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Dark Shores

368p. Tor Teen. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250317728.
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Gr 8 Up—Two young enemies are forced to work together to protect their loved ones in this fast-paced nautical fantasy. Set in Reath, a rigidly hierarchical world reminiscent of the ancient Roman Republic, the godless Celendor Empire has conquered Reath's East Hemisphere. Impudent Teriana, 17, of the god-worshiping Maarin race, is second mate on her mother's pirate ship. The seafaring Maarin are a free nation, who alone know the secret to navigating the endless seas to the unknown West Hemisphere's Dark Shores. Some Maarin are even god-marked with secret magical abilities. If the Celendorians discover their route to the West, they'll want to conquer it. Handsome Marcus, 20, is an imposing commander of the Celendor Empire's terrifying Thirty-Seventh Legion. The dangerous secret Marcus has causes ruthless blackmailer Cassius to gain power as consul, the Senate's leader. Teriana's ship is attacked, and she's captured and tortured by the Celendorians. To save her crew and injured mother's life, she agrees to guide Marcus and his regiment of ships to the Dark Shores. Teriana's and Marcus's perspectives are conveyed in alternate chapters, and although both seem infallible and strong-willed, they're imperfect and make bad decisions. The plot's twists and turns and fantastical elements add to the allure of this thrilling story.
VERDICT Exhilarating fantasy-adventure romance for fans of Tricia Levenseller's Daughter of the Pirate King, Alexandra Christo's To Kill a Kingdom, or Natalie C. Parker's Seafire. Readers will eagerly await the next book in the series.

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