Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

E-ARC: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 29, 2016
Source of my copy: publisher/Edelweiss
Series: Reign of Shadows #1
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 Reading Must-Haves
I was part of the blog tour Reign of Shadows and I listed some "essentials" you need while reading this book. It was really fun putting together that post, especially finding the just-right nail polishes.

The First 65% of the Novel
I have to admit, I was worried I wasn't going to like Reign of Shadows while reading up to the 65% mark. I wasn't bored or anything--I was into the story and it wasn't a chore picking it back up after I put it down. It was just that nothing was really happening to drive the story forward. Okay, let me back up and describe the plot a little bit...

Luna lived in a world that was perpetually shrouded in darkness because of a seventeen-year-long (and counting) eclipse. Luna was born when the eclipse began, and in the chaos it brought, the High Chancellor murdered her parents the King and Queen and declared himself king. Luna was smuggled out of the place by [I believe] the midwife and a palace guard, and escaped to a high tower located in the middle of what was rumored to be a cursed forest. They've been living there for 17 years, and while Luna loved her guardians, she longed for something more.

Fowler was on a journey to Allu, a mysterious island free of dwellers (these creepy tentacle-faced creatures that plague their dark world), when he got into trouble and Luna ended up rescuing him. When Luna's tower was compromised, Fowler reluctantly took her with him on his search for Allu not knowing she's really the lost princess of their kingdom. They walk to Allu, all the while keeping a wary eye on and dodging dwellers as well as shady humans.

All of what I described occurred in the first 65% of the story. It wasn't until after the 65% mark did things get interesting and we kind of see the plot moving and evolving and we get a glimpse of where the author might take the story. But before then, there wasn't really much of a plot.

The Romance
The romance was probably my favorite part of Reign of Shadows... Well, actually, it wasn't the romance so much as Luna and Fowler's relationship and how it evolved. They thought the other other was attractive, so there was that kind of tension between them but they didn't really like each other in the beginning. They had a different outlook on life--Luna had a cup-is-half-full attitude while Fowler had a cynical view of the world. But, slowly as they spend more time together, they start to become reluctant friends, and eventually something more. But, I loved that it wasn't inta-love. Okay, I guess when you look at the time frame of the story they weren't together that long but you see a progression in their relationship--they didn't just wake up one day and decided they like each other. Instead, mutual respect and trust occurred first before the big romantic feelings.

The [No] Map Situation
Besides the nothing-was-happening bit, my biggest issue with this book was the fact that there was no mention of the characters following a map throughout their journey. It's a road trip book--the two main characters go on a quest to find this mysterious island, but how do they know the way? There was not mention of them following a map, a path, or even anyone telling either Luna or Fowler which way to go. The only time a map was mentioned was before their journey even started, when Fowler said that Allu Island is on every map and it's a 3-month journey from Luna's tower on foot. After that, they just start walking and Fowler just seem to know which direction to go without consulting anything or anyone. I mean, I'm very familiar with the town I live in, but even I need Google Maps or a GPS to find certain places. This just bothered me the whole I was reading Reign of Shadows. Whenever I thought about it too deeply, I get taken out of the story so I tried not to. I did read an e-ARC, so maybe this detail was remedied in the finished copy?

The Last 35% of the Novel
When all the things happened! The last 35% was so good that I was incapable of stopping so I just read it straight through late in the night. And, that ending! The last 35% definitely saved Reign of Shadows from being a meh read into one I cannot wait the sequel for. I am expecting book 2 to be all kinds of epic.

Final Thoughts
While it wasn't a struggle to read Reign of Shadows because there were elements in the novel that kept my interest, I did wonder where the author was taking the story. This book was a lot of background information for both the world and the characters. Now that we are past all of that, and after the revelations in the end of Reign of Shadows, the rest of the series should prove more engaging and thrilling.

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