Review: Beyond a Darkened Shore-Jessica Leake

Beyond a Darkened Shore


Young adult, fantasy, mythology

First Person



Get it here




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.


I found this while looking through a book app and decided to give it a go. I hadn't heard of it prior or the author, but it sounded like a fun book that wasn't too dark and angsty. I ended up liking it more than I thought it would, but it's not at the top of my list for 2018, that's for sure. 

Ciara is the princess of Mide, but she's no prim and proper gal. She's a warrior and battles to protect her kingdom. She has a special ability that helps in battles but she doesn't know exactly what it is our how to control it. Ciara is very tough but has moments of weakness and emotional bursts-which I really liked. I hate when the female protagonists are seen as tough and never show an ounce of emotion. She was real and cried in the right moments or wasn't sure of herself. 

I would have liked to have seen her powers used a tad more. It seemed very back seat to the rest of the story which isn't bad but I was expecting her to have a few uncontrollable outbursts while learning to harness them and that didn't happen. 

Lief is a Northman, and he and her people don't generally get along. They meet in battle when he comes to her shores and she captures him. He's very strong, loves a good battle, and wishes for Valhalla when he's finished with his quest. I liked Lief. At first I thought he'd be like any other historical character Hero and he'd brood and want nothint to do with her. He was actually funny and really cared about her, which took me by surprise. Their friendship was quick as was the movement into a relationship. I would have liked that to have been a bit more slow and drawn out.

The mythology in this book was really facinating. I know a bit about the Norse and Celtic mythologies but it was interesting to read about it in this book. Some things were new and I liked how the author incorporated them into the story. 

I felt like the story was really fast despite the good amount of pages. The end felt rushed and I would have liked an epilogue maybe a few months later or something. 

This book was good but not outstanding. If you're looking for something quick with a bit of romance and mythology, this is something you'll like.