The Book: Beyond A Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake
The Rating: 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Demon, they called me in their minds. Changeling. Cursed. And every time I took hold of someone’s mind, I wondered if perhaps they were right.”
First of all, let me say that this review is a long time coming! I read Beyond A Darkened Shore while I was on holiday last September, and for some reason never got around to typing up my review… oops!
Second of all… I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t absolutely love this book.
It had everything I usually enjoy in a good fantasy story: a warrior princess with magical powers, a handsome warrior with god-like strength and a lot of snark. Vikings, Celtic Mythology, Norse Mythology and an appearance by one of my favourite mythological characters – the Morrigan.
I just didn’t feel it. At all.
Ciara started off as a great character. A warrior maiden ostracised by her people but still fiercely loyal to them, and wielding a power that she doesn’t quite understand. But even as she was rallying the men of her tribe to stand against the invading Northmen, I wasn’t entirely convinced by her. There just seemed to be something missing, and I found it extremely difficult to relate to her.
As the story developed, there were lots of moments where I wanted to feel compassion for her character and what she was going through, and I did to some extent. But I couldn’t really get behind her story.
Leif was an interesting character – quite a lot like Thor from the Marvel movies with his swaggering and arrogance hiding a soft heart inside. I absolutely loved his relationship with his younger brother (who, by the way, is a complete sweetheart) and honestly he’s probably my favourite character in the whole book. His development was far more believable than Ciara’s, and I found it much easier to connect with him as I was reading.
However, I really couldn’t get on board with the romance in this story, which was strange as usually I can be counted on to ship characters with the best of them! But the romance between Ciara and Leif felt forced rather than a natural progression from their rocky beginnings.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this book just wasn’t for me. I can’t even put my finger on exactly why I wasn’t a fan of it, which is rather annoying!
Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments!