Review: Dark Shores

Review: Dark Shores (Dark Shores #1)

Title: Dark Shores

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Published: 7 May 2019

Format: e-book, borrowed from the library (Libby)


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.


I would hesitate to consider this book a ‘pirate book’ because the ‘pirate’ part of the story is pretty minimal. I think it’s only mentioned once? Really, if you’re looking for a book full of pirate adventures and such, this isn’t it.

Dark Shores is much more of a political sort of book with historical elements, focusing on conquest and the impact it has on civilizations, what we will do to save our family, and what it means to be controlled. Some pretty heavy themes and topics that are ultimately a bit watered down by the forced-feeling romance between Teriana and Marcus.

I promise romance isn’t necessary in every story. Especially given that she’s his prisoner of sorts. (Yes…he’s kind of a prisoner, too… but it just doesn’t feel right).

Anyway, the story drags and picks up at random times. The beginning definitely dragged for me, but the story definitely picked up and became less confusing as the story went on. It took a while for me to get Marcus and Friends figured out. Somehow, they all read as the same person to me.

The world building wasn’t anything to go crazy for. It was enough that I had a solid picture in my head, but there was still much to be desired. Truthfully, I’m not even sure I pictured the world correctly.

I am glad for the dual POV in this book. It really helped show how Teriana and Marcus both felt justified and conflicted in all of their decisions. And none of the choices either of them had to make were easy. It might be easy to say in the moment that you wouldn’t do what they did, but when it comes down to it…. you might make a morally questionable choice, too. I liked that. Nothing was truly black and white, and the issues that came up added a layer of complexity to the story, which made it much more intriguing.

Overall, Dark Shores was a pretty solid read. Next up, I’ll be reading it’s sequel, Dark Skies, which I meant to read long before it was published but…COVID and life happened and my reading is not where it should be.

Oh, well. Happy reading!

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