Reign of Shadows

Reign of Shadows


Title: Reign of Shadows

Author: Sophie Jordan

Series: Reign of Shadows, #1

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: February 9th 2016

Rating:

Two Stars

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…

…The Plot

“I still wanted out there. I still had to learn to make that world my own.
I’d spent my entire life within these walls. I wouldn’t spend the rest of it in here, too. I couldn’t.”

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.

“Sivo’s and Perla’s voices whispered in my head, urging me to uncover the secret door and dive inside the tunnel so that I survived.
I shook my head. There had to be more to life than hiding and counting the days until your last breath. There had to be more than looking away when someone lost his life. There had to be…more.
Adjusting my grip on the hilt of my sword, I turned from the tower and plunged back into the woods.”

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 high chancellor…Cullan…he is your father? The king?”
“Yes. But I left. Two years ago—”
“Your father killed my parents.” The truth washed over me awfully and settled like poison in my stomach, curdling there. I pressed a hand to my mouth, certain I was going to be sick.

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*

…The Characters

“It was almost as though her lack of sight made her stronger. Someone like her should be dead, but she wasn’t. She was thriving. Maybe a world of dark was best suited for the blind.”

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?!

“You’ll just leave Madoc and Dagne? Abandon them—”
“They’re not my responsibility.”
“They were with you. You were together. How can you be that…selfish?”
The air stretched thin, and I felt his stare on my face, harder than before. “This world demands it. Only the selfish survive.”

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 Setting

“Just because it was midlight didn’t mean it was safe to relax. This was the one time of day when people could move without fear of dwellers. Everyone came out of hiding, including the good and the bad, and there were more of the bad. Desperate times brought out the worst in people. Opportunists and scavengers abounded. The good were too trusting. They had perished first, many lost in those early years of the eclipse.”

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.

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11 thoughts on “Reign of Shadows

  1. “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.”

    Man, Luna must be a ridiculous kind of hot.

    This book sounds insufferable. Thanks for slogging through it to give us such a thorough review! I’m crossing the book of my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luna was one of those characters who everyone else thought was gorgeous but she didn’t agree with them. Which is a trope in YA novels which is really starting to annoy me, could we not have a couple of characters with some self-confidence?
      But yeah, I wouldn’t recommend this book, there are people who have liked it but I’m not one of them. There are so many better fairytale retellings out there. I’m glad you liked my review so much as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YA characters with self-confidence? Yes, please.

        I’d also be interested in seeing more YA characters who’re legitimately average-looking or below-average-looking, and are either (a) okay with that fact, or (b) don’t give a damn because their body is the least important aspect of themselves as a person, and the person they are is -awesome-.

        I’d love to see a Love Interest character who isn’t physically attracted to the heroine/hero at first, and who finds the heroine/hero increasingly (physically) attractive the more they get to know her/him.

        If you know of any books like this, kindly point me to them? =D

        Liked by 1 person

      2. God same here actually! I have been seeing a few books, well reviews, that feature characters like that but I’d love if it that became the trend rather than books which have characters who are gorgeous but don’t think they are, it’s just become boring! I’d love to read more of the second one, characters who don’t give a damn about their appearance I think it’d be so refreshing in YA literature to have more characters like that.
        One book I’d recommend is Starflight, I read it a little while ago and it features a character just like that. She isn’t physically attractive to the hero at first but the more time they spend together the more he sees her in a different light, it was a really good read.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw that book around and I really liked the cover, but never thought about adding it to myTBR. After reading your review, I think I’ll pass. I really hate when there’s no real plot AND the characters are one-dimensional, I know I won’t be able to care about that book. Sometimes, not a lot of plot is okay when there’s a focus on characters, but there…well, if there’s nothing, it’s just not for me, ahah! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this ! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cover is gorgeous isn’t it? And it was one of my Waiting on Wednesday posts a while back but I was just really underwhelmed by the book itself. And yeah I’ve read books with not a lot of plot before as well, and some I’ve really liked but it’s always been because the characters, or the setting, or the relationships were just so amazingly developed that it was their journeys I cared about more than the plot. With Reign of Shadows there was nothing that really grabbed me.
      People have enjoyed it, there are a few mixed reviews but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are so many other amazing fairy tale retelling books out there, skip this one would be my advise.
      That’s all right 🙂 I’m glad you liked my review!

      Liked by 1 person

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