Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
Series: Reign of Shadows #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, romance, retelling
Pub Date: February 9th, 2016
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.
I’ve been on a retellings kick lately, so I knew I had to read Reign of Shadows. I met Sophie when she was on tour with Victoria Aveyard and she was so lovely, so I knew I had to bump her book up to the top of my TBR. It seemed up my alley, and it was short enough that I could read it in one sitting. I think it’s safe to say that I enjoyed this book!
The premise of the book is what drew me in. A world where there is only an hour of light, and where monstrous creatures lurk in the dark? Oh, yes please! It payed homage to the tale it’s based upon–Rapunzel–but twisted it in a deliciously dark way. As for the actual plot itself, I felt as though there wasn’t much to it. The book was pretty short for a fantasy (less than 300 pages), and I felt like it ended just as things were getting good. This book felt like it was constantly building up to something huge, but nothing big ever really happened. There was action scenes and whatnot, but there wasn’t a true “oh my god what the holy hell” moment until the very end of the book (like, the last 5 pages). It disappointed me that there wasn’t much substance to it, but I still enjoyed reading it very much.
The pacing was slower than I thought it would be, but I’m a fan of slower books, if done right, and I think this book did it well enough. There were bits of action here and there that broke up the long chunks of time the characters spent traveling, which kept the book from feeling monotonous. However, even the action scenes weren’t very “fast,” pacing wise. It helped that it was a short book–I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if it was this slow for 400+ pages.
I wanted a lot more from the world. This wasn’t a very strict fantasy; it wasn’t trying to be more than it was, which I appreciated. Only, I wanted more details! I wanted to learn more about the kingdom and the evil chancellor, more details about how the world became so dark, and more about how the character’s planned to change it. Despite this, I actually liked that it wasn’t overly complicated; if you’re into that, then I definitely think you’ll like this book (as I did).
Characters make or break a book, especially one that relies so heavily on characters to keep the plot going. I can safely say that I really liked our main characters. Luna, our female MC, was unlike any character I’ve read about before. Despite being blind (this isn’t a spoiler, you learn this in the 1st 50 pages), she knew how to handle herself and wasn’t the damsel in distress like the princess she was based off of. Sometimes, though, I felt like she should’ve had more trouble because of her being blind, but since I’m not educated on this topic, I’m not sure. She’s one of our POVs; our second POV is
Flynn Rider Fowler. He’s definitely one of those “hard on the outside, soft on the inside” type of characters. His tragic backstory made me sympathize for him, but sometimes he was so pessimistic I wanted to hit him upside the head. Other than his constant negativity, I thought he was a lovely main character. Both of the characters had distinct voices, and I don’t think I ever got them mixed up.
As for the romance, I thought it was well done. The relationship was built up slowly but surely and didn’t come out of nowhere. Luna and Fowler were a good match; her positivity balanced out his negative nancy attitude. The actual romance scenes were pretty ~steamy~, but I’m sad that there weren’t that many 😦 Bring on the romance in book 2, please!
I have one major complaint–THAT ENDING. What the hell??? It confused me a little bit because it was from Luna’s POV, and since she’s blind she couldn’t describe what was going on very well. That isn’t my problem though. My problem is that it’s one hell of a cliffhanger and it’s just cruel to leave reader’s hanging like that!!!
Overall, Reign of Shadows was an entertaining, quick read. The premise was unique, the characters were well developed, and the romance cranked up the heat. I wish there was more woldbuilding, though–here’s to hoping for some in book 2! This was a fun and easy read, and I recommend it to everyone who loves a good character driven story and a fantasy without a bunch of hard rules.