Part 1: The Lady

Rated 4.14/5 based on 14 reviews
Trapped in fear and poverty after the death of her parents, the thief Nereia will go to desperate lengths to protect her beautiful younger sister from Copeland the moneylender. No-one has dared to attempt escape before; the whole of Scarlock trembles in his grasp. Only Nereia’s cunning and some unlooked-for help give her hope... More

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Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Words: 43,090
Language: English
ISBN: 9781908212016
About J.A. Clement

J.A. Clement lives near London with her partner and a sneaky but handsome lurcher with a predilection for gingerbread. She writes her fantasy series "On Dark Shores" whenever she can, mostly in her lunch hour (which probably explains the excessive number of bacon sandwiches that have to be edited out later).

The main series is accompanied by the 'Parallels' series which features other stories set in the same world. Her "To-Write" list is as big as your "To-Read" list (and covers several genres, but she just needs to finish this series first...)

For advanced warning of new releases, you can sign up to her newsletter via her blog, or she's happy to be contacted by readers via email at jaclement [dot] ondarkshores [at] gmail [dot] com. She is happy to answer any questions she can without spoilers, and does love a good gossip with fellow bookworms. You have been warned...

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Review by: Sheila Deeth on April 16, 2012 :
It took a little while to get into J.A. Clement’s On Dark Shores, the Lady, even though I’d already read the prequel, Parallels. But perhaps I was looking for too many parallels between the stories. Characters do reappear, but the story's set later and the future's more important than the past. The evil Copeland's still ruling the port town of Scarlock and Nereia, the thief, works for him, trying to keep her younger sister safe and fed. Boxer Blakey wounds people in his master's name but might be a much deeper character than he seems. Mickel deals with the outside world. Sailors man the ships and enjoy the brothels. And hope is hard to find.

Despite its darkness, this story’s infused with the promise of something more. Mysteries lurk on the edge of revelation as Nereia and her sister make a bid for freedom. The author spares nothing in portraying the cruelties and hardships of life, but adds a pleasing human kindness and the promise of more. I was just sorry the novella finished before the “more” was revealed, giving this reader a feeling of having read only part of something really good. I hope there’ll be a sequel soon, but I guess I wish I’d held off reading until the sequel was there.

The story’s highly recommended—just a pity it’s incomplete. More please!

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to get a free ecopy from the author in a promotion. Now I’ll just have to look out for more. These characters demand it.
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)

Review by: Amy Eye on Aug. 11, 2011 :
A small town is plunged into oppression single-handedly by a nasty piece of work. A long-ago wealthy child is now forced to live in squalor while trying to raise and protect her younger sister. A drug addict doing all the wrong things for the right reasons.

These are only some of the characters you will encounter when you enter this little town. The main focal point of the town is not known for its beauty, it is known for its short skirts and ample bosoms. This quaint little port town is also being held under the thumb of a tyrant who has no problem sicking his bodyguard on anyone who doesn't or is not able to pay back money loaned out.

Nereia is, unfortunately, this tyrants niece, but if you think that gains her pr her sister, Mary, any type of leniency, you would be way off the mark. Not only does this not help these two sisters, Nereia seems to get treated worse for the relationship. Her uncle is constantly trying to force her to work in the brothel, which she refuses to do. She puts her life at risk every night as a thief to keep her and her sister fed and out of his clutches. But his claws reach farther than she ever thought possible, and death may come to Nereia anyhow, and her pocketbook no heavier for the trouble.

I am anxiously awaiting the next book in this series, I must know what happens next. While I am waiting on the next installment, I would say it was one of my biggest irritants about the book. I felt that we had no closure to anything that was started in this book. While I know this is the first of a series, the readers need some sort of closure on at least one of the plot lines that are going on in this book. Unfortunately, none of the ends were tied up...leaving me to wonder what happened with everything.

What I did love about this book was the many plot lines that were woven in with one another. This is a very complex story being told in a short novella. I am intrigued to see how she will tie up the story to make them all fit, and what else she has in store for us.

The characterization in the book is done beautifully. We hate who we are supposed to hate, and let me tell you, if I ever would get a hold of the one we are supposed to hate in this story, there would definitely be police reports filed. I wanna beat the tarnation outta this man!! So, yes, we hate those we are supposed to hate, and are interested in all of the other characters that have been introduced. For being a shorter book, I would say this was very well done. I have seen longer books that had not been able to accomplish the same thing.

Anyone with a great imagination will be able to vividly bring up the horrific details that are brought up in this book. While this isn't a gruesome book, there are some elements in it that would be noteworthy in a horror flick. All I cam say is...Poor, poor Emma. The great thing about books though, is that you can make the details as clean or R-rated as you would like. Add in the smells, drips, and stains if you wish, or keep it a bit more sterile, but either way, you will still get a picture of the trauma happening.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a bit different than the run-of-the-mill book. This book actually takes me back to my younger years when I read more adventure books. There is no paranormal aspects to it, just all action and some adventure. Pay attention to the details as you go, or the web JA Clement weaves for you may be missing a few strands, and you will need to be aware of them all in order to grasp the concepts.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)

Review by: A. F. Stewart on Aug. 07, 2011 :
On Dark Shores 1: The Lady by JA Clement is an enthralling page-turner and I adored the book. The marvellous story sucked me in from page one and the way the author weaves her narrative elements together, I believe she may be the literary child of Charles Dickens and Ursula K. le Guin.

Sometimes you find a book that is such a delight to read, you don’t want to pry your eyes away from the page; On Dark Shores 1: The Lady is such a book. You fall in this world of fantasy from the first word, swept along by a wave of mystery, struggle, fear and appealingly genuine characters. The author serves you a world you can almost smell and taste and hear, where people act from hidden motives, spite, desperation, honour, duty and even cruelty. There is an entrancing spell woven from every fibre, with characters scheming revenge or thievery, manipulating for their own ends, fighting to escape and survive. But still, a certain thread of hope or fate winds a subtle touch through the book to elevate any grim or bleak ambience, giving the plot a radiating spark.

The only bad thing about this novel is that it ended too soon, but as it is the first in a series I can look forward to more. The end left tantalising questions still pending and I’m salivating to read the next instalment. Lucky for me, there was a sneak peek at the next part tucked away at the end of the book.

On Dark Shores 1: The Lady is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in a while, and I recommend you beg, borrow or buy this book. You won’t be disappointed.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)

Review by: IndolentReader on Aug. 02, 2011 :
Ahh, where to begin? Let me start by saying that this book is of a genre that wouldn’t usually be my first choice. Or second. Probably not even third. Then let me carry on to say that I am SO glad to have been offered the chance to read it, as On Dark Shores: The Lady is some of the best writing I have come across in a long time. It’s one of those books that has me enviously thinking “why can’t I write like that? It’s not fair!” every other sentence.

Author J.A. Clement has the knack of pulling the reader right along with the flow of the story. She takes the approach of frequent cuts between scenes, shifting the reader’s attention between characters, without ever losing focus on the central plot. I read this book with a constant nagging feeling of “just a couple more pages then I SWEAR I’ll put it down for the night” that somehow had me awake and still reading ’til dawn because I couldn’t quite bear to stop yet. There might be something wrong with me, though. It sounds like the inhabitants of the town of Scarlock aren’t exactly living overly happy or fulfilling lives under the thumb of the unpleasant Copeland, but somehow the author’s description of the place made me want to go there, rent myself a little stone hovel, wander the cobbled alleys and generally assimilate!

…. All of which leads me to the only minor thing I can fault this book on, and that is the fact that the author cruelly and heartlessly left me hanging. I got to the end of The Lady and felt a bit like I’d just finished a chapter in the most amazing epic novel when a mugger came up and snatched the thing out of my unsuspecting hands. Now I’m left feeling all bereft and longing for my next fix of the little world that Clement has dreamed up and so eloquently put down in words. There’s a difference, though - a BIG one! - between being left feeling dissatisfied and being left hungry for more. On Dark Shores: The Lady definitely has the latter effect, and in closing I’d just like to say one thing. J.A. Clement, I firmly believe you have this story all mapped out in your head, and I get the feeling it might be a long one (I do hope so). So, if you’d just be so kind as to give up all unnecessary extraneous distractions such as eating, sleeping, bathing and suchlike, and get down to the important business of writing and editing the rest of the On Dark Shores series, I would be pathetically grateful. At this point I’m quite desperate to find out what happens next, and I’m not ashamed to beg! Thanks much.

In short? Yes, you should read this.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)

Review by: Eroica Boldt on Aug. 01, 2011 :
Although I'm not a fantasy fan, I enjoyed On Dark Shores, Book 1 and I'm looking forward to the rest. Clements has created a bustling world crammed with backstory and layered with multiple, interrelated plots that I can't wait to see continued in subsequent books. Usually I like a denser atmosphere, with lots of moody details and description, but Clements strips this type of thing down to the essentials in favor of a driving pace, and I think this was a good move. There's a lot going on, and the action is quick enough that we stay engaged with all the various characters.

There's a prologue which pulls its weight: it whet my appetite by creating some suspense up front about the major characters and their stories, but it also framed the forestories in a larger world of dreams, magic, and prophecy in language evocative enough to satisfy even my prodigious appetite for shadow and water imagery. I hope in future books, Clements returns often to this other voice.

I do tend to be a weenie about violence, so I should mention that some scenes are horrific, but occur offstage. What makes it easier to bear is knowing that not all the victims are the "victim" type. I fully expect to see one in particular come back not just as a survivor, but as an even more powerful hero. In Clements' world, the shores may be dark, but there is brightness ready to burst from the depths.

When's the next one coming, JA?
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)

Review by: yaffa Dina on July 31, 2011 :
Caught pulled in right from the beginning -- a rare talent. The end left me greedy for the next volume. It did seem, not so much, historical as out of time,which is what I think good fantasy should be.
While the story and many of the characters are dark, there are enough twists and characters who aren't as cowardly and afraid of Copeland as they might have been. Can't wait for the next volume!
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)

Review by: yaffa Dina on July 31, 2011 :
Caught pulled in right from the beginning -- a rare talent. The end left me greedy for the next volume. It did seem, not so much, historical as out of time,which is what I think good fantasy should be.
While the story and many of the characters are dark, there are enough twists and characters who aren't as cowardly and afraid of Copeland as they might have been. Can't wait for the next volume!
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)

Review by: Jenn P on July 28, 2011 :
On Dark Shores is a tale that is just that, dark.
J.A. does a wonderful job in her descriptions of weather and scenery so much that I actually almost shivered.
That should say a lot since it is over a 100 where I live.
She gives such life to her characters that I could see them as real people and found myself even feeling their own emotions, even the most awful of villains!
Her main character in this book is a very headstrong and stubborn girl by the name of Nereia.
She will do anything possible to save her innocent little sister Mary, including swallowing her own pride and giving into the horribly oppressive and vicious Copeland who is in short, the town dictator.
I found this book to be an engaging read.
On Dark Shores is a tale of mystery, intrigue and despair.
The suspenseful ending will leave you with a ray of hope and excitement to get your hands on the second installment.
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)

Review by: Jeffrey M. Poole on July 16, 2011 :
A dark, gripping novella...

Without realizing it, I'm discovering myself a fan of novellas. Short stories with wonderfully created worlds and disctinct characters that are very easily imagineable. On Dark Shores is such a novella.

This story is set in a grimy little town where it is ruled mercilessly by the moneylender, Copeland. He and his bodyguard, Blakely, keep the villagers cowering with fear, extorting money and doling out beatings on a daily basis. There are two sisters, and one has been forced to become a thief, being a distant relative to Copeland himself. When the older sister realizes she'll be unable to protect the younger any longer, she determines it is time to try and escape from the clutches of her cousin.

There's clearly more going on with the townfolk than they let on. The bodyguard, Blakely, used to be a boxer, and has the power to eliminate the moneylender's grip over the town, but instead chooses to hide his emotions in booze and drugs. There's the barkeep, Mickel, who was formerly a medic, I think, and is forced to resume his old profession as the town doctor is afraid to cross Copeland.

I won't go into any other details here lest I inadvertently give away a spoiler. Let me just say, instead, that I enjoyed the story. The writing was smooth and flawless in execution. I had no problems imagining I was skulking around in the dark streets of Scarlock. This isn't a story for the faint of heart. There's gruesome scenes of torture and murder and of unspeakable acts of cruelty. On the plus side, the scenes are so well written that you're glued to the pages waiting to see what happens next, much like you would do if you saw an train wreck: you know you should look away, but you find yourself transfixed to the scene. Like that. :)

There were a few critiques that I could find. Again, without giving anything away, the skeleton scene. I'm not sure where that came from, but I was confused about why it was there. I think I see where the author was going with it, but just thought it was odd and not really fitting with the rest of the story. I feel as though the story was cut off abruptly, but I'll take that as a good sign, as I'm clearly intersted in learning what happens next, when Karma will finally catch up to those who need it, and what the fate of the older sister is.

Ms. Clement, nicely done! I'll definitely pick up the next in the series when it's released!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Rachael Gonzales on June 28, 2011 :
"On Dark Shores: The Lady" is a three part series that begins by introducing us to the thief, Nereia, and her much younger sister, Mary. They live in Scarlock, a tiny Harbor town dominated by a weasel of man named Copeland. Nothing gets past him, and the inhabitants of Scarlock live in fear of him and his bodyguard, a prior boxer named Blakey who spends his days roughing up the poor and unlucky who are unable to pay their debts.

Nereia and Mary are cousins of Copeland, but unless you had read that little bit of information you wouldn't believe it by the way he treats them. Nereia is driven to steal and give what meager treasures she finds to Copeland in order to keep herself from being made to work in his brothel, and save her sister from a similar fate. Although forced to live a life she would not have chosen given the chance, Nereia is one of the only characters we meet in "On Dark Shores: The Lady" with enough courage to stand up to Copeland and fight back. Unfortunately that fighting back gets her, and Mary, in more trouble than any one person deserves.

I really enjoyed J.A. Clement's debut novel. At first confused by the opening chapter, I eventually understood where she was going with her story and looked forward to turning each page. I was so engrossed in the novel that I found myself getting angry when I had completed it! There was a dark and eerie element in the story and I kept finding myself caught up within the web of words that Clement wove around her characters. I can't wait to read the second part of the series and find out who exactly the Mother of the Shantari is and what her role in Nereia's life will be. I also look forward to seeing Copeland get what he deserves but as I am not the author I can only hope that she finds a way of putting him in his place!

*Note: I received an ecopy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

"On Dark Shores: The Lady" was originally reviewed on my blog:
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

Review by: Kimberly Maloney on June 18, 2011 :
I loved this book! It had all the appeal of a novel of historical fiction, but a bit of fantasy is also thrown into the mix. It’s the first in a series of three I do believe. I will most definitely be getting the next two novels to read and review. I loved the characters and their stories. The evil Copeland is a great antagonist, and the grip he has on the fictional town of Scarlock is intense. His “muscle man” Blakey grows as a character in the novel, and at the end it’s hinted that there is much more to his story than meets the eye.

I adored the main character Nereia. She is a woman who is full of strength and determination, and I cannot wait to find out more of her story. Her fight to protect her sister is admirable, and it’s obvious that their story is going to be a mainstay throughout the series. Vansel is another great character that the reader is able to learn more about as the first book goes on. He comes across as a roguish character with a good heart. However, he does seek vengeance for the murder of his father.

I believe this is going to be a great series of books, and I am definitely looking forward to the other books. I am looking forward to see where the story line with “The Mother” of the Shantari people, the book begins with her going on a dangerous journey, but then she is rarely mentioned again throughout the book.

I honestly wish the book had been a lot longer! It was a pretty quick read, and I would have loved to keep reading and learning about the characters and the different cities and lands that the story takes place in. Obviously I would recommend this book to anyone.

I definitely give this book 5 out of 5 stars!
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

Review by: TC on May 26, 2011 : (no rating)
When I was offered this book for review I was a little hesitant as I don't think of myself as a fantasy fan. However when I thought about it I do read a bit of fantasy and sci fi, so agreed to review it with the author being aware it wasn't one of my usual genres. Once again opening my mind to something different has paid dividends though.

The harbour town of Scarlock is a virtual prison for its inhabitants, who are controlled by the moneylender Copeland.Those who get on the wrong side of him have to deal with his enforcer come bodyguard Blakey. Nereia is related to Copeland but this means nothing, she has had to become a master thief to support herself and protect her sister. However change is afoot and while Copeland starts losing control others are asserting themselves. Elsewhere the Mother of the Shantari, "guard and guide to her people", has to find The Lady and stop anything happening to her.

The majority of the action occurs in Scarlock, which has a faintly Dickensian feel about it, with its taverns and brothel, and the moneylender whose sharp practices trap the people in a cycle of poverty. I was captivated by Nereia's story and the way she remained determined to protect her younger sister despite the consequences to herself. I wanted to keep reading to see where the tale was going to go. I also found myself questioning whether Blakey was a bad person, inflicting violence under the guise of just doing his job, or himself a victim.

The role of the Mother of Shantari remains a bit of a mystery, no doubt to be addressed in future books in the series. She and the dark shore of the title provide the real fantasy element, and I was pleased to find I really enjoyed that aspect of the book and wanted a little more of it, rather than being put off by it. This is a dark and, in places, violent story that sets up what looks to be a grand epic.

While this book does set up a lot of threads to be picked up in the next one, and introduce a lot of characters I expect we will learn more about in future, I did feel that end was a little too abrupt and I felt a bit disappointed that I'd reached the end at that particular point. I need the next book in the series to be available pronto so I can pick up the threads again! This is a book that has been released after a decent edit and proof-reading, which always pleases me and I don't recall noting any typo's. That and the attractive cover make for a polished end product.

This is a great debut novel for J A Clement. The second book is one I'll be keeping an eye out for & I'm definitely going to have to reconsider what genres I say I enjoy in future.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Jenn Donnelly on May 25, 2011 :

On Dark Shores: The Lady is an odd little story of the town of Scarlock and it's many battered residents trying to make their way though life. They live in a land that's apparently in the middle of some sort of war between the Shantari and the Mardon which I think are neighboring races but could be just neighboring countries. It's not really completely clarified within the text itself.

The biggest issue with this story is that even though it's part of what will be a series of books it doesn't have it's own individual story arc. It is the beginning of what looks like it will be an amazing story but just that, the beginning. You have the build of getting to know each character, learning the plan of the villain and learning individual character motives which is great, but it's leading to something that even at the end you aren't sure what. Don't get me wrong, the story shows promise, but this looks like it's one of those books where it's best to wait to have all the pieces before you read it. When you reach the end it's much the case of what happens now? From what I've read it's my personal opinion that this story might have been better served as a really long book similar to the Historian in length than to have been broken up into individual pieces to what I believe is going to end up being a trilogy.

The beginning is a little hard to get into because it opens jumping from dream to dream in what seems like random characters and tends to leave you a little confused. From there you get a a short introduction to the Mother of the Shantari, but it doesn't really give a full explanation of what she does, who she really is. Yes we know she protects her people and that she has some gifted abilities to do so. We learn that there's something out there called the Dark Waters that's a danger somehow to the people but it's still a bit confusing. I think this scene would have better been served with a bit more background. I realize that some explanations were provided within a glossary at the back of the book, but most readers, myself included never look at glossaries or appendages unless there's no other choice. It's too reminiscent of school. Also a part of this scene included the daughter telling her mother what she should do, and to me that was a little realistic. It was only one line and then the interlude faded back to the norm of the mother being that all-knowing and the daughter asking the questions, but it's a bit jarring. Also the narrative style voice at the beginning leaves the reader at a bit of a distance wondering if you're really going to be able to connect to the characters. That being said the opening still has an interesting flow to it. Clement's words are almost like poetry as she opens this book, and it's almost reminiscent of I'd say and Irish lilting lullaby in flow.

Once you've passed the opening you start to get a real introduction the characters. You root for poor Nereia, an orphan uprooted from her home and mistreated by her awful cousin, while she struggles through dangers trying to protect her young sister Mary from the harsh truths of their life. You wish that Blakley would get a backbone and save the entire town from Copeland instead hiding in his drugs and booze while following his cruel employers orders. And you grow more and more curious about just what Mickel is doing in Scarlock because it's made very clear there's more to Mickel than meets the eye. Toward the end you even have a growing respect for the Madam. The last portion of the story introduces a few new characters, but the story doesn't have the opportunity to delve enough into those for you to really understand what role they're going to play in this book series. You have the idea it's going to be a pivotal role, but you can't be sure without having more to read.

It does take a little bit to find that connection to the character but once you find that spot the characters are there, in your face and raw. You can't help but connect to them. There are a few odd scenes of skeletons and beaches in small section of the story but as of yet those don't exactly make sense. Honestly I think I'll have a much better understanding when the next section of this story is released. Hopefully it won't be something we have to wait too long for because I finished the book feeling like a little kid whose mother had just come in and taken away their book in the good part and said it's time for bed. So then the kid can't sleep tossing and turning as they wonder what happens next. It's the opening of what could really be a phenomenal series, however it doesn't have enough of it's own story arc to hold as a single title in my personal opinion. However I still appreciate the experience the author has gifted with by giving me this story to read and review.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

Review by: Cambria Hebert on May 25, 2011 : (no rating)
Title: On Dark Shores: The Lady
Author: JA Clement
Publisher: Weasel Green Press March 2011
Format: E-book (Paperback, coming soon)

In the tiny harbor town of Scarlock, the residents are dominated by fear. They live in trepidation of when the next visit from Copeland, the town moneylender, will come. Copeland takes pride in the fact that he ‘runs’ the town and is increasingly demanding in the money and goods he collects. Blakey is Copeland’s bodyguard and the man that does all the dirty work around town-such as beating people up when they don’t pay on time.
In order to pay Copeland’s demands for money, Nereia has chosen the life of a pick pocket. In order to protect her sister, Nereia must get bolder every time she steals. Unfortunately, Copeland has decided he has a new way for Nereia to pay her debts, and this way means that Nereia must sacrifice not only her pride and honor but her body and soul. To save herself and her sister Nereia, must make some tough choices and change her life forever.
Let me start out this review by talking about the cover. It is gorgeous! I love the shades of blue and the images. There is something still and eerily beautiful about it. I could sit and look at the cover image for an hour and never be bored.
On Dark Shores: The Lady is a quick read that introduces you into the small town of Scarlock and to the people who live there. It gives you the beginning of what I think will be quite the tale!
Nereia is a very strong character that I admired quite often throughout the book. This woman has a real backbone! She was the only person that was ever confident enough to stand up to Copeland even a little bit. Sure, she had to do what he demanded, but at least she told him how unhappy she was about it while she was doing it. Everything she did was to protect her young, innocent sister, Mary, who she tried desperately to keep away from Copeland. It was touching to me how she could go out by day, square her shoulders and steal and be quick lipped with anyone who challenged her but then go home to their very modest home and be soft and kind to her sister.
Copleand was another character that I found fascinating. I have to say, I didn’t like him (and you probably won’t either-considering the heinous things he does against people), but I was drawn to figure out why he was so controlling, uncaring and without conscious. It was almost as if he had two people living inside of him. There was personality number one, who wanted power and money, but needed Blakey to be the enforcer. Then there was personality number two who was sick and very violent. Copeland tried to maintain a very tight control over himself, so it was personality number one that we often saw….but then sometime number two would come out, and boy was it ugly!!
Blakey was a washed up boxer with a shoulder injury who seemed to have no problem doing Copleand’s bidding…at least that’s what the reader thinks at first. He is a character that probably should have been unlikable, yet, I liked him. Getting to know him, the reader gets to see another side of him-the more human side. This Blakey fellow might actually be my favorite character of the book.
While the characters in this story were very good and always managed to evoke a strong reaction from me I have to say that while reading this book I was sometimes confused. I had a hard time following the beginning, and I still am not quite clear on what the Shantari’s role is in any of this. There are a lot of characters in this story, and I have yet to discover exactly what role each of them play. However, JA Clement did include a glossary of names and terminology at the end of the book. It did help to understand a few things, and I wished I had the glossary at the beginning of the book and not the end.
This reviewer has it on good authority (it was in the back of the book-hehehe) that two more “On Dark Shores” books are in the editing stages with plenty more to come. In these future books I am sure that the things I am left wondering about will be answered, and I will be left saying, Ahh -Hah!
Review is written by Cambria Hebert
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)

Review by: Lisa C Hinsley on April 18, 2011 :
On Dark Shores is a quick read and the start to what I suspect might be a long series. The saga begins in a town with Victorian undertones, with the dirty streets and the hardships shown in all their glory. Each of the characters seems to have made a sacrifice of some sort, with information being fed slowly to the reader. This is not a story for the faint hearted, there is murder, abuse, and a madman loose within the pages. This is a wonderful debut for JA Clement, and I wish her luck as the lives of the characters she’s created unfolds in later books.
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)

Review by: Mike RS on March 12, 2011 :
This is a rather splendid tale, told with charm and intelligence. I've read through it three times in quick succession, because there's more to discover each time you look - always a good sign! JAClement seems very adept at mixing different registers of story, so we get some tense action, humourous asides, thunderous fantasy sequences, and characters that feel lively and intently crafted.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who like a good yarn, though some of the content might unsettle younger or more delicate readers. It's never gratuitous, but it is occasionally hard-hitting.

All-in-all a great read, and well worth the effort. I'm looking forward to the next installment immensely!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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