Review: Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

March 23, 2018 Book Review, Young Adult 8 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Beyond a Darkened ShoreBeyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake
Published by HarperTeen on April 10th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
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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 thankfully 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.

Beyond a Darkened Shore is a novel that had so much more to love than I expected!

The world is very reminiscent of ancient Ireland and immersed with Celtic and Norse mythology. Ciara is a warrior princess with unique powers she uses in battle to help protect her people yet powers that isolate her from those very people as they believe her cursed. Nothing is more important to her than her family – her sisters – and when a threat arises Ciara is determined to do whatever it takes, including working with the enemy, to protect them.

The action starts right from the very beginning so I was immediately pulled in so when it did inevitably slow down in pace I was completely invested already. And even then, there seemed to be action and intrigue around every corner. Leif is a Northman who lives for raiding and pillaging villages. When Ciara captures him after an attempt on her own clan, a crow appears and insists he is to be kept alive. This is where mythology begins to play in as these two find themselves on a quest from the gods to save the world from giants meant to destroy it. Dangers lurk around every corner, many believed to be only tales they heard as children such as kelpie and the wild hunt. Working together is the key and Ciara realizes there is more to her ability than she ever could have imagined before. Feelings begin to grow as they realize needing each other goes beyond just the quest.

I loved not only the pacing of the story as it unfolded but the friendship and romance that emerged between Ciara and Leif, despite starting out as enemies. Ciara started off a little closed off to her feelings since so many people she cared about had let her down in the past when her powers arose, leaving her very lonely and isolated. But not Leif. He admired her strength and they bonded over their love and protective nature for those they care about. A romance slowly burns and an intense need to protect each other no matter the consequences. These two were fierce warriors in all sense of the word and absolutely perfect for each other and it showed page after page. 

This novel just had so much to love! The story was easy to follow along with, the details were quite vividly written, and the author did not shy from any gory details. There’s mythological influences, war, magic, and romance. This is one fantasy worth checking out!

About Jessica Leake

Once upon a time, Jessica Leake was a psychotherapist, but even though she loved her clients, she couldn’t stop writing. She wrote and wrote until she got her first book published, and then she wrote some more. In between all that writing she had four beautiful and hilarious children with her husband (best friend and man she’s known since high school; also hilarious), moved back to her adopted hometown of Greenville, SC, built a chicken coop, and got a bunch of chickens that poop breakfast every morning. She also has two dogs to keep the chickens in line. (The dogs made her write that last bit.)

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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