Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Book One of the Reign of Shadows series
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.
But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.
With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.
What I Liked:
If this book were a standalone, it would get three stars - a whole star knocked off because of the ending. BUT, given this handy statement, we know there is at least another book. Thank goodness too, because the ending of this book is brutal!
Luna has lived in the tower in the middle of nowhere for her entire life, with her guardians, Sivo and Perla. She isn't allowed to venture from the tower, especially not alone, despite being very capable of defending herself (thanks to Sivo's training). One night, she sneaks out, and saves the lives of three people, including Fowler, a young archer looking for a better life, trying to find a better life elsewhere. Circumstances force Luna to leave the tower - with Fowler. Together, they must brave the forest - and their own secrets - and fight to stay alive.
Luna is such a different heroine in YA. She's the lost princess of Relhok, born on the day an eclipse brought eternal darkness over the land. Everyone thinks she died with her parents that day - many don't know she exists. Luna is protected and coddled by Sivo and Perla, yet she is more than capable of defending and handling herself. There is something that makes her so striking, so extraordinary. I am very curious to know how her birth ties with the eclipse, and why she is inherently recognized as special and unique (when people meet her, they can almost tell something is different).
I like Luna; she's brave and stubborn and a bit proud - she tries to be her best and strongest self, and it's pretty cool to see how she grows for the duration of this book. She isn't quite the same person, by the end of the book. She'd never been away from her tower for so long and so far, and the experiences Outside have changed her. And yet, she still has all of her internal light and goodness.
Fowler is our other protagonist. This book is written in first-person dual POV, switching between Luna and Fowler. I liked both of their POV's. Fowler is gruff and stern and serious, and he has secrets of his own. He doesn't let anyone past his walls, and he doesn't show much emotion. He doesn't want to be Luna's friend (yet she wiggles her way past his armor). Fowler is the way he is because of life in the eclipse; he's hardened and determined to find a better life in Allu, free of dwellers (creepy creatures that started to appear after the eclipse).
I like Fowler a lot - he's a strong male protagonist, protective and intelligent, more selfless than he thinks. I liked seeing Luna and Fowler warm up to each other - it took Fowler a long time, because he refused to want to like her. He blames himself for a lot of things in his past, and he doesn't want to drag anyone with him. Noble idiot.
The world of this book is pretty fascinating, but not outrageously special. Luna and her tower reminded me of Rapunzel (is this a retelling ish?). I'd like to see more of the setting in Relhok, but I think that's to come. Overall, well-written world-building novel of an epic fantasy novel.
I LOVE the romance. You guessed it - Luna and Fowler slowly fall for each other. And by "slow" I MEAN SLOW. It's nice, the slow-burn romance. I like the types of romances that go from hate to love, and do it in such a slow and simmery way. This romance had it all. Well, no love triangle, that's for sure. There aren't "steamy scenes" - given how the romance progressed, there was some tension, but more trust and emotions, and then some chemistry. I'm curious to see where the romance will head in the next book!
I'm especially curious to see the direction the book will head in general. Luna and Fowler discover something pretty radical that the king is doing, as well as Fowler learns some serious things about Luna, and Luna learns some serious things about Fowler. Luna will have to make a choice, given how the book ended. The story really opens up at the end; I was wondering when the author would start to incorporate some of the ideas she was hinting at and foreshadowing (Luna's birth and the eclipse, her inherent goodness, etc.). Hopefully all will be revealed in the next book!
Oh cruel ending! The ending of this book was really mean, honestly. It's a perfect hook for the sequel, and I'm 99% sure this will be a duology only... but the ending killed me a little! Like I said before, if this book were a standalone, it would be getting maximum three stars. That. Ending!
What I Did Not Like:
I think, overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn't LOVE it like it's my new favorite, but I liked the story. I zipped through it fairly quickly. One thing that I would have liked more explanation on was the eclipse, as well as Luna's birth and the eclipse, but I'm sure we'll get more of that in book two. Also I'm slightly confused about the science of the book - are we assuming the plants and trees and vegetation of the forest don't need the sun to survive? Chemotrophs here? And humans too... we NEED sunlight to survive (there are health problems from lack of sunlight). I'm not going to think too much on the science (which is weird, coming from this environmental engineer), but I think there were some inconsistencies!
Would I Recommend It:
I wouldn't NOT recommend it! It's an interesting book, and a very fast read. I will say that the ending is pretty cruel, so maybe binge-read the series, or read this one at your own risk. You are warned! If you liked what I said about the romance, then this book is a solid choice!
3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I'm pretty happy with this book! I'm not questioning/looking further into a few things - using my imagination and letting things go. I enjoyed the book! So glad there's no love triangle or other weird Sophie Jordan YA novel aspects - let me not speak too quickly though!
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!
So this is a YES, READ IT! but maybe wait for the next one in the series/duology? so you can binge read and not have an agonizing wait because of the awful cruel ending??ReplyDelete
YES! Exactly that! I think it'll be a duology but not 100% certain. I did enjoy this book though! :DDelete
I liked this book. I like Jordan's writing. She really hasn't disappointed me yet. But you do make some good arguments about the science of things. Also, I didn't think the world was anything special or different. I liked it but didn't LOVE it. And she's already turned in the second book to her editor, so it's definitely more than one. I am pretty sure it's a duaology from what I've seen her say. Great review, Alyssa!ReplyDelete
I'm so glad to hear that! I didn't like her Firelight series (I think that is what it's called?) but I have enjoyed the books I've read by her in the past two years or so (YA, NA, and adult). Definitely looking forward to reading the next book!Delete
Thank you, Brooke!
I've never read a book by this author. This sounds pretty good. Luna sounds like a character I would like. Wonderful review.ReplyDelete
She's so unique! I liked her character voice, very different. Thank you, Erin!Delete
I want to read this book so bad! It sounds so good and the cover is so insanely gorgeous! Your review makes it sound so good too! I have this book preordered, but I don't know how I'm supposed to wait that long! I tried requesting this one on Edelweiss and they shot me down. :( Guess I'll just have to wait until February. Wonderful review, as always! :)ReplyDelete
I hope you adore the book, Cyra! It was great - except that ending! I wish you had Harper auto-approval! Although it's quite terrifying, when you rack up a ton of eARCs (like I did this week - OOPS).Delete
Enjoy! And thank you!
I'm really excited for this book! I honestly assumed it was going to be a series since it's (high) fantasy (?) so it never occurred to me to think of it as a stand-alone - which sounds like a good thing, considering the cruel cliffhanger ending you mentioned! =O But yeah, seriously can't wait to read it!ReplyDelete
Awesome review! <3
It's high fantasy! A duology. I only assumed standalone because there was no information that said otherwise, on Goodreads or Edelweiss. The cliffhanger was BRUTAL!Delete
I hope you love it, Meredith! Happy reading. ^_^
Yes for slow-burn romance! I'm not super keen on cliff-hangers though so I might wait for the sequel to release, although that's ages away... Thanks for the review, Alyssa!ReplyDelete
Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf
ME EITHER! I wish someone would read books early as well as TELL US which books have cliffhangers, so I'll know what to binge-read (or possibly avoid)!Delete
You're welcome, Zareena! Thank YOU. <3
Amazing review Alyssa I've been dying to read a book by Sophie Jordan. I heard nothing but great reviews about her books, and this one looks and sounds fantastic and right my alley. I also thought it was an Rapunzel retelling but I don't know if it is. But I have a feeling that I am really going to love and enjoy this series. So I am just going to wait for the next book to come out to read the first book. Because like you I so despise cliff hunger ending in books, and if this one is really brutal at the end. Than I just rather wait for the next book to come out and binge read them. Thank you for your awesome post my friend!ReplyDelete
I think it might be a Rapunzel retelling, of a sort! I can't wait to read the next book (in 2017 - *cries*). You're very welcome, Katiria!Delete
Gorgeous review Alyssa :D YAY for enjoying this book so much. <3 But aw.. I had decided to not get it. Now I'm unsure. But evil ending? Yeah, I should probably wait for book two, lol :D But yay for loving the romance :D I had heard only bad things about it.. so it makes me happy that you loved it :)ReplyDelete
I'm sorry! I know Jordan has a weird track record with bad romances in YA, but this one seems good. The ending IS really cliffhanger-y though. I'm really glad I liked it too, Carina!Delete
I'm not sure about the ending issue since it's one of my pet peeves. Anyway, I will probably read it, just because the premise sounds so good.ReplyDelete
RIGHT?! And I feel like so many YA novels that I've read recently have had cliffhanger endings. A shame! Still, this one was pretty good. :)Delete
OOoh nice! I am super excited for this one! Glad to hear it was awesome!! Though I am feeling very worried about this cliffhanger because I am not sure I can wait to read this one! But oh gawd!! I'm thinking all sorts of horror stories that could possibly be waiting for me. But glad to see you enjoyed it!! Great review!ReplyDelete
It's quite the cliffhanger, too! I hope you love it, Jessica - it's definitely worth the read, but I'm very anxiously awaiting the sequel. *bites nails*Delete
Thank you, Jessica!