August 12, 2019

Book Review: When She Reigns

If you’re in the market for a fantasy series that 1) follows a female lead who finds strength in being uniquely herself and doing what she knows is right, 2) weaves political maneuverings and questions of morality with magical mayhem and well-established story lore, 3) includes all sorts of relationships, but particularly focuses on the family you choose and 4) has dragons, well, you should definitely be reading the Fallen Isles trilogy

Before She Ignites kicks off the series, and readers will follow Mira as she finds a way to survive and escape from her imprisonment in the most secure prison in all the Fallen Isles while also discovering why she was arrested in the first place. After their escape from prison, As She Ascends follows Mira and her companions as they journey to help the dragons, all while unraveling what’s really happening in the Fallen Isles. And When She Reigns, the final installment of the trilogy, is when all of the plot threads woven into the first two novels find their conclusion - the disappearances of dragons, the threat of the Great Abandonment, the political corruption and manipulation, Mira’s own journey towards finding her strength and her courage.

I loved When She Reigns so very much! While I do think Before She Ignites and As She Ascends are also really great stories in and of themselves and it is obviously absolutely necessary to read both in order to get to this series finale, I will tell you that this is my favorite book in this series and that I felt like it was such a satisfying end to Mira’s story. 

It is pretty incredible to see how much Mira has grown from the start of the series, particularly because she gets stronger in many different senses of that word. I loved the fact that, despite the fact that she’s clearly grown, she’s also still so very Mira and the things that make up the core of who she is really don’t change - she just finds ways to embrace her own circumstances and play to her own strengths. I also loved seeing her relationships with her family, her friends (and budding romance) and her enemies play out, because they were such interesting contrasts against one another and catalysts for Mira becoming who she is by the end of the novel.

I also really love the way the plot unfolds in When She Reigns. Everything is woven together so neatly - the threat of the Great Abandonment and the gods (the islands) one by one rising out of the sea, the political machinations and corruption that engineered mass chaos and destruction, Mira’s journey to save the Fallen Isles and the dragons. It was really cool to see how it all slotted together, to witness the (mostly painful, occasionally wonderful) way things played out and it was so compelling that I couldn’t put this one down until I hit the very end (which, by the way, took a turn I did not expect and I quite liked it).

Since I don’t want to venture into spoiler territory, that’s about as much as I can tell you about When She Reigns (until you read it, that is). But this series finale is a testament to this author’s ability to bring multidimensional characters and a compelling story to life, and I would truly recommend picking these books up and binge reading this series.

When She Reigns will be released on September 10, 2019 from Katherine Tegen Books.
I received an ARC copy from the author for review.


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