Arc Review: Tarnished Empire


A siege is laid against the last resistance to the Senate’s rule. As the battle rages, a commander, a soldier, and a rebel will decide how far they are willing to go for victory.


Marcus is forced to choose between destroying the rebel forces and liberating his legion. He must face the true cost of being a leader. And an oppressor.


Agrippa sets his sights on glory to fill the deepening void within him. He discovers that the price of fame might not just be paid in blood, it might be paid by his heart.


Silvara joins the rebel forces to fight against the legions who would see her family dead. While she dreams of being a warrior, she finds her sharpest weapon is seduction. But to defeat the Empire, she’ll have to betray the young man who now has her heart.

Tarnished Empire (Dark Shores #0.5)Title: Tarnished Empire
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Young Adult
Trigger Warnings: Mentions of sexual assault, Sexual Content, War, Violence, Swearing, Character death, Alcohol
Rating: ★★★★☆


I am so happy I was given the opportunity to read and review this. As I have mentioned a few times on this blog, Danielle L. Jensen is becoming a favorite author of mine. Tarnished Empire is a new installment of the Dark Shores series. It follows Marcus and introduces some new characters, Agrippa and Silvara, who I absolutely adored. There is also an openly gay couple in this novella that I appreciated.

Before I continue any further, I would like to speak about the order of the series. Dark Shores and Dark Skies are parallel storylines and Tarnished Empire takes place before, so you can read them in any order. If you want more fantasy, I recommend starting with Dark Shores so you can become invested enough in Marcus to read his novella.

Tarnished Empire is very war centric and gives Galdiator/Troy vibes. There are definitely still some fantasy elements, but they are in the background. In this story, there are three point of views:

  • Marcus, the legatus of the 37th Legion. He is known for his war tactics and brought in to help win the battle.
  • Agrippa, the 37th’s primus . He is so fun and sassy. Definitely lifts the mood of everyone around him. A big flirt. But someone catches his eye…
  • Silvara, the laundress who is really a spy. She is tasked to seduce Agrippa and find out the strategy of his army so that she can warn her people.

I absolutely devoured this within a day, which says a lot. I tend to be a slow reader, but I couldn’t put this down. It really helps the chapters are short, which I appreciate. I just kept telling myself “one more chapter” until I finished the whole thing!

This was a very light read given the setting of this story. Luckily for me, the battle was one of the very last chapters. It was pretty character centric up until that point. I laughed and gasped all throughout. Just please read this series so I can have someone to talk about this with! I am obsessed.

Thank you to Danielle L. Jensen for the arc! This title was released January 26, 2021.

we are all stardust and stories…

5 thoughts on “Arc Review: Tarnished Empire

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