Beyond a Darkened Shore
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 Details

TitleBeyond a Darkened Shore
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherHarperTeen
ISBN-139780062666260
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Mythology

Beyond a Darkened Shore Review

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I just got my April Fairyloot today. They sent an email saying it was going to be late. Anyway, if you want to see the stuff, click on the link under the picture. ♥THE GOODSI loved the book just like I hoped I would!!Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐾🐺
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  • Katerina
    January 1, 1970
    What a lovely surprise!I hadn’t heard of Beyond a Darkened Shore until it was featured in Fairyloot’s April box themed “Whimsical Journeys”, and it couldn’t be more suitable because it was a whimsical, all-encompassing journey indeed! With an intricate blend of Norse and Celtic mythology, a rejected heroine with mystical powers and a Valkyrie endorsed hero on a quest to defeat flesh-eating monsters, Jessica Leake crafted a tale of war and love that deserves more attention. “In all the world, th What a lovely surprise!I hadn’t heard of Beyond a Darkened Shore until it was featured in Fairyloot’s April box themed “Whimsical Journeys”, and it couldn’t be more suitable because it was a whimsical, all-encompassing journey indeed! With an intricate blend of Norse and Celtic mythology, a rejected heroine with mystical powers and a Valkyrie endorsed hero on a quest to defeat flesh-eating monsters, Jessica Leake crafted a tale of war and love that deserves more attention. “In all the world, there are only two strong enough. One born for it, the other through great sacrifice.” In the beautiful land of Éirinn, Princess Ciara of Mide is an outcast; while her mind-controlling abilities make her a valuable asset in order to defeat raids from the Northmen, her clansmen treat her as a heretic, an abomination, a harbinger of death and suffering. Ciara’s only concern is to keep her sisters safe, to protect them and her kingdom from harm’s way at any cost. That’s why when the Morrigan, the Phantom Queen, leads Ciara to Leif, an arrogant and frustrating Northman raider, and asks her to spare him because only the two of them can save humankind from a savage race seeking world domination, Ciara will swallow her hatred and join forces with him. Along their journey, Ciara and Leif will encounter ruthless monarchs, demons, monsters, even the Wild Hunt, they will wake the fallen and challenge the gods. For their families, their people, and mankind. “A war is coming. Will you fight it, Ciara of Mide?” Beyond a Darkened Shore is a deeply atmospheric novel, infused with Irish and Nordic legends, beautiful landscapes and brutality. There are explicitly savage scenes that will make your stomach churn; creatures that escaped nightmares only to soak the earth in blood and gore; violent goddesses that demand great sacrifices; but there are also breathtaking locations, strong family relationships and a blooming, slow-burning romance that offer moments of longing, happiness and love. “There is greatness in you, Ciara of Mide, beyond even what you have accomplished so far.” The setting and lore of Beyond a Darkened Shore were truly magical. In a land recently christianized, Jessica Leake smartly weaves a web of prophecies and pagan ways without overburdening the story, but instead she enriches it with fascinating myths that always intrigued me. Ciara is a warrior princess in her journey of acceptance and self-discovery, a journey that shed prejudices that lasted generations and showed her that the world is not painted in black and white, that enemies can be humane and monsters can have feelings. Her scenes with Leif, this cocky, powerful, loyal Northman who stood by her and supported her, embraced both her virtues and her flaws and helped her conquer her fears, were immersed in passion and warmth, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.The only thing that felt a little off was the writing style. The first-person present-tense viewpoint was difficult to digest, especially during the first chapters, and there were times when the execution of this engaging concept was somehow immature, like some parts of the story were processed more than others. Beyond a Darkened Shore is a captivating and bloody adventure, ideal for readers who enjoyed Sky in the Deep!You can find this review and more on BookNest!
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  • Cait • A Page with a View
    January 1, 1970
    Release date: April 10, 2018Ok, let me get some serious fangirling out of the way first because this book had every element I love and was easily one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. I mean, there's a warrior princess in magical ancient Ireland, tons of Irish mythology, Norse mythology, vikings, fae, and then the Morrigan comes in. COULD THE SETUP BE ANY MORE PERFECT?! And crows are my favorite animal, so even the cover was perfect.The general story followed a ton of other similar books Release date: April 10, 2018Ok, let me get some serious fangirling out of the way first because this book had every element I love and was easily one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. I mean, there's a warrior princess in magical ancient Ireland, tons of Irish mythology, Norse mythology, vikings, fae, and then the Morrigan comes in. COULD THE SETUP BE ANY MORE PERFECT?! And crows are my favorite animal, so even the cover was perfect.The general story followed a ton of other similar books that have a warrior princess who sees a sibling killed in front of her, leaves her home because of reasons, meets up with an enemy guy & falls in complicated love with him, and then returns home to fight some final battle. But this story goes in some really clever directions with Ciara's magical powers and all of the Irish & Norse mythology characters that come into play.I LOVED the beginning with Ciara leading her clansmen in battle! I got a strong sense of her character & the setting and thought her ability to control minds was a fun addition. But the story kind of started unraveling once she left her home with a Northman leader guy she captured in battle. It started to skim the surface of what it could've been and seemed more like a slideshow of who's who in mythology. And the plot totally sailed past any potential it did have for emotional impact (like parts I had just started to get invested in were wiped away or skipped). There were SO many neat ideas, but they were never truly used.Ciara's personality was slowly reduced to "anger" as she jumped to a bunch of random conclusions and rushed off to the next plot point. The two main characters were actually the weakest part of the story for me. I don't remember the last time I cared so little about any romance... like I felt nothing. And I loved them both at the beginning!! But I think my main problem was that Ciara, Lief, the plot, and the general execution felt really juvenile at times. And I don't mind YA books that have a younger tone at all! That's not what I'm talking about... I mean that everything felt kind of flat & simplistic. The whole story just turned into some scattered checklist instead of an engaging world. So while I loved some of the overall ideas and seeing the author's fun take on Irish & Norse mythology, I can't deny that I really wasn't into the actual story by the end. It just wasn't for me, but I hope others adore it because it's still a great debut!Disclaimer: I read an early ARC so take what I said with a grain of salt because the finished story will obviously have changes.
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  • Anissa (FairyLoot)
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. I am at a loss for words. I loved this book SO much! The story captured me right from the start and I was rooting for Ciara and Leif so hard. On top of the fantastic characters and story, I loved all of the Celtic and Norse mythology. Everything was just perfect and I never wanted it to end! Love!!!
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  • Maram
    January 1, 1970
    you know it's going to be a good book when there's a freakin crow on the cover 🌚
  • Lena
    January 1, 1970
    I loved every single aspect of this book!!! The romance was ON. POINT. ladies and gentlemen. I’ve also been really into the “Enemies to lovers” trope lately (don’t judge me I’m just a poor little fangirl and my heart simply cannot take it) so this was a delicious, suspenseful and just all around adorable read for me. Looking for something to make you happy? Read this book! Looking for two dumb idiots that are too proud to admit they deeply care for each other? Read this book! Looking for a stron I loved every single aspect of this book!!! The romance was ON. POINT. ladies and gentlemen. I’ve also been really into the “Enemies to lovers” trope lately (don’t judge me I’m just a poor little fangirl and my heart simply cannot take it) so this was a delicious, suspenseful and just all around adorable read for me. Looking for something to make you happy? Read this book! Looking for two dumb idiots that are too proud to admit they deeply care for each other? Read this book! Looking for a strong female main character? Read this book! Looking for an easy, yet beautifully crafted story about an unlikely Celtic/Norse alliance? *shoves book in your face* READ. THIS. BOOK!Also, the ending? Freaking perfect if you ask me! Now, let’s start a petition for this to be turned into a movie! This is serious movie material 🤩
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  • nät
    January 1, 1970
    WOW!this turned out to be far better than expected! ❝The laws are clear: there are only two strong enough to defeat them. One born for it, the other through great sacrifice.❞everything I loved:• vikings • Ireland!!! • norse/celtic mythology • a badass MC• a romance to die for *swoon*• Leif Olafsson (my man and dream husband)• THIS ENTIRE BOOK! • and the action scenes were 👍🏼it was brutal, dark and violent, and all of it was beautiful. and that ending ... was just ... *grabs Kleenex* more than I WOW!this turned out to be far better than expected! ❝The laws are clear: there are only two strong enough to defeat them. One born for it, the other through great sacrifice.❞everything I loved:• vikings • Ireland!!! • norse/celtic mythology • a badass MC• a romance to die for *swoon*• Leif Olafsson (my man and dream husband)• THIS ENTIRE BOOK! • and the action scenes were 👍🏼it was brutal, dark and violent, and all of it was beautiful. and that ending ... was just ... *grabs Kleenex* more than I deserve.
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  • Sabrina
    January 1, 1970
    Checkout my full review on my blog! http://omgbooksandmorebooks.blogspot.... tw: mention and attempt of rape in the book, this happened around 37%/38% of the novel, chapter 11.There are so many unique things about Beyond a Darkened Shore, the setting, the characters, the plot and more. I was ensnared from beginning to end. I haven't read a book with Vikings and Norse Mythology so this book was a treat. I really enjoyed the battle scenes, the imagery and description was so good. A warrior princes Checkout my full review on my blog! http://omgbooksandmorebooks.blogspot.... tw: mention and attempt of rape in the book, this happened around 37%/38% of the novel, chapter 11.There are so many unique things about Beyond a Darkened Shore, the setting, the characters, the plot and more. I was ensnared from beginning to end. I haven't read a book with Vikings and Norse Mythology so this book was a treat. I really enjoyed the battle scenes, the imagery and description was so good. A warrior princess, mythology, historical fiction, and mystery, this book has everything I wanted. My only complaint is that I wish the book was longer, maybe like a duology but trilogy but this book does wrap up nicely. But this book is so imaginative and unique. I've always wanted to read a book like this and now I finally have.The characters are great, Ciara will do anything to protect her kingdom and her family. Though she makes rash decisions at times. She is a badass warrior princess though. I honestly swooned when she was fighting in battle, it was amazing. Leif, is a young Northman leader and an enemy to Ciara, but they share a common goal in order to prevent evil from spreading. The most alluring/interesting part of this novel was the raven that holds prophetic visions.
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  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is
    January 1, 1970
    About: Beyond a Darkened Shore is a young adult fantasy written by Jessica Leake. It will be published on 4/10/18 by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins, 432 pages. The genres are young adult, fiction, fantasy, mythology, and historical. This book is intended for readers ages 14 and up, grades 9 and up. This book is the author’s debut and a standalone fantasy. My Experience: I started reading Beyond a Darkened Shore on 11/16/17 and finished it on 12/8/17. (It didn’t really take me this long About: Beyond a Darkened Shore is a young adult fantasy written by Jessica Leake. It will be published on 4/10/18 by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins, 432 pages. The genres are young adult, fiction, fantasy, mythology, and historical. This book is intended for readers ages 14 and up, grades 9 and up. This book is the author’s debut and a standalone fantasy. My Experience: I started reading Beyond a Darkened Shore on 11/16/17 and finished it on 12/8/17. (It didn’t really take me this long to read. I had a Thanksgiving break in between). This book is a great read! I like the main character’s abilities and her encounters with time. I like Ciara’s love for her sisters and her desire to protect her family, even after finding out her true background. I like her independent nature and her ability to make decisions in tough situations. I like Leif and his love for his family as well. I like his good nature personality. I enjoy and appreciate the slow paced romance in this book. It’s a nice change when two characters met without prior loving feelings towards each other. They fall for each other through time from experiences of hardships and a common vengeance.This book is told in the first person point of view following Ciara Leannan, 17, heir to the throne of Mide. She is the only princess among the 4 sisters that have abilities beyond a normal person. Due to her monstrous abilities, she is deemed a warrior for the kingdom and is treated as such. She receives no love from family and friends because everyone fear her and view her as a monster. With her abilities, she is able to receive a warning of an oncoming attack that will kill everyone including her sisters. To protect her kingdom, she is forced to join the kingdom’s long-term enemy, the Northmen, to destroy the jotnar before they attack. In their agreement to become allies, Leif Olafsson, 18 also shared a loss of a sister and he is out for vengeance on his sister’s death. Leif has the strength of a warrior unlike any other because he made a deal with the Valkyrie. Through their journey to defeat their common enemy, their reluctance to fall for each other is interesting to read because their enemy background is always in the way.This book is well written and organized. There are many battles and I enjoy reading the battle scenes. I’m not familiar with the Norse mythology, Norse Gods, and Norse language so at times I find myself losing interest with the world building. Though there is hardly room for boredom as the actions and adventures are almost constant. I like that they are often on the move, traveling by horse or ship from one place to another. There are variety of characters involved: giants, immortals, gods, crows, ravens, Valkyrie, etc. The ending sums up everything beautifully and I highly recommend everyone to read this book!Pro: fast paced, page turner, independent strong female character, slow burning romanceCon: noneI rate it 4 stars!***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the author Jessica Leake, publisher HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
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  • Kassidy
    January 1, 1970
    *3.5*I loved the richness of the Norse and Celtic mythology set in Irish history, but the pacing of the story dragged for me.
  • Alexandra Harris
    January 1, 1970
    Soooo I kinda got this book 3 time this month in boxes and crates, and I was nervous after seeing a 3.7 rating, but I actually loved this book, and I honestly can’t tell you why.It had a few flaws that would usually take some star power and deductions, but y’all! I actually really enjoyed this story. And felt very satisfied with the ending.A more thorough review to come :)
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    MINI REVIEWI got this book in my April Fairyloot box.I was surprise to find this book but also happy and intrigued as it hasen't been hyped. I would dive in blind!I read it in three days due to work, chores, etc. and if I liked reading about Leif and Ciara's story I can't say that I was fascinated to the point it would have been painful to put it down.WHY?No clue as this book at first glance has all the ingredients to be a bestseller. -Norse Mythology? Yes (Ana I am thinking of you here!);-Femal MINI REVIEWI got this book in my April Fairyloot box.I was surprise to find this book but also happy and intrigued as it hasen't been hyped. I would dive in blind!I read it in three days due to work, chores, etc. and if I liked reading about Leif and Ciara's story I can't say that I was fascinated to the point it would have been painful to put it down.WHY?No clue as this book at first glance has all the ingredients to be a bestseller. -Norse Mythology? Yes (Ana I am thinking of you here!);-Female character spunky and training to become a warrior? Yes;-big blond handsome Norse warrior wanting to die in battle and go to Valhala? Yes;-action? Yes (between the raid of a castle, the fight of Giants, the hunt by The Wild Hunt, the attack by a giant sea serpent, the ....);-Gods bestowing special powers to humans even tricking them (of course they would trick the humans!)? Yes;-Character's growth as in mastering her powers? yes;-Love story between enemies? YesSo what did not work???I think that even if I understood and could follow Ciara I could not really connect with her. She was too "volatile" going from blind rage to remorse and guilt and ...I still don't really "feel" who Leif is. Yes we see he is a fantastic warrior and is looking for revenge. He loves bragging and fighting but... I still miss necessary elements to really walk in his shoes.The love story was ...lacking in my eyes. Against it is probably a "it's not you it's me" but I did not think they really had many opportunities to fall in love. I can believe in insta love but here I did not feel it.OK stopping here as it's probably me and not the book. I can't say the author did a bad job that's not it at all but simply it was not meant to work for me.Sorry!
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  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    “The laws are clear: there are only two strong enough to defeat them. One born for it, the other through great sacrifice.” I will always pick up a mythology book. It’s one of my book buzz words that almost guarantees I will be interested in reading a book. I’m happy to say that Beyond a Darkened Shore did not disappoint me.Beyond a Darkened Shore follows Ciara and Leif, two people with special powers, who might be the only ones capable of stopping a looming destruction. Yes this synopsis sou “The laws are clear: there are only two strong enough to defeat them. One born for it, the other through great sacrifice.” I will always pick up a mythology book. It’s one of my book buzz words that almost guarantees I will be interested in reading a book. I’m happy to say that Beyond a Darkened Shore did not disappoint me.Beyond a Darkened Shore follows Ciara and Leif, two people with special powers, who might be the only ones capable of stopping a looming destruction. Yes this synopsis sounds completely unoriginal and boring, but I really enjoyed the book - which is saying a lot because almost all of my March reads were lackluster. Things I Liked As I said above all things mythology and getting to see Celtic and Norse mythology was a huge selling point. I loved learning all about the gods, the history of both Ciara and Leif’s people and seeing the rich worldbuilding come to life.I am such an easy going shipper - I’m go with the flow on romances in stories like 90% of the time. That said, while the romance isn’t a selling point of the story for me, I definitely had a goofy grin on my face a time or two. Ciara & Leif were such a well-balanced match that bickered, but respected each other and were all around entertaining.There was a lot of action in the story, as one would expect with a world-altering battle taking place. But here the stakes felt high, and there was tension in the action, which I always appreciate. Things I Didn’t Like While I did like the action through the entire story, the final battle felt little anticlimactic. Things just got a little too easy and everything happened a little too quickly. I would have liked some more consequences overall.Last few chapters kinda felt like prolonged epilogue to me. Not in a bad way, but I felt like there was an ending point that was beautiful and perfect and fit the story, but then there was 3 more chapters. I seem to finally be moving out of my mediocre reading phase and I couldn’t be happier with all the Spring releases coming up! Beyond a Darkened Shore is an actiony and engaging story of sacrifice and honor that you can’t miss.I received a copy of the book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • ✨ Kaira ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Plot - 5Writing style - 4.5Characters - 4.5Romance - 5In which a powerful Christian princess fought alongside with a clingy Norse warrior to stop the giants from conquering the world. Plot - I would be lying if I'll say the plot was very original because the conflict somehow resembles Magnus CHase (obviously) , despite that, Beyond the DArkened SHore managed to surpassed my high expectations. Though I have to say, I would prefer if this is a trilogy or something. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed th Plot - 5Writing style - 4.5Characters - 4.5Romance - 5In which a powerful Christian princess fought alongside with a clingy Norse warrior to stop the giants from conquering the world. Plot - I would be lying if I'll say the plot was very original because the conflict somehow resembles Magnus CHase (obviously) , despite that, Beyond the DArkened SHore managed to surpassed my high expectations. Though I have to say, I would prefer if this is a trilogy or something. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book despite it being a stand-alone novel. The story quickly grabbed my attention at the very first chapter. What I like about it was that, there was no unnecessary chapters in the beginning where the author will bore you to death explaining how the heroine woke up or whatever. Though the twist about Ciara's sister's murderer didn't really surprised me. I saw it coming. Writing style - I absolutely have no problem with the writing style. Like I said, from the very beginning, I was immediately hooked. Fast-paced. Action-packed. No dull moments. Characters - Ciara - somehow, I cannot help myself from pitying her. She somehow became nothing but a weapon to her kingdom. Her parents are scared of her due to the power she possess. She's the type of heroine you just want to be like. She's just so freaking perfect, okay? Despite how hard life treats her, she's still so, so kind. She's brave and beautiful, inside and out.Leif - handsome, smart, strong af, family-oriented, cocky, and very clingy. My fellow bookworms, these qualities are enough to make him swoon-worthy. I love him, by the way. And I would be lying if I said I did not expected him as a Norse prince since the heroine was a princess. Though, I would very, very much like to read his POV. Romance - with the hero being super clingy, it's enough to clarify that, indeed, the romance was pretty good. I was surprised at how the romance was emphasized in this novel since I rarely read fantasy books that SERIOUSLY give attention to the romance for every damn chapter. And I likeeee it! Hahahha. I know they're still young. I mean, they're only 17 and 18 but who cares? It's fiction. Plus, people back then really do marry at a very young age and still last long.
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  • Adrienne Young
    January 1, 1970
    A sweep-you-away fantasy filled with mythology, romance, mystery and magic. I really loved this one and I think YA readers will too! So happy I got to read an early copy.
  • Sabrina The Trash Queen
    January 1, 1970
    💫 A warrior princess has to team up with the enemy to safe the world? 💫 And she has the ability to control minds? And actions? BLOODY BADASS.
  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars?I was all over that synopsis and the bird on the cover and sadly it took a lot for me to get through this one. I really liked Ciara and Leif. She stands up for herself and he’s cocky and together they’re fantastic. I loved the scenes of them bantering or kissing or pushing each other’s buttons. Plot wise it was booooooooring and yet not. When there are awesome things happening, they’re mostly awesome. It’s the parts in between where I struggled to keep going. Eventually things got repe 2.5 stars?I was all over that synopsis and the bird on the cover and sadly it took a lot for me to get through this one. I really liked Ciara and Leif. She stands up for herself and he’s cocky and together they’re fantastic. I loved the scenes of them bantering or kissing or pushing each other’s buttons. Plot wise it was booooooooring and yet not. When there are awesome things happening, they’re mostly awesome. It’s the parts in between where I struggled to keep going. Eventually things got repetitive and this felt like the longest book of my existence. The last 20 or so percent was what I wanted for the entire book, but by then I just wanted it to be over. Overall, it was a fantastic idea with characters I really liked. The dry, dense plot and stretches of telling and not showing made it drag. **Huge thanks to Harper Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    This book was really fun! The start was a tad slow in places but after 40% it got epic! The middle portion of the book had me absolutely hooked!
  • Callie (BeverageandBook)
    January 1, 1970
    RTC
  • Justine
    January 1, 1970
    Very much a 3 star read for me. It was fine, but not great, and ultimately I won't remember it.I really love the premise, and the historical Irish setting is one I enjoy, but the problem I had is that, for me, this book just didn't deliver like I wanted it to. I can't help but compare it to Juliet Marillier's books, and unfortunately it just doesn't hold up well next to those. Marillier's books are beautifully written stories that are both complex and subtle, and feature multi-layered characters Very much a 3 star read for me. It was fine, but not great, and ultimately I won't remember it.I really love the premise, and the historical Irish setting is one I enjoy, but the problem I had is that, for me, this book just didn't deliver like I wanted it to. I can't help but compare it to Juliet Marillier's books, and unfortunately it just doesn't hold up well next to those. Marillier's books are beautifully written stories that are both complex and subtle, and feature multi-layered characters. Beyond a Darkened Shore just felt thin and lightweight, and the characters quite simple and two-dimensional.All in all this was a decently entertaining book while I was reading it, but ultimately forgettable. However, for readers wanting a simple YA historical fantasy suitable for younger readers (say 12 or 13+), this would be a good choice. It has a quick pace and a simple storyline that will appeal nicely.
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  • Damaris (GoodChoiceReading)
    January 1, 1970
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes! Yes! No cliff hanger, but please let there be another book!! I need more of Leif & Ciara!!!!
  • K.A.
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. And oh, was it a beautiful and kick-ass book. Filled with Celtic and Norse mythology, Viking battles, wars with gods and monsters--both human and non--pacing that built and built perfectly, and a slow-burn love story between enemies (the icing on a dark and riveting cake), I loved BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE. After the first quarter mark, I seriously could not put this book down. Highly recommended for anyone who loves I was lucky enough to read an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. And oh, was it a beautiful and kick-ass book. Filled with Celtic and Norse mythology, Viking battles, wars with gods and monsters--both human and non--pacing that built and built perfectly, and a slow-burn love story between enemies (the icing on a dark and riveting cake), I loved BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE. After the first quarter mark, I seriously could not put this book down. Highly recommended for anyone who loves the above, and especially fans of the show Vikings and The books/show The Last Kingdom. Thank you for this read. It was soooooo gooood!!!!
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  • Sara (sarabara081)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.4.5 stars!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 You can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.4.5 stars!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!
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  • ALEXA
    January 1, 1970
    Things I liked: Norse + Celt mythology, a warrior princess, quest story format (because who doesn’t like a good quest?), stand-aloneThings that weren’t my cup of tea: the story executionWhile I did end up finishing this one, it ended up being a fairly average read. I thought the main character was underdeveloped, felt like the pacing was a little rough, and I’m still torn on the level of keen I feel towards the romantic relationship in this story.
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  • Tara♥
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not even sure where to begin with this. I can't remember the last time I disliked something so much. Well I kind of can but it's not worth mentioning.I'm pretty much a 'if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all' kind of person. When it comes to books especially, I hate to be just negative because it takes a lot to put yourself out there and writing a book is not an easy thing but sometimes, sometimes it's just got to be said and I have got to say that this was just terrible. N I'm not even sure where to begin with this. I can't remember the last time I disliked something so much. Well I kind of can but it's not worth mentioning.I'm pretty much a 'if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all' kind of person. When it comes to books especially, I hate to be just negative because it takes a lot to put yourself out there and writing a book is not an easy thing but sometimes, sometimes it's just got to be said and I have got to say that this was just terrible. Now. Disclaimer. I had a feeling that I'd be overly critical of this book. I get very snippy about books that are based in Ireland or have Irish characters, usually it's contemporary but turns out this extends to medieval Ireland as well. This is not altogether fair I know but I think it's the same for anyone when it's their own particular culture or race being written about, they read something about their identity that's not how they know it, understand or have experienced and it ranges from an eye-roll to being more than a little pissed off. Now obviously I didn't hang out in Ireland in 1035 but I studied Irish Mythology in school (admittedly it was national school so I might be a little hazy) and I know a fair amount about the history between the Normans and the Celts as again it was required in school. So I can be snippy and I can be really snippy about little things like Brian Boru making an appearance 21 years after the Battle of Clontarf in which he DIED.But it's fantasy and stuff and sometimes you just gotta suspend belief and history I've found over the years. I've had to suspend belief when it comes to Irish history because people sure as shit aren't going to research it so hey, let's move on.Let's move on the purple prose and the god awful dialogue shall we? 'Take the reins', Leif said, dropping them into my lap. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I first felt his hands upon my hair. With gentle yet efficient movements, he combed the hair back from my face, His fingers were warm and strong as they brushed against my neck, and I could feel an answering warm stir inside me. No one but my handmaiden had ever touched my hair, and having a man touch it seemed intensely intimate. A few moments of a tugging sensation, and then my hair was neatly plaited behind me. 'Thank you', I said quietly, I reached back and felt the smooth braid. How strange that this Northman warrior should know how to do something so domestic.This is not anywhere near the worst of the purple prose, they usually came for about 4 pages at the start of each chapter but this is one of the quotes in the quotes section for the book and I can't be arsed going through the book again to pick out something but this gives you an example of purple prose or is it just bad prose? “Our tongues met, and the reaction within me was like the sudden flash of lightning.” That sounds like something you'd want to have checked on.Honestly though, most of the time I can find at least one thing about a book that I liked, in this case it was the cover and the fact that I finally finished reading it. That's it. There is absolutely nothing else that I liked. I should have loved it. This had the promise of Celts and Vikings, Norse and Celtic Mythology, enemies to lovers, magic and battle and even if the history was wrong I should've been able to forgive it because all these things are things I love but every chapter was a different mythological creature and then move on. There was no development. Battles started and ended in 3 sentences but we needed to be given a page on how the wind was blowing! It was a mish mash of everything and ended up being nothing. I didn't care about a single character in the book and I actually kind of wanted Ciara and Leif to be killed on more than one occasion. I am giving it one star instead of a zero rating though and that's because I had an epiphany while reading it. Well actually two, the first is that I just need to start dnf'ing books because this book added nothing but pain and frustration to my life so why on earth put yourself through that? The second was about reading speeds. I'm usually a middle of the road reader in terms of speed. If I'm very tired it takes me a lot longer to read a book but usually I read at an average pace. This has bothered me in the past because I want to be able to read faster so I can read more. Susan and Fra are my idols because they naturally read at a crazy fast speed and do it in THEIR SECOND LANGUAGE!!! I can read at a faster pace and in order to get through this book I did that but I came to the realisation that it's uncomfortable for me to do it. My brain and I enjoy our pace, sure it would be nice to be able to read faster naturally but I'm no longer going to beat myself up about my pace. There were 50 million reasons I didn't like this book and having to race through it so it would be over was one of them. So that learning is a positive. One point in the win column for it? Also I had a lot of fun creating a Pinterest board for this one but to be honest I think it was more about the time period and the mythology so not sure that can be a plus for this. I read this with my Fairyloot buddy reader and thank goodness for her as I may not have survived otherwise!
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  • mith
    January 1, 1970
    Rating to change; I'm a bit torn on how I feel about this.
  • Jeanne
    January 1, 1970
    A disappointing 2.5 stars.This started off really well, and I was (almost) enjoying it even more than Ace of Shades (which I read just before this one), but the second half of this book simply fell apart with no rhyme or reason. The world building turned awkward, the main plot felt rushed yet littered with many unnecessary scenes, and there were scores of illogical/inconsistent and awkward gaps throughout the second half of the story. The relationship development between the protagonist and her A disappointing 2.5 stars.This started off really well, and I was (almost) enjoying it even more than Ace of Shades (which I read just before this one), but the second half of this book simply fell apart with no rhyme or reason. The world building turned awkward, the main plot felt rushed yet littered with many unnecessary scenes, and there were scores of illogical/inconsistent and awkward gaps throughout the second half of the story. The relationship development between the protagonist and her sworn-enemy-turned-romantic-interest also failed to be convincing anymore.I liked that the book featured Celtic and Norse mythology, though I don’t think the twist on it appealed to me. Everything also tied up so neatly at the end that I cringed… *Sigh*. What happened to this great start???Not sure if I will read any of the author’s future works, but we shall see!
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  • Jess (◕‿◕✿)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating is a 4.5. Could have been a five star, but I had a few problems when it came to pacing and awkward sentences. I'll explain more in my review, but overall? I actually really enjoyed this one.
  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFeliceCiara is the Princess of Mide, in the land of Eirinn, a land plagued by the attacks of Northmen—men who plague her lands by pillaging and plundering the lands of Eirinn, but she’s able to keep them at bay using her dark powers: she can control the minds of others. However, she’s being visited by a crow and hearing whispers of something more sinister lying in wait. Unfortunately for Ciara, her thoughts and worries are dismissed as p Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFeliceCiara is the Princess of Mide, in the land of Eirinn, a land plagued by the attacks of Northmen—men who plague her lands by pillaging and plundering the lands of Eirinn, but she’s able to keep them at bay using her dark powers: she can control the minds of others. However, she’s being visited by a crow and hearing whispers of something more sinister lying in wait. Unfortunately for Ciara, her thoughts and worries are dismissed as pagan nonsense, as her people practice Christianity. The crow leads her to an unlikely ally, Leif Olafsson, a Northman leader who has been seeing the same crow. Together, they will have to gather an army in order to save both their worlds, if they don’t wind up dead along the way. Spirits, monsters, and otherworldly being are waiting in the shadows, but Ciara and Leif will do their utmost to ensure the safety of their worlds.This story… It was so good. It built up suspense, tension, and fear. It was one of the darker fantasies that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a while, and it was amazing. The imagery is so vivid that it draws you into the world of Eirinn and the battle against the Northmen. This story will tease all of your senses, and it’s got quite a bit of action going on. Ciara and Leif are facing quite the onslaught of enemies, includinig their own people, the creatures lurking in the woods, and the even greater threat that might destroy them all. I feel that the character development is strong for Ciara in this story, and potentially a little less so for Leif, but that’s potentially because he’s “older” and understands a little more. It was also enjoyable that the focus was on the story, and the romance was a little more on the sidelines.Jessica Leake also did an excellent job weaving the Celtic and Norse mythologies, especially the addition of the Morrigan and Odin in the story. It gives both Leif and Ciara added depth and insight into their cultures, and a bridge for them to be able to work together. More than that, we also get to see how Christianity has affected the pagan gods. Going from almighty beings, to essentially beginning to fade from the human realm was an interesting area of story that I enjoyed. Especially how the Gods are forced to take more of their animal forms and aren’t able to materialise in other ways for humans. It was also very interesting to see how the Gods were tied to their lands. It gave the mythology more depth and firmly entrenched cultural beliefs from a more historical standpoint.Something that was really wonderful about this story is Leake’s ability to show the reader how someone could be both feared and needed at the same time, especially in Ciara’s case. It’s amazing to see a character that’s ostracised, but revered for her power, and it’s even more riveting for the reader to see the relationships between Ciara and her family. What her power has done to her romantic relationships, and how her power affects the relationships between her family members. Overcoming and accepting differences is something that was very satisfying to watch in Ciara’s character.With that said, be prepared for a lot of violence in this novel. It’s very bloody, which might be off-putting for some. There’s also triggers for rape and assault, which could make this a difficult read for some. Leake’s descriptions are a little more on the vivid side, which is amazing when she’s setting a scene or a mood, but that can be difficult for those who might have issues reading scenes that are a little on the hard-core side. It’s also a little slow at the beginning, which might make readers hesitate, or not want to continue, but give this book a chance. Once you’re in to the second chapter, things start taking off, and become intense.Now, I said that the romance was a sideline part of the story, but I felt like it could have used a little more development. I also felt like Ciara’s relationship and interactions with the Morrigan could have been a little more developed as well…or rather, I guess I would have liked to see even more of her. The scenes featuring the Morrigan are arguably some of the best, giving the readers a glimpse into the mysticism of the land of Eirinn. Except, these scenes feel very spread out, although there is the idea that the Morrigan is always watching. The same can be said of Odin toward the end of the story. The Morrigan and Odin are key players in the story, so a little more background would have been good for the reader, although how to accomplish that without making the book even longer is an unreasonable complaint from a reader who ultimately left the story feeling satisfied at the end.With an excellent dose of mythology and historical fiction, this story deserves an 8/10. It’s a great read for those who are looking for stand-alone fantasy novels, as well as those looking to expand add some more Celtic and Norse mythology features into their collection.
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  •  Nat (faerytales_and_fangirling)
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating 3.5 starsWow... I'm so confused by this book. It started with such a bang! I was instantly drawn to Ciara and I LOVED the opening battle. Whoa! Pulse racing action right there!!Don't get me wrong - things continued to look positive from there... a twisted family dynamic and a Norseman enemy-to-lover love interest! Sign my heart away right here!BUT then we get a whole lot of Celtic Mythology... cool right?! Well... yes and no. It's not one or two themes or ideas - it's a whole blend Actual rating 3.5 starsWow... I'm so confused by this book. It started with such a bang! I was instantly drawn to Ciara and I LOVED the opening battle. Whoa! Pulse racing action right there!!Don't get me wrong - things continued to look positive from there... a twisted family dynamic and a Norseman enemy-to-lover love interest! Sign my heart away right here!BUT then we get a whole lot of Celtic Mythology... cool right?! Well... yes and no. It's not one or two themes or ideas - it's a whole blender full of encounters that leaves your imagination running.Then - ENTER NORSE MYTHOLOGY - again... cool right? Well by now I'm laughing and saying "imagine if _______ shows up!?" And BOOM! next page there they are - haha!I honestly felt like it was 3 books in oneBook 1. Medieval HistoryBook 2. Celtic Mythology FantasyBook 3. Norse Mythology FantasyAnd they all blend and merge into one where it's needed! Honestly? If 100 pages had been shaved off (and an adventure or two erased) it would have been 4-5 stars!! It was just too much.The other thing that got me.... I just didn't ship it. I totally get it - 17 and 18 year olds.... BUT YOU'RE SAVING HALF THE WORLDS AND GODS HERE PEOPLE - ACT AT LEAST A LIL MATURE...So yeah. Worth a read - expecially if you love lot's of themes and adventures :-)
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