Book Flame: Review: Beyond A Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake
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.
Review: Beyond A Darkened Shore surprised me, maybe it’s because I didn’t have any expectations going in for the novel, I just knew it had a breathtaking cover and I wanted to read it. This book is not just a pretty cover, inside the pages is an epic fantasy filled with magic, Norse and Irish mythology, undead armies, monsters, love and loss along with characters you will come to love or love to hate. I’d say it’s pretty damn amazing.
Any epic fantasy read needs to have phenomenal world building and Jessica Leake nailed it. She knows how to create a world that pulls its readers in, as I was reading the final page it was bittersweet because I didn’t want to leave Ciara and Leif and the magical world of Beyond a Darkened Shore.
I don’t think there was a dull moment in the book, not even a few pages in and we are thrust into a raid on Ciara’s village and that is where she meets Leif, kind of. More like they are enemies and she kicks his ass and takes him prisoner. The two of them realize rather quickly there is something bigger than any threat the two of them could be to each other and so the two put their differences aside and go on a journey to save the world. I loved everything about Ciara and Leif, the slow burn romance, their loyalty and fierceness and most of all what was admirable was their love for their siblings. It was impossible not to root for them.
The reason I gave this 4.5 stars and not the full 5 is because I wish we got to know more about the villains. There were some hints that there was more to them than just these evil creatures but it was never really explored and I love complex villains, so they were a little one-sided for me.
I was thrilled that this was a standalone but at the same time I’m not too happy about it because I feel there is so much more left to explore in this world, so I’m crossing my fingers that maybe there will be other books if not revolved around Ciara and Leif, maybe other characters in the same world.
Overall, I highly recommend Beyond A Darkened Shore especially to all my Fantasy lovers, it is a must-read, and I can’t wait to see what else the author has in store for us because she is definitely someone to be excited about.