Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
Genre: Fantasy/YA/ Fairy Tale Retelling
On the night Luna was born the Kingdom of Relhok was plunged into a never-ending eclipse and she was carted away from the palace to be raised in a tower deep in the woods. (Hence, loose Rapunzel retelling.) 17-years later Luna is desperate to get out of that tower when she runs into handsome Fowler, trying to leave his past behind. Unfortunately, that’s about the time Luna’s past catches up to her.
I really wanted to like this one. Not the least of which because the heroine is blind and I thought that would be so interesting and it was so great to see a character like that in your typical YA book. Plus it’s cover really caught my eye. I’m superficial at times, I admit it!
This book has lots of potential. But so many other problems…
(Perhaps some situational spoilers below!)
Big one: it’s really only Luna and Fowler walking around and occasionally running into the deadly dwellers. (Walking Dead is just one of the many vibes from other stories and shows you’re going to get reading Reign of Shadows.) It only really got interesting at the end. Mileage varies but for me it was the very, very end of the book that was interesting.
Oh, the love story. This is definitely one that ticked all my annoying boxes. About the time they were hiding from the dwellers and Luna decided to argue because he didn’t say she was beautiful fast enough or not at all. Whatever. It was also way to heavy on your usual tropes- Fowler the hardened survivalist who can’t/doesn’t want to feel. Luna the naive good-natured girl looking for light in the dark world.
Lastly the big selling point for me was having the blind heroine. Luna wasn’t just competent she was ridiculously insanely competent. I don’t want to get too into details but she survived situations that I would think sighted people would have more trouble with. She outmaneuvers a murderer chasing her in a wooded area she had never been to before without running into anything or tripping herself up? I doubt I could do that. There was also another bit where she “assessed a scene” and it’s “twenty dwellers.”
I definitely think Sophie Jordan could have tightened stuff like that up a good deal and done the characters better service in the romance department. Like I said earlier this was an interesting world with some interesting ideas but everything else was incredibly cliched.
Recommend: Not particularly. This is part of a series though so I have to admit I have some hope (like 20%) that this all gets pulled together in the next book and we get a better story.