Title: Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Romance, Retelling, Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen
Date Published: Feburary 9th, 2016
Page Count: 304
Source: Author Website
“Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness, and in the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, the kingdom’s lost princess, has been locked away in a tower in the cursed Black Woods ever since. Luna’s survival depends entirely on the world believing she is dead…
But that doesn’t stop Luna from longing for a life beyond the stifling tower walls. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer who has braved the Black Woods in search of a land where the sun still shines, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk.
When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is far more treacherous than Luna ever realized. Hideous, flesh-hungry creatures lurk behind every corner and each stranger they encounter has frightening ulterior motives.
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.”
It has been quite some time where I have read a book and fell IMMEDIATELY in love with the characters. That said, I did really enjoy reading books like The Accident Season, The Graces, When the Moon was Ours, Three Dark Crowns and The Hawkweed Prophecy, but with these stories it took me a little while to grow to love each main character. For some reason Reign of Shadows story and characters rooted into my soul and gave me lost feelings I didn’t know I still had. There was something enticing and enchanting about this story. It pulled me in and didn’t want to let go, much like the dark dwellers in this novel.
Reading this book had me convinced that I wanted to be just like Luna! She is strong-willed, stubborn, childish at times, a bit naive but kind hearted in nature. But don’t let those characteristics fool you! She could cut you down with one strike of her sword. Luna is agile and nimble in the way she fights; and this is due to her lack of sight. Yes, Luna is blind. Her other senses make up for this obstacle and it is well laid out in the book. I loved how the author played to Luna’s strengths rather than her weaknesses. Luna has faults just like any other well rounded character, but she doesn’t let that stop her from believing that she can do what any other “normal” person can do. She can do almost everything a person with sight can do and I commend her for that. I relish in the fact that Luna is strong and brave and stubborn when it comes to doing things for herself because I can see myself in those qualities. Those relatable qualities make for perfectly imperfect characters, which in turn make for better storytelling.
Then we have Fowler….sweet, incorrigible and emotionally harden Fowler. Fowler is the boy who comes from a disheveled past, but you know deep down he still has a heart of gold. You can sense this while reading the story and in the moments he shares with Luna. Fowler is a skilled archer who has set out on his own wanting nothing more then to leave the kingdom of Relhok. He wants to leave behind all the pain and all the suffering he has endured over the course of his life. He’s the boy who needs saving but doesn’t realize he needs to be saved. When Luna and Fowler are forced together he keeps his distance from her for some time, but slowly you can see his guard falter as their journey escalates. I think my favorite moments between Luna and Fowler are the “almost moments.” You know…like the “almost” kiss or the accidental touch or the “I feel something for you but I’m going to play it off like I don’t” type of situations. Those are the moments that drive the reader crazy but keep them abated. It draws you in enough that you have to keep reading the story until you get that payoff moment. Those are the moments I crave in great YA novels.
I would have liked to see more of a backstory for Perla and Sivo. Sivo was once a worker at the palace who worked for the King (don’t forget Luna is the lost princess of Relhok). Perla was basically Luna’s impromptu mother and nursemaid. Perla and Sivo always seemed to keep Luna in check. They reminded her that Cullan was the high chancellor who killed her parents and this is what drives Luna’s life. It’s not as if Luna is out to seek revenge, it’s more of a “this is why I need to stay alive” type of situation. After Cullan killed Luna’s parents he announced himself as the new king, but with Luna still alive you know she is the rightful heir to Relhok. So it’s only a matter of time before Luna goes and seeks out Cullan, not for the throne but to stop his manhunt against the young girls of the kingdom.(If you read this book you will see why Cullan is doing what he is doing). I adore that Perla and Sivo took such great care of Luna when her parents were murder. They care for Luna like she is one of their own, and in a way she is (because she is the kingdom’s Queen after all). Sivo with his broody strength (that is slowly deteriorating with this age), and Perla with her motherly over-protectiveness (and who can’t live outside of the tower). You know they both love her dearly and want to protect her in any way they can. I wanted a little more out of their characters so they could grow on me. Not saying I didn’t enjoy them with the material I had, but sometimes more is better! (In most cases anyways…tehehe).
Reign of Shadows is definitely not short in the way of twist and turns! You may think you have the story figured out and them BAM! Something else changes and your mind is blown. But if you have been following me for some time then you know I love me a good plot twist. The plot twist are kind of easy to figure out if you pay enough attention to the story-line though. Young adult is “figuratively” similar in the way of story premise, themes, characters, and development. The same could be said of any anime show or manga. It’s all about foreshadowing and picking up on key elements. If you are a very avid reader (like myself) you can pick these out very easily.
I loved loved loved this story from the moment I started it! I feel like it’s hard talking about a book sometimes because you can never really do it justice, unless you read the book for yourself. Some stories ensnare you from the moment you read the first line and that is what Reign of Shadows did. I couldn’t read this book fast enough! I actually finished it pretty quickly even though my reading times were split up. I can finish a book in about 6 hours if I have the whole day to just read. I am so excited Rise of Fire comes out in just a few short days. It’s nice when you pick up a book later than its intial release date and the sequel comes out just as you finish the first one. I like when stuff like that happens! Sometimes I am super impatient when it comes to book sequels. Like…just give me the second, third and fourth book NOW! I want to know every little detail possible. If you love dark fantasy, high fantasy, a little bit of romance and a lot of creepy creatures then go pick up this book! Shoo shoo!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
From the author’s site:
“Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.”
If you would like to purchase Reign of Shadows then click here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reign-of-shadows-sophie-jordan/1121953912?ean=9780062377654.