Synopsis from Edelweiss:
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.
The people of Mide have always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn but the entire world.
Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle, the two might have a chance to save their world.
With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.
About: Beyond a Darkened Shore is a young adult fantasy written by Jessica Leake. It will be published on 4/10/18 by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins, 432 pages. The genres are young adult, fiction, fantasy, mythology, and historical. This book is intended for readers ages 14 and up, grades 9 and up. This book is the author’s YA debut and a standalone fantasy. Please see below for more information about the author.
My Experience: I started reading Beyond a Darkened Shore on 11/16/17 and finished it on 12/8/17. (It didn’t really take me this long to read. I had a Thanksgiving break in between). This book is a great read! I like the main character’s abilities and her encounters with time. I like Ciara’s love for her sisters and her desire to protect her family, even after finding out her true background. I like her independent nature and her ability to make decisions in tough situations. I like Leif and his love for his family as well. I like his good nature personality. I enjoy and appreciate the slow paced romance in this book. It’s a nice change when two characters met without prior loving feelings towards each other. They fall for each other through time from experiences of hardships and a common vengeance.
This book is told in the first person point of view following Ciara Leannan, 17, heir to the throne of Mide. She is the only princess among the 4 sisters that have abilities beyond a normal person. Due to her monstrous abilities, she is deemed a warrior for the kingdom and is treated as such. She receives no love from family and friends because everyone fear her and view her as a monster. With her abilities, she is able to receive a warning of an oncoming attack that will kill everyone including her sisters. To protect her kingdom, she is forced to join the kingdom’s long-term enemy, the Northmen, to destroy the jotnar before they attack. In their agreement to become allies, Leif Olafsson, 18 also shared a loss of a sister and he is out for vengeance on his sister’s death. Leif has the strength of a warrior unlike any other because he made a deal with the Valkyrie. Through their journey to defeat their common enemy, their reluctance to fall for each other is interesting to read because their enemy background is always in the way.
This book is well written and organized. There are many battles and I enjoy reading the battle scenes. I’m not familiar with the Norse & Celtic mythology, Norse Gods, and Norse language so at times I find myself losing interest with the world building. Though there is hardly room for boredom as the actions and adventures are almost constant. I like that they are often on the move, traveling by horse or ship from one place to another. There are variety of characters involved: giants, immortals, gods, crows, ravens, Valkyrie, etc. The ending sums up everything beautifully and I highly recommend everyone to read this book!
Pro: fast paced, page turner, independent strong female character, slow burning romance
I rate it 4 stars!
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About the Author:
Jessica Leake is the author of the adult novels Arcana and The Order of the Eternal Sun, both with Skyhorse. She worked for years as a psychotherapist, but even though she loved her clients, she couldn’t stop writing. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, three young children, a lot of chickens, and two dogs who keep everyone in line. Beyond a Darkened Shore is her YA debut. Visit her online at http://www.jessicaleake.com (Info obtained from Edelweiss and photo obtained from Goodreads).
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the author Jessica Leake, publisher HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.