Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Series: Reign of Shadows #1

reign of shadows -sophie jordanSeventeen 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.

3.5 Drink Me Potions

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

**Reign of Shadows comes out February 9, 2016**

You think to yourself, here is a princess in a tower. Isolated in the middle of nowhere. Yearning for freedom. Doesn’t that sound a little familiar?

Uh, Rapunzel, anyone?

But oh no, that is where the only similarities start and stop.

Here is the setting of Reign of Shadows. On the day the princess was born (aka Luna), a deep darkness in the form of an eclipse settled on the land. And stayed there. Permanently.

In the midst of this, the kingdom was overthrown and Luna barely escaped unscathed to her little tower with two guardians. Now, after 17 years of almost total darkness, her world is shaken up by the arrival of….you guessed it. A boy. Or, young man I guess. Fowler’s too manly to be called a boy. At least, I think so from the REALLY detailed descriptions of his strong physique…

This isn’t my first Sophie Jordan book, but the storylines are so different that it almost feels like it is. She is still amazing at weaving together characters that seem real and tangible. Fowler is not a happy guy in the beginning. Being in a dog-eat-dog world, you learn to look out for yourself. Only the selfish survive, as he’d say.

Enter Luna. She’s an absolutely amazing character. I don’t REALLY want to ruin any surprise or anything, but she totally thrives in this world of darkness. She was born into it and therefore never knew what it was like to see with light. Her other senses are magnified which make her more capable in surviving these lands than most other people. I love that she can hold her own. She doesn’t require Fowler to save her everything. In fact, she saved him a couple times. She wasn’t a warrior or anything. Just an average girl who did what she had to for those she cared for. I can connect with her in that sense so much better than some kick-ass heroine, though those girls are great too.

Anyway, the romance and chemistry was almost tangible in the air. It wasn’t insta-love which I appreciated. Fowler was coming from a place where trust wasn’t earned so easily, so it wouldn’t make sense to feel anything too strong immediately. It had to build and grow into friendship and then into something more. Luna was good for him. Being locked in that tower protected her from the nastiness of the world. Yes, that might make her naive to the ugliness that humanity was, but it also made her hope more for a better outcome. And Fowler desperately needed that, in my opinion. Hope and love.

Although I loved the characters (the cast was really limited to those few small essential people), I can’t say the plot wasn’t dragging at times. They travelled. A lot.

Fought some night-adapted creatures called dwellers. And travelled some more. Fought some people more on the desperate and evil side. And, of course – you guessed it – they travelled some more.

So basically, the plot revolved around travelling and journeying towards some distant land for their various reasons, while trying to stay alive in the process from all the particular hazards. In the meantime, they fall in love (yay). That pretty much sums it up.

The world building wasn’t particularly strong in this first novel. It focused a lot on getting to know Luna and Fowler, and only peeking a little into Fowler’s backstory. I have some suspicions about certain elements of his backstory coming back to haunt him…but that may just be my overactive imagination. I am sure book 2 will open up a lot more of what evil darkness lives in the land and how to get rid of it.

The ending was a cliffhanger, and that was the only part where the story was potentially finally changing its course. Kinda sucks that I have to wait a long while before I can understand the hints that Jordan had slipped into Reign of Shadows.

However, this just means that the next novel is bound to get exciting from where this one left off. Hold on tight in this one. It’s a sweet, slow journey in acquainting ourselves with our dear protagonists. I don’t think it was badly prioritized, and I hope you would enjoy it too for what it is. I promise, the action will most definitely escalate later.

Overall Recommendation:
With a very small cast of characters, Reign of Shadows allows us to really get to know and love Luna and Fowler. Luna is a strong character who doesn’t let her “handicap” slow her down. Fowler is that bad boy who doesn’t trust anyone due to some tragic past, but the development of his character was realistic and sweet. Together, their journey towards a better land where there is freedom from danger truly highlights their chemistry, albeit lacking a little in the sense of adventure. All in all, it is a decent start to a series, and the ending hints for greater and more exciting things. At least you don’t have to wait as long as I do for the next installment.

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