If I hoped for a more complete ending from this second of J.A. Clement’s On Dark Shores series I might be disappointed. But Nereia’s tale does come to a fascinating turning point and the oddly ambiguous bad guy, Blakey, begins his approach to redemption. Meanwhile the Mother lies waiting in the wings and armies start to gather, and I'm hooked. The world of this series is nicely complete with history, present and future waiting to unfold. Characters interact with pleasing dialog and genuine feeling. The streets, stores and shores of Scarlock feel very real. And there’s no sense of author intrusion as the story propels itself forwards. The fiercely addictive contents of Blakey’s snuffbox and the haunting appearance of Nereia’s Dark Shores visitor add depth and mystery, making the reader eager for more even though the mysterious Mother has yet to be revealed. Expert world-building combines with good writing, great characters and dialog, and a sense of increasing tension to make this a thoroughly enjoyable series—just as long as you’re willing to wait for the end. If incomplete stories really annoy you, I’d suggest you place this high on to your future read-list. But if you’re looking for a nicely worked-out fantasy world to spend some reading time in, this is the series for you.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review, and I hope book 3 comes out soon!
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