Title: Dark Skies
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Series: Dark Shores (#2)
Page Length: 464
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis: A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.
A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.
A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.
According to the author, Dark Shores and Dark Skies are both starting points for the series, so you can read them in either order. The parallel stories converge in the third book. How cool is that? I read Dark Shores first but can easily see how they are interchangeable.
The world-building in this story reinforces the amazing world-building in the first book. In an email to her followers (*cough* totally on the list), Jensen wrote:
“The setting isn’t just a few kingdoms, but an entire world. It crosses a dozen nations, it contains diverse cultures and races and religions, it faces evils that are both human and decidedly inhuman.”
The amount of detail and the depth of development in this series is astounding. The story, the world, the religious beliefs, the culture, and the characters are all intricate and complex. This story delves more into the gods and goddesses of the Dark Shores, particularly the seventh god, The Corrupter. The most feared god, The Corrupter wants control over all of the other gods. People who have been “marked” by this god can literally suck out your life force. Kind of like a human Dementor! Scary stuff!
Much like Dark Shores, the story switches perspectives between the two major characters – Killian and Lydia. Lydia’s story at the start of the book parallels Teriana’s story, so you witness the same events unfolding from a different perspective. I thought this was a really clever way to provide ample and pertinent context while developing the characters. I liked seeing Lydia’s perspective on what happened between her and Teriana. Throughout much of Dark Shores, Teriana feels betrayed by Lydia, but I suspected there was more to her story. She seemed too loyal to Teriana to betray their friendship so easily. In Dark Skies we find out how Cassius learned about the world Teriana’s people worked so hard to keep a secret.
Killian is an equally fascinating and complicated character. Even though he is “marked” by the god of war, he faces Corrupters in battle, and he fails to protect the kingdom. Now disgraced, he pledges his sword to the crown princess who is vying for the throne. Killian is as trapped as Lydia, and this leads them to work together to protect everything important to them before it’s too late.
I also found it fascinating to see Teriana and Marcus, the protagonists of Dark Shores, in a completely different light. You see the conflict in Marcus so clearly, and it makes you think about how different a story can be from someone else’s point of view.
I can’t say enough about this fabulous book. I am loving this series and Danielle L. Jensen! Her style of writing pulls you into her stories in a completely immersive way. I can’t wait for the third book in the series, where the stories and the characters converge!
Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
- The amazing world-building. I felt like I was in the story. A combo of ancient Rome and Waterworld with a mythical component woven in, this setting is EPIC!
- The complex characters. Like Dark Shores, the characters are so incredibly well-developed. I love the variety of perspectives that shape the story.
- The love story. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good love story, and Jensen never disappoints. 🙂
People who like stories with action, adventure, political intrigue, murky loyalties, fascinating worlds, cool characters, and strong messages will love this book. This is a wonderful fantasy series that I highly recommend!