Reign of Shadows #1
Available February 9th
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Reign of Shadows blends action and romance together beautifully, ensuring we're fully invested in the lives and hearts of both Luna and Fowler as we follow them through the darkness of their world.
Luna is a young woman who continually inspires throughout with her ability to handle herself despite being blind, her lifetime of isolation in a remote tower in the woods doing little to stifle her physical strength or quick thinking. Though she's naïve in some areas given her upbringing, she never lets her inexperience or preconceived notions of the world around her slow her down, instead she takes note of the things that aren't as she expected and adapts while never allowing the cruelty she encounters to rob her of her soft heart. She's as capable as cutting down Dwellers as any sighted person, man or woman, and she proves herself an asset to Fowler time and again, earning his grudging respect along the way.
Fowler has seen the brutal nature of this world firsthand, carrying his past with him in the form of emotionally impenetrable armor as he attempts to make his way to a fabled community free of the monstrous Dwellers. The romance between the two of them is gorgeously slow, simple companionship turning into trust and respect as quiet sparks start to fly, and by the end we're as madly in love with the two of them as they are with each other. The drama in their relationship is solely and gloriously external in this first book, the two of them presenting a united front against Dwellers, men, and an order from the king designed to flush Luna out. Even when Luna's true identity comes to light and an equally startling revelation on Fowler's part is made, neither overreacts to the news or attempts to destroy what's been built between them along the way, instead they both digest the information and then stand together once again.
The only mild complaint with this first installment (aside from the abrupt ending and whopper of a cliffhanger) is the lack of backstory into how this world came to be shrouded in darkness. We're given a bare bones history lesson in the beginning, highlighting a few key things to help us get our bearings, but information about the world before the Dwellers and Luna's birth (as they happen simultaneously) is scant, and it's unclear at this stage as to whether the paranormal has always existed or if it took everyone by surprise. Inevitably, those answers will come as Luna makes her way home to claim her royal birthright, and the lack of backstory isn't nearly enough to take away from Luna, Fowler and the romance between them that won't soon be forgotten.
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