a world in which women are proficient captains on the high seas, Teriana is forced to decide between losing her crew or going against her gods by leading treacherous men to the mysterious Dark Shores. Both Illidge and Arthur portray main characters Teriana and Marcus, respectively, in a relatable and engaging way. Although Illidge’s voice is pleasant, she doesn’t deliver much vocal distinction between characters, sometimes making it difficult to follow the dialogue. Overall, however, the exotic setting and interesting characters make for a compelling adventure. N.H. © AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine