Series: Reign of Shadows #2
Date Published: February 9th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Royalty, Young Adult, Zombie
Description: Destiny and darkness collide in this romantic, sweeping new fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan. 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 is a loosely based fairy tale retelling of Rapunzel. I say loosely based because the only connection I see is that Luna lives in a tower and is a secret princess. I don’t recall any zombies from reading Rapunzel as a child!
Luna has always lived in a tower, safe from the dwellers (the zombies in Reign, not the general populace). But she’s longed for adventure, to meet new people. One night, she sneaks out of the tower and rescues a trio, one of whom had his foot caught in an animal trap. These are the first people, besides her foster parents, that Luna has ever met, in her entire 17 years of existence. Fowler is the reluctant leader of this group. And he agrees to rest for the night in the tower.
It’s obvious that Luna has feelings for Fowler. But I wonder how could she not? These are the first people she has ever met. I also wonder how genuine her feelings for Fowler can be, given that she has no reference point for comparison. One night, though, everything changes. Knights of the mad king find the tower. And kill one of the visitors. Luna’s foster father insist that she leave with Fowler. That the only way for Luna to be safe from the mad king is to leave the safety of the tower for the Outside.
Luna and Fowler travel together. Fighting the dwellers. Fighting the bounty-hunters. Trying to get to safety. I empathized with both characters. (I find myself doing so with all of Ms. Jordan’s characters, truthfully.) We all want adventure and to meet new people, like Luna. I wanted to experience the world for the first time with Luna. And we all want to protect our hearts from additional pain and loss, like Fowler. My heart ached at Fowler’s back-story revelation.
The dwellers of Reign were an intriguing aspect of Reign. In this world, the sun is only visible one hour a day. The eclipse happened on the night of Luna’s birth. The dwellers came with the dark. Like cicadas, which only come out of the ground every 7 years, dwellers live in the earth. They crawled out in the darkness after the eclipse to hunt humans. With tentacles for mouths. Tentacles full of dripping, oozing, poison. I’m not normally into zombie books, so I don’t have many to use as comparison. The dwellers in Reign were pretty scary. Even more so given that there is only one hour of sunlight per day.
A creature materialized in the night, its body near my [Fowler’s] height. No hair sprouted anywhere on the grey, dimpled body. Even though its flesh resembled molding clay, I knew its body was dense, composed of sinewy tissue not nearly as yielding as the tender flesh of a human. They were still vulnerable enough to a well-aimed arrow and a precise, strategically thrust blade, however. One simply had to get close enough.
Overall, I did really like Reign. But I didn’t love it. Til the last 70 pages or so when the action kicked up to 12. I just felt like there wasn’t enough. Not enough romance. Not enough action. A little too much journey, as Julie likes to say. But I was sucked in by the end. If you are struggling through it, persevere. It’s worth it. And with a humdinger of a cliff-hanger, I can’t wait for the next installment.
I attended a book signing with Sophie Jordan, Susan Dennard, and Veronica Rossi at Katy Budget Books with Sofia from the Platypire blog. Truthfully, it was one of the best signings I’ve attended. The ladies spoke for an hour and a half. Then signed books for just as long. My original intention was to only purchase Reign of Shadows to be signed. But Ms. Dennard and Ms. Rossi were very convincing while I was there. I purchased their books as well. Stay tuned for those reviews!