Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review: Reign of Shadows

Title: Reign of Shadows (Reign of Shadows #1)
Author: Sophie Jordan
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Dystopia | Romance
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Format: eARC
Source:  Publisher

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.
With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best (goodreads)

Reign of Shadows is nothing if not unique. 
Plot: Imagine a world of eternal night. It sucks that you can't see and plants are dying, but there are little ground-demons that will pick your bones in seconds. You want to read this one now, don't you? Reign of Shadows drew me in from the first chapter where we are introduced to a lonely princess in a tower. Like most YA novels, she was spirited away from an evil usurper and must be kept alive at all costs. 

Admittedly, Reign of Shadows is a slower paced novel. It takes place over various landscapes, but not a lot of "big" action happens in these 300 pages. As a reader who prefers slower paced novels, I enjoyed it as it gave me a chance to assess the situation and get to know new characters. That being said, the ending was one of the most abrupt cliffhangers I have ever read. Ever. It's one of those cliffhangers where you turn the page and expect a new chapter...but it's the acknowledgments. It seemed odd to have such an ending when the overall pacing of the story was slower. 

Characters: At first, Luna annoyed me. Her language was overly formal and she fit the "Rapunzel formula" (sheltered girl leaves her tower for the first time) to a T. Over time, I respected her decisions along with her inner and outer strength. 

One of Jordan's strengths is writing characters that stick with you. Regardless of how much "screen time" these characters get, I always felt involved with the story and that I knew their background. A lot of characters are only present for a handful of chapters, but their interactions made Reign of Shadows feel more like an epic journey. 

As you would expect from Sophie Jordan, there is a romance that will have you fully engaged. I enjoyed the slow build and watching these two characters come together. 

 Worldbuilding: You don't need me to tell you that the world building in Reign of Shadows is immaculate. There are repercussions from the eternal darkness and a society that has made do with such terrible conditions. Animals have evolved to give themselves a fighting chance in this dark world, like tree wolves. Wolves that can climb...trees.

The actual night-time monsters were a bit odd. I know that they're supposed to be these fearsome creatures, but their descriptions were just laughable and didn't really strike me with fair.

Short N Sweet: Reign of Shadows is a great start for a series I need! Sophie Jordan writes magic and will reel you in until you get hooked!


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