Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Reign of Shadows

REIGN OF SHADOWS
Reign of Shadows #1
Sophie Jordan
Young Adult/Fantasy
304 pages
Harper Teen
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.


MY THOUGHTS
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.

Rating: 4/5

Find Reign of Shadows:

 
Find Sophie:
 
And don't forget to check out my interview with Sophie as well as a chance to win copies of her YA books! 

36 comments:

  1. I can understand the problem of lack of background but it sounds like a great one mainly if it manages so well the mix of action and romance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really enjoyed this one overall Melliane!

      Delete
  2. Heheee Nick's reviewing this today as well, so it'll be fun to see what you agree and disagree on ;) I must admit that since Sophie's last trilogy (idk if this is a trilogy?) didn't end well for me, so I haven't been in a hurry to read anything new by her, but I do love the sound of this. I mean, I don't mind naivety from characters if they do make up for it and aren't naive in everything they do. I like that the romance is a slow build and that you fell in love with them so much :) Hmmmm I guess the world building can happen more in sophomore novel too? Though it would be nice to know more right away, of course. I'm glad you liked it as a whole, Jenny! ;)

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure how many books are in this one! Her last one was a duology, but I feel like this one is going to be longer.

      I wasn't too bothered by the lack of world building since Luna and Fowler were such strong characters, but I do hope we learn more in the next book1

      Delete
  3. This sounds like a promising read, although I am a little hesitant when you say there is a lack of a backstory regarding the world-buidling. I have been seeing this a lot lately in many of the fantasy novels I'm reading. Thanks for the heads up about this and the cliffhanger. I think I'll still give it a try. Great review, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This definitely feels more like a slice of life read - we just get a very narrow view of this world despite the journey Luna and Fowler take, and I couldn't help but be curious about the politics and how the Chancellor ended up overthrowing her parents.

      Delete
  4. You and I felt very similarly about this one, Jenny. :)
    The romance was my favorite part of the book and I'm so happy you loved it too. I loved what you had to say how none of them overreacted when secrets came out about who they really were. I loved that they were so united as well and I hope the next book will continue with this trend.
    I'm also with you with the backstory. There was enough for me to be satisfied, but I'm ready for more in the sequel.
    Lovely review, Jenny! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's because we love the same things Nick, and why I always rely on you for recommendations! I definitely wanted more backstory, but like you, I was satisfied because I loved Luna and Fowler so much.

      Delete
  5. Ahh, I was really nodding along to so many of the positives in this novel but world-building always hits me like a whammy. Most people don't mind if there isn't much and it doesn't affect their enjoyment of the novel but I know I'd be going crazy without a solid world development in this. Alas, I might have to skip it after all. Thanks for such a helpful review, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would definitely be bothered by this one then Keertana! Hopefully the second book gives us a better feel for this world:)

      Delete
  6. I really really didn't plan on reading this but with all the great reviews for it lately I can see I'm going to need to change that! Wonderful review Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you give it a try Ali, I really think you'd like it:)

      Delete
  7. I love the sound of the romance, but I am hesitating because of the cliffhanger and the lack of world building would probably drive me nuts. I think I will wait for the second book and then decide. Thanks for your insightful review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cliffhanger was a doozy for sure Heidi, but I'm becoming a little more numb to them since so many YA books have them now. It didn't bother me too much. Of course I say that now hoping that everything gets resolved quickly in the next book!

      Delete
  8. I'm still torn on this picking this up, Jenny. On the one hand I love the sound of the characters and the slow burn romance, but the lack of world building a whopping cliffhanger is giving me pause. I'll see what book 2 has to offer before I decide. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely understand Rummanah! I wait until the second book comes out for a lot of series just to make sure they're going to work for me before I jump in:)

      Delete
  9. Okay, I really want to read this! I know that there are some bits that aren't perfect but I've seen a few reviews now and I know I need it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I keep on going back and forth with this one! I'm intrigued but the lack of backstory or answers kinda scares me a bit. A drama free romance sounds like something I'd love though!
    Great review Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'll be a fan of this one Pili. Luna and Fowler are outstanding characters, individually and together, and that for me overshadowed the few drawbacks.

      Delete
  11. I could read it. But if I found it at the library

    ReplyDelete
  12. "Whopper of a cliffhanger", eh? Sounds like I should wait until the next book is out!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a brutal one, but I knew it was coming because I cheated and read the end first, so it wasn't quite as brutal as it could have been otherwise:)

      Delete
  13. OOoh nice! I am hearing amazing things about this one and this cliffhanger! This cliffhanger will be the death of me, because I am 90% sure I won't be able to wait long to read this one and then that cliffhanger will proceed to kill me! The wait will be dreadfully long...oh the woes of a reader! LOL!

    Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. Whenever I read "cliffhanger" in a review I resolve to wait until the next book is out too:)

      Delete
  14. Lack of background information on worlds is one issue that I often have with books like this^^ Despite that, I'm really interested in this one and the way you described the characters, action and romance is super promising! Plus I mean that cover makes it worth it anyway just to display that pretty on one's shelf ;) I'm glad you enjoyed this one overall my friend ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really loved Luna and Fowler Micheline, and they were such highlights that the cliffhanger and lack of backstory didn't bother me all that much!

      Delete
  15. I want to read this! I love a slow burn romance.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm making this a must read now as both you and Nick have me so thrilled over the fantasy romance in this story. I'm going to be on the look out for that darn ending though. I know Sophie Jordan writes terrific swoon - so yes, I'm on it!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're going to be a fan Kim!!!! Lots of swoon to be had:)

      Delete
  17. I LOVED what a shocker Fowler's confession was. Completely out of the left field - but I digress.

    This was such a great book because the characters were lovely. Like you said, Luna is such a badass to have been blind and live alone for 16 years!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Another stunning review..I am seriously going to have to read/listen to this!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Seems like a fairly good book! I'm still not sure about it being for me, but I like the creepy feel to the cover. I like the sound of the romance and action being well balanced, but there is something about it that has me doubting. I think I just need to look into this one more.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This book just did NOT do it for me. The nearly complete lack of backstory combined with a lackluster romance and cliffhanger just...meh. But yay for a 4-star from you! :)

    ReplyDelete