Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 416 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Age of Legends series
Source: eARC through Edelweiss
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got this book to review as an eGalley through Edelweiss. I had previously read some of Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld (which I wasn’t a huge fan of) and her Darkest Powers YA series (which was okay). I was curious to read a fantasy novel by her. I ended up liking this book more than all of the other books I have read by her. It is an interesting world, with solid characters and it was a good read. The second book in the Age of Legends series will be titled Empire of Night and is scheduled for a 2015 release.
Moria and Ashyn are twins which is very rare in the Empire, even rarer they end up being Keeper and Seeker for Edgewood. Edgewood is a small village that is the only thing that stand between the Forest of the Dead and the rest of the Empire. As Keeper Moria’s job is to protect Edgewood and protect the Seeker, as Seeker Ashyn’s job is to lay the souls of the dead to rest and make sure the town stays spiritually healthy. The Forest of the Dead is where the worst criminals are exiled to and this year it is Ashyn’s first time entering the Forest of the Dead on her own to quiet the souls of these violent exiles.
When Ashyn goes to the Forest of the Dead to quiet the souls, things go horribly wrong and the whole town ends up under attack by creatures that were previously thought to be only legend. Moria and Ashyn’s world falls to pieces and they end up on a journey far from home.
Ashyn and Moria are very different people, although they are identical in appearance. Ashyn is very quiet and proper, she is maybe a bit too passive. As the story continues she grows as a character and starts to learn the value of being more fierce and standing up for herself better. Ashyn was a bit weak as a character and initially I really didn’t engage with her all that well…but as the story continued she started to grow on me. Both sisters have bond-beasts. Ashyn has an Immortal Hound name Tora for her companion, I wished he had been given a bit more personality.
Moria is fiery and combative. She challenges everyone and goes through life taking huge risks, she is a bit prickly and easily offended. I enjoyed reading about her a lot, she just has so much heart and lives life on her terms. However, she also changes some throughout the book and begins to realize that sometimes it is better to have a bit more finesse rather than attack everything head on. Her bound beast is a Wildcat named Diego, he had a lot more personality than Tora and I really enjoyed having him in the story.
On their journey Moria and Ashyn are accompanied by two men. Moria runs into Gavril, one of the town’s warriors, on her way out of town. Gavril and Moria develop a very strong relationship that is founded on trust. I enjoyed Gavril as a character, he is a bit distant at first and has a lot of secrets. But I loved watching as Gavril and Moria gained respect for each other and learned to trust one another.
Ashyn is accompanied by the ex-convict Ranon on her journey. These two characters didn’t have as much chemistry as Moria and Gavril. Ranon obviously has issues of his own and he kind of flits in and out of the story. He tries to help Ashyn at times, but you are never entirely certain of his intentions.
All of the characters are solid characters and were engaging. The world in this book has heavy Asian influences, it is a well done world and it is well developed throughout this book. I hope it is expanded on and explained more in the next book in this series. There are some excellent action scenes in here and some wonderful encounters with fantastical mythological creatures.
The plot was well done as well. There are some excellent twists and turns towards the end of the book that I wasn’t expecting. My only complaint with this book is that the pacing was a bit off at points. There were parts of the book that kind of drug on and were a bit boring. Then there were other parts of the book that had absolutely action packed fighting scenes in them.
Overall I enjoyed reading this. I liked the world and found the characters to be very engaging. There are some excellent action scenes in here as well as a lot of intrigue and mystery. There were parts where the pacing was a bit off, so sections that were boring and could have been shortened. Recommended to those who enjoy YA adventure fantasy. I will definitely be reading the second book in the series, Empire of Night.