Reign of Shadows
By: Sophie Jordan
Release Date: February 9th 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: Print ARC
A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Though I enjoyed a few aspects of Reign of Shadows; overall neither the story or characters worked out for me.
Things started out strongly- I enjoyed the fairy tale vibe the writing had and the eerie atmosphere Jordan created. I felt that darkness cloaking almost all hours of the day and night to be a very original idea and really wonderfully described. This world was really a great backdrop and had a lot of potential. We meet our cast of characters and our lead, Luna. She’s been living in a tower and hiding not only from the evil things that lurk in the darkness but also the new king of the kingdom that was once her family’s. This was all a wonderful set up and I was ready to read a very original reworking of Rapunzel but as I got further into the story the less and less I found myself enjoying this book.
The more Luna was described the more I began rolling my eyes at her character. She was nearly perfect in every way and just ugh. She easily got under my skin and I had trouble wanting her to succeed. She constantly didn’t think through her actions and this led to some frustrating moments in the story.
She did have one disadvantage View Spoiler »she’s blind but her lack of sight gives her super smell and the like « Hide Spoiler that wasn’t alluded to in the summary so I put it in a spoiler tag but I don’t feel it was worked in as well as it could have been.
The heroine was exceedingly good at everything which veered more towards annoying that awesome, bad ass girl power. Somehow, she smells great even though she’s in a rotting world, she’s able to throw daggers, shoot arrows, climb trees, bake bread…the list goes on. Not that I mind her being amazing at these things but it never felt believable to me. There are moments where her lack of beauty was commented on but it felt thrown in there to make her more realistic….I think, just for me, her character wasn’t developed or approached in a way I could connect to.
The romance was ok- a bit insta-love but I honestly could understand Luna falling head over heels for a boy of her age since he’s the FIRST she’d ever come across- can’t really blame her there. Fowler’s character was pretty typical in that he had been hurt and wanted to only look out for himself. Luna finds him helping a brother and sister duo and it’s pretty obvious early on that this rough on the outside guy really is loveable on the inside. The romance took up a good portion of the story and there were lots of pages devoted to Fowler and Luna getting to know each other…slowly. I wished I’d felt more chemistry between the two but it worked on some level.
The scary monsters that plagued the Black Forest were underground dwellers, with tentacle faces. Being virtually blind they used these ‘feeler’s’ and their sense of hearing to find prey to feed on. I never got a full grasp of how potent their ‘poisonous’ venom/toxin was. I felt that at times it was described to be incredibly toxic but other times I wasn’t sure how much damage it would actually cause. Overall, small things, like that, never connected or worked for me. The potential was there but sadly not the characters, romance or even storyline could grab me.
I really appreciated the setting Jordan created for Reign of Shadows and felt that the story had potential. Sadly, I wasn’t ever able to really connect with any aspect of the book and don’t’ think I’ll be reading further into this series.