Review: Empire of Night

2.5 out of 5 stars

I want these books to be better than they are! Empire of Night, by Kelley Armstrong (Age of Legends #2)

IMG_1296It’s tough to pinpoint exactly why some books are not compelling. In this case, the first sign is that I read the first Age of Legends book, Sea of Shadows, over a year ago. It’s taken me this long to reach for the sequel. I quickly knew why.

Twins Ashen and Moria are born to spiritual posts: they are the fate-selected Seeker and Keeper of their village, Edgewood. Their powers allow them to communicate with the spirits and guide them (Ashen, the Seeker) or battle them (Moria, the Keeper). In Sea of Shadows, an evil sorcerer bent on taking the Imperial Throne unleashes evil, killing everyone in Edgewood and stealing its children. In Empire of Night, the girls are still on that quest.

The story isn’t bad: it’s creative, detailed, and well-built. Neither girl is particularly worthwhile, though. They have mediocre personalities with broad-stroke traits. Supporting characters are similarly blah. The language is unnecessarily stilted: the IMG_1297impersonal pronoun is constantly used (“If one wishes to survive, one must….”) and author Kelley Armstrong is obsessed with the word “ought.” I don’t think I’ve heard “should” used a single time, it’s always, “I ought to be going,” etc. It makes the dialogue, which is happening between teenagers, seem formal and awkward, sticking to the audiobook narrator’s tongue like glue. (Side note: the miscast narrator sounds like a 35 year old woman.)

Overall, the Age of Legends series just has no oomph. Instead, as this second installment wore on, I found myself saying, “Oh my God, shut up!” as Moria went on and on about her captivity (which was only five days long) in terrible conditions (nowhere near as bad as your usual dungeon). The whole thing seems out of step with the YA lexicon. This series could be quality – the potential is there. Sadly, it’s not reached.

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