Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Genre: Fiction, young adult, fantasy, fractured fairy tale, retelling, once again humans were the real monsters all along
Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars
Summary: Set in a world where an eclipse has plunged all of humanity in eternal darkness, a vile race of monsters known as the dark dwellers have begun hunting humanity. This is the world tower-bound Princess Luna has been born into, a world she has been shielded from until now, when a boy named Fowler comes into her life. Together they must escape the only life Luna has ever known to save her from her past.
A wholly originally Rapunzel retelling, I was initially drawn to Reign of Shadows because the cover is beyond amazing. I mean, how could you not love it?
Reign of Shadows is set in a world plunged into almost complete darkness because of a total eclipse
of the heart that took place 17 years ago. With the eclipse came the rise of the dark dwellers, a race of underground humanoid creatures with poor eyesight, but a great sense of smell and an unholy blood lust. Think if the monsters from The Descent and star-nosed mole rats had a baby.
Born into this frightening world is Luna, a princess who was whisked away by a loyal guard and an even more loyal wet nurse after the assassination of her parents on the night of the eclipse. To keep her safe and secure her inevitable reign, Sivo and Perla keep Luna, the true queen of Relhok locked in a tower in the middle of the woods away from the clutches of the new and very mad usurper.
Alternating between two POVS, that of self-assured Luna who has a unique POV I’ve never read before and the street smart (woods smart?) love interest Fowler, Jordan takes us all over her new world (a map would be nice in book two!), a place where bats have grown to enormous sizes and humans are the real monsters because aren’t they always.
You know how I know humans are the real monsters? Not only do they willingly murder and sacrifice their own kind, they also name their children horrible things like Madoc and Dagne.
While I enjoyed the world that Jordan created, I didn’t find Reign of Shadows to be the strongest novel writing-wise (except for a few brief moments of brilliance), perhaps due to its simplicity, or possibly because I read it in between the beautifully penned A Gathering of Shadows and Wolf by Wolf, both of which were superb.
In fact, had it not been for two crazy plot twists, I probably would have rated this book slightly lower than I did. As a lifelong reader, I’m usually pretty good at guessing things like this in advance, but these twists caught me completely off guard — that’s how subtle Jordan’s breadcrumbs were.
Regardless of my minor complaints, I’m looking forward to book two in this series (trilogy? duology?), not only to conclude that ridiculous cliffhanger but also to hopefully get more insight into the even more frightening world that Relhok has become.
- Loved the idea of a world driven into complete darkness
- Luna has a completely unique POV, one I’ve never read before
- Crazy plot twists I did not see coming
- 4 foot bats!
- Writing bordered on too simplistic at times
- Those character names
“It wasn’t so much that I could die. Everyone died. I wasn’t afraid of death. It’s that I would die with so little to show for my life. A long stretch of days spent trapped in a tower. I was afraid that was all I would ever have.”