Dark Shores: Review

dark shores large.jpg

Goodreads Summary

High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, a thrilling first novel in a fast-paced new YA fantasy series by USA Today bestselling author Danielle L. Jensen. 

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.


Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences. 


Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world. 


When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.


It took me a while to get into Dark Shores (about 20% into the book, to be more precise) because of what felt like a really slow prologue. A pivotal character from the beginning of the story is barely mentioned throughout the rest of the book and that was incredibly annoying, since her actions kicked off the main plot of the book.

After getting through the incredibly confusing start, I realized that Dark Shores was actually a brilliantly crafted fantasy world. The mythology is complex, and there’s so much tension and political conflict that I can’t wait for it all to unravel in the next few books. The writing itself is sophisticated, with moments of pure brilliance- witty dialogue, descriptive scenery, and broody soldiers.

However, Teriana brought the book down for me. For a fearless seafarer who holds tremendous sway among her people, she makes some truly dumb and incomprehensible decisions. She does not inspire confidence in me and her role in the story seems to be out of pure convenience.

Marcus saved the book for me. I can honestly say that I breezed through the latter half of this book because I wanted to keep reading Marcus’ story. He’s charismatic and has strong moral values, but what is most attractive about his character is that he is a respected leader.

I rate Dark Shores 4/5 stars.