I was honestly completely surprised when the story began with Ciara’s unnatural ability to control another person’s mind during a battle to protect her kingdom from the Northmen who have come to raid. I loved how the story opened with showing the reader that Ciara truly is a warrior princess who has the ability to fight for what and who she believes in. After she takes the Northman leader prisoner, she ends up on a quest to destroy an even greater foe to the kingdom who will take everything from her, including her family if she does not defend them. Ciara and Leif (the Northman leader) travel the ancient world of Éirinn to the battle where they will have to sacrifice everything they love to save the kingdom.
This was a pretty basic storyline to me. Warrior princess meets heroic bad boy. Leaves with him to save the kingdom. Learns *secrets* about him and herself along the way. They fall in love naturally. They save the day. So in this aspect it was nothing original or mind blowing, but I did love the added storyline of the Fae which I was not anticipating at all!
I did not like the romance. At all. Not that it felt forced but it did nothing for me. To me they only fell in love because they were alone together for weeks and had no other company so they ended up leaning on each other and then, fell in love. It just did nothing for me because there was no passion and I understand its a YA book and there’s nothing graphic, which is not the problem at all, I just never felt any heat or chemistry between the two main characters.
I also did not like the fact that at the beginning of the story Ciara only *mildly* knows how to use her power of being able to control another person’s mind and then about halfway through the book she gets a couple lessons from another woman that practices the art of seidr (dark magic) and SUDDENLY she is literally dubbed a master of seidr. Like, that is not real at all. No one masters an art like that basically overnight.
I am still giving Beyond A Darkened Shore 4 stars though because I thought the story was a lot of fun, I loved the Norse and Celtic mythology and the introduction of some well known characters, and I did really like the main characters (just not together!)