Friday, June 19, 2015

*Book Review* Empire of the Night by Kelley Armstrong (YA Fantasy)

Series: Age of Legends # 2
Released: April 7, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood. Or at least, they were.

Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, the emperor has sent them on a mission to rescue the children of Edgewood—accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of imperial warriors. But the journey proves more perilous than they could have imagined. With treachery and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on all their influence and power to overcome deadly enemies—not all of them human—and even avert an all-out war.

Empire of the Night is the sequel to Sea of Shadows and the second installment in the Age of Legends series. Told in alternating narratives, Sisters Moria and Ashyn, the former Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood, find themselves cloistered within Emperor Tatsu's palace. All but prisoners who aren't supposed to leave the palace without permission, the sisters grow increasing bitter at their situation. Especially since the Emperor's Keeper and Seeker have had nothing to do with them since they arrived. 

While Ashyn finds comfort in her books, Moira finds herself getting more and more disgruntled with the fact she's not supposed to leave while the children of Edgewood get further away. She wants retribution for the attack on her village, and the loss of her father. She wants to find the missing children who disappeared along with Marshal Alvar Kitsune who created horrific monsters that Moira has faced and defeated, but couldn't save her own village from them. Moira wants to find Gavril and get answers to why he won't answer truthfully for his actions in Sea of Shadows and why he betrayed her. In the meantime, she's become a fierce warrior who isn't afraid of a little blood. She feels that she is more than ready to search for the children regardless of the Emperor's desire. She also becomes close to the Emperor's bastard son Prince Tyrus who has made it is mission to ensure that she's ready for anything. This offers up an interesting twist since Moira's betrayer, Gavril, is Tyrus friend.

While Moria is the warrior of the sisters, Ashyn is the healer and the one who is responsible for the ceremonies and rituals in putting spirits to rest. She's still confused over the kiss that she and Ronan shared in Sea of Shadows. It becomes apparent that Ronan has issues, issues that keep them apart when they are definitely meant for each other. Ashyn didn't experience the horrors that Moira has faced, but that doesn't mean she's weak. Even though she didn't see the shadow stalkers, or Moria being forced to kill their father, she doesn't run away when there is trouble. In fact, more often than not, Ashyn is right by Moira's side. Now Ashyn finds herself out on her own separated from Moria by dire circumstances and facing her own challenges which could lead to some interesting family secrets.

When the Emperor finally relents, Moria, Ashyn, Tyrus, and Ronan set out together to find and negotiate for the children's release. Instead of finding them, Moria and Tyrus find themselves being labeled as traitors to the crown after being betrayed in the middle of battling Alvar's mercenaries. Moria finds herself in a dangerous situation thanks to being captured and brought to face Gavril and Alvar's plans for her. Yet, one has to question a certain characters actions. Either he betrayed Moira, or he's keeping a low profile. Either he is going to work WITH her against his father, or he is going to be at the forefront of a major war that is now brewing. We shall see. 

I don't always hate cliffhangers, but THAT was some ending! Why don't you just kick me in the head, and call me Betty? Everything that Moria has been through, and you pile THAT onto her shoulders as well? Please, please refrain from continuing this triangle. I like Moria with Tyrus. I just don't care about Gavril's issues, or what he actually did, or didn't do in the first book. I really do feel for Ashyn. Even though the story switches POV's I don't think she gets enough credit for everything she's done. Yes, she's not her warrior sister. But, we could give her some hope, can't we? I do hope we get more of Ashyn's perspective in the third installment called Forest of Ruin scheduled for release April of 2016. 

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