Title: Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
Series: Reign of Shadows, #1
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release 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.
With lush writing and a star-crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
I wanted to like this book, I really did, the blurb sounded interested and there were very few Rapunzel retellings out there. However when I finished I honestly wondered whether that was the whole book. I got a copy of Reign of Shadows on my Kindle from Amazon and when I got to the end I thought I was missing part of the story. It ended on a cliff-hanger but it didn’t feel like a cliffhanger at all.
Luna has lived in a tower in the Black Woods for her whole life. From the moment she was born she has been blind and a darkness descended on the world, an eclipse that never ended. To stay safe from the dwellers Luna and her guardians, Sivo and Perla, never stray far from the tower, hiding from the outside world. But Luna wants more, she wants to travel further and is determined to do it no matter what Perla says. On a trip outside the tower to gather berries for Sivo’s birthday she smells dwellers and soon hears the screams of people trapped by them.
Unable to leave them to their fate Luna intervenes, fighting off the dwellers alongside Fowler before bring him, and the siblings he travels with, back to the tower. But Luna soon discovers her safe haven is no longer safe. Cullan, the man who murdered her parents after she was born and took control of her kingdom, has discovered the princess is alive and has set a bounty on every girl aged between fifteen and twenty. Fearing for Luna’s safety if she stays in the tower Sivo sends her with Fowler to the fabled Isle of Allu; a place where there are no dwellers and where Luna will be safe from Cullan’s reach.
And that is it, that is literally the whole plot. After Luna and Fowler leave the tower the rest of the story is their journey. Nothing else worth note happens. I was waiting most of this story for there to be some kind of middle and ending to this story but it felt like one long beginning.
*Spoilers for Reign of Shadows below*
The big twists in this book about Fowler, about his dad being the man who murdered Luna’s parents and took control of her kingdom, came completely out of nowhere, and not in a good way. Normally when plot twists come around and take me by surprise I look back in the story and see little clues and hints that lead up to the big reveal but in Reign of Shadows there was nothing. The scene where Fowler reveals Cullan is his father felt completely forced and literally just put in to add tension between him and Luna.
*End of spoilers*
Luna is blind and has been her whole life, there is part of me that wonders if her blindness is connected to the eclipse that settled over her country the second she was born. However there were times when I forgot about her blindness which isn’t a good thing. There aren’t many disabled heroes in YA fiction so the fact that in this book Luna’s disability was completely overlooked was kind of disappointing. In spite of not being able to see Luna is more talented at everything than the sighted people. She is proficient with a knife, she can cook, walk and run through the forest without tripping on roots or branches.
Then once Luna is travelling with Fowler she becomes weak, relying on him for literally everything. Before she left the tower Luna was determined to make her own way, to prove she could defend herself outside, but when travelling with Fowler she becomes dependant on him for everything. When Fowler is ambushed by villagers who have been driven mad by bat fever her great plan to help him is to scream and distract the villagers so he can get away. Really?!
Fowler I actually liked at first. He has gone through a lot, like most people in Relhok since the eclipse, and he has closed himself off determined to protect himself from getting hurt again which is understandable. When he first meets Luna he is travelling with two siblings, Madoc and Dagne, but he didn’t want them with him, didn’t want to be responsible for anyone again after how he let down and lost people he loved before.
Then he met Luna and it was pretty much insta-love between the two of them, which is one romantic-trope I cannot stand. Everything he said about only being able to rely on himself, about not wanting anyone else’s life in his hands flew out the window because she was pretty. He was willing to abandon the two siblings he’d been travelling with for months because he didn’t want to look out for them but he is willing to put his life on the line for Luna travelling with her all the way to the Isle of Allu.
The world has been shrouded in darkness for seventeen years now, the eclipse started the moment Luna was born and it hasn’t lifted since. The only moment of light the people see is midlight, an hour in the middle of say when they have sun. Dwellers came out of the woodwork, feeding on any humans they can catch, bats have thrived in the darkness and grown to four feet tall. The world is every man for himself and there are very dangerous people out there; be they mercenaries of just villagers struggling to survive. We saw a little of the world as Luna and Fowler travel towards the Isle of Allu; see the danger they faced from bad mad villagers and from mercenaries hunting down Luna, see villages up in the trees safe from the dwellers, and hear mentions of Luna’s kingdom Relhok.
But nothing was ever fully explained. What were the dwellers; they fed off of humans but what are they, where did they come from? Did the eclipse bring them out or where they always waiting in the darkness? Also what caused the eclipse, why did it happen? There are so many things which were left unanswered ad after I while I just gave up expecting them.
The only reason I gave this book two-stars and not one was because I did manage to finish it but I definitely will not be reading the next one. There was no real plot, the characters were one-dimensional and weak, and the setting wasn’t expanded on at all. I spent the whole of this book waiting for something to actually happen.
What did you think of Reign of Shadows? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.