Thursday, February 4, 2016

Journey Into Darkness • Reign of Shadows

Reign of Shadows book cover
Reign of Shadows is definitely a solid start to Sophie Jordan’s new fantasy series. It’s about a girl named Luna, who is far from ordinary; she happens to be the true princess of the kingdom of Relhok, hidden away in a tower deep in the wood in order to ensure her survival until the time comes for her to reclaim her throne. But Luna desires more than living a life shut up in the tower – she desires freedom and adventure. When she meets Fowler in the woods outside her tower, she finds herself drawn to him. When her tower sanctuary is no longer safe, she flees with Fowler out into the world she’s always wanted to explore… and discovers that it’s more than she ever imagined it might be.

Jordan succeeds in penning a story with a strong setting. Even with the limitation darkness presents (particularly when it comes to describing how something is seen), she manages to coax a richly detailed world into existence. It was fascinating to have the setting unveiled primarily through touch and sound, with occasional references to the rest of the senses. And the best part? Readers will sense that this is only the tip of the iceberg, as there is more that lies ahead in the sequel. The same can actually be said of the plot, well-done but with full potential to blow up into something even more epic (and with higher stakes) in the next segment of this saga.

She also did a bang-up job with her main characters. I was predisposed to like Luna from the start, mostly because she was just so good in spite of the terrible hand she’d been dealt in life. Her desire for adventure, for some greater meaning to her life than staying safe in a tower, reminded me of Rapunzel a little bit! Plus, she’s a pretty capable gal who knows how to handle herself with great courage and intelligence. Fowler, on the other hand, really needed time to grow on me. He was quite defensive initially, but once those walls went down, they revealed a deep vulnerability, and a strong sense of loyalty. Let’s not forget how capable he is, particularly with a bow and arrow. (I do love guys who are excellent marksmen.)

Quite frankly, there’s a lot to appreciate in Reign of Shadows. I was easily drawn into the story from the start, and read through it pretty quickly. The truth is, however, is that I personally find I didn’t 100% click with this story. (In other words, it must be me, not the novel.) Still, it is a very promising start to the series (that ends in a shocking way), and I definitely think I’ll be reading the sequel.

Which sense would you want enhanced?

It was almost too easy to answer this question! I would love it if I had enhanced hearing. I feel like it would be really cool if I could hear all the different sounds that make up my favorite song, for instance, or if I could pick up a melody on the piano or guitar after hearing a song on the radio. It would help me make more sense of the world around me, and I could definitely call myself a good listener. Though I also suppose it would give me a headache since I'd be hearing too many things all at once...

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Series: Reign of Shadows #1
Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Source: ARC downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)

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.

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