ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Format: Audio | Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Published April 8th 2014 by Harper Audio
They hear the spirits.
They must obey.
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.
Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.
Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court - one that will alter the balance of their world forever.
Alright then. Sounds interesting.
Shadow Stalkers, vengeful spirits that possessed the dead bodies of the villagers and turned them into mindless, flesh-eating zombies.
They have zombies? Heck yeah, I'm in!!!
Then we get to know the twins and hellooooo yawn kingdom! Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce are-you-an idiot Ashyn and are-you-crazy Moria. They are twins. Double the, well... frustration.
The Main Characters
Ashyn is the Seeker and her job is to find corpses and rest their bodies and spirits into eternal slumber. She had her immortal hound, Daigo, to aid her in completing her tasks. Then Moria is the Keeper, assigned to keep the spirits at bay and protect the village with the help of her immortal wildcat, Tova. I couldn't decide whom I liked worst. Both of them are exceedingly annoying characters. Honestly!
The job is quite simple, go find the angry spirits and convince them that their angst and pining is pretty much pointless since they're already dead. So Ashyn hopped along the forest to do just that, never mind that her IMMORTAL hound, who by the way is said to be the reincarnation of a great warrior, was doing his best to stop her.
Ashyn be like, "Oh Daigo. I want to heed your advise since you only exist to protect my life but I must do my best to please the villagers. Plus, I secretly aspire to be like my sister Moria. Reckless, illogical and a staarrrr. Promise, I'll be careful." Yeah, you do that. Idiot.
Then commence the disappearing sister act, zombie kills, kidnapping, bandits, and more kidnappings. Considering that most of these happened in the forest is mind-boggling. Could it be possibly a sign to stay away from the forest?! But since we have dumb and dumber as main characters, I really shouldn't had gotten my hopes up.
Now, let's talk about Moria.
Moria thinks she is a bad ass. Well, Moria is wrong. Moria lies a lot, runs around, and talks too much. She is like a banshee. Annoying. I just want to stuff her inside a locked chest and throw away the key.
I failed to see what is so special about these girls. Sure they could talk to spirits but they're not very good at doing it. In fact, they sucked! The guardian animals, whom should've added some spice to the story left me with a bitter aftertaste. Just like their masters, they were useless.
Seeking got out of hand, zombies aka Shadow Stalkers in the flesh attacked, sister got kidnapped and twin rushed in to save her. Rinse and repeat. *yawns
I think that our beloved author is going for the high/epic fantasy route but fell short.
The book is boring. But, but it had zombies! I love zombies. I adore them. I like to cage them and pet them and stare at them all day, in a non-creepy way of course. It's like, "My plot might be a bit dry and repetitive, but we have zombies!!! Love me." No, not gonna happen. You're boring.
You know what will solve the main conflict and little conflicts of this story?
MOBILE PHONES. Give the girl a damn phone and get on with it. Agghhh!!
M: Ashyn! Wr r u? What's taking so long?
A: OMG. Shadow stalkers attack!!! SOS
M: On my way. Tracking u via GPS. I also sent a Twitter alert to the council. Take pictures.
End of story.
The Romance (?)
Of course, what kind of self-respecting YA/Fantasy novel lacked the element of romance? I appreciate the fact that Armstrong did not add insta-love to the mix. KA is one of my favorite authors and the main reason I like her so much is that she molds the banters and the almost-kisses into a slow but sure dance to couple territory. You see it coming but still takes you by surprise. Well, this book is a disappointment.
The romance, if not non-existent, is underdeveloped to the point where the intimacy shown (call that an overstatement) and moments of fleeting feelings felt forced.
What Helped Me Get Through This
To be quite honest with you, I had a hard time focusing on this book. And it's not because I was listening to it, far from it. In fact, if I was not listening to it, I probably wouldn't have finished it.
Jennifer Ikeda is my savior! No, really. If it wasn't for her masterful narration, I wouldn't be able to finish this book. Her voice brought colors and layers to the story. Her narration single-handedly motivated me to finish this book. My goodness, she even made me like, just a little bit, the character of Ashyn with her innocent and gentle voice. Safe to say, this book would've gotten a lower rating if it was not for the narrator.