Destiny and darkness collide in this romantic, sweeping new fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo.
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.
In a fantasy driven by romantic tension, a princess in hiding teams up with a mysterious archer to brave the eclipse that has kept their land in darkness for 17 years. Blind from birth, Luna is fearless, capable, and resourceful, while Fowler is gruff, independent, and reluctant to accept her as a traveling partner. When Luna's tower refuge is discovered by those looking to kill her, she must accompany Fowler on his quest for a mythical island. As they brave the terrifying Black Woods, where monstrous "dark dwellers" hunt human prey, and fight agents of the chancellor who usurped the throne and murdered Luna's parents, the two grow close, eventually falling for each other. Jordan's (Unleashed) somewhat implausible premise (the presumably mystical nature of the eclipse goes unexplained) is mitigated by the growing chemistry between her strong characters; Luna is a memorably competent protagonist whose inability to see barely slows her down. A clich d late revelation significantly complicates the romance, while building to a cliffhanger ending. Ages 13 up.
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Where it all begins...
Since her parents, the King and Queen of Relhok, were murdered 17 years ago, Luna has been existing in a Tower in the Black Woods, for only company Perla – who had been her nursemaid – and Sivo, one of her father’s royal guard. Luna is never allowed Outside of the tower, mostly because of the deadly dark dwellers; the only time of day where one is safe from them is during midlight, a mere hour each day. The Relhok is in a state of permanent eclipse. One day, Luna sneaks out armed to the teeth to gather berries for Sivo’s birthday. That’s when she hears a human scream, and comes about three young people. A boy’s leg is caught in a trap that was meant for the dark dwellers; Luna frees him and they all flee to the Tower. Luna is ecstatic to have company besides her beloved Perla and Sivo, especially that of the older boy, Fowler. Luna has always dreamed of going Outside, but Fowler has seen too much of it. He is cynical, bitter, but realistic; Outside is an ugly place. Still Luna convinces him to show her a little of what’s out there, and while they are out, the Tower is attacked, and nothing will ever be the same again…
Ms. Jordan has crafted a grim and literally dark world so vividly, it’s truly unsettling. She doesn’t reveal everything at the beginning, and I believe I understand the author’s tactic, and it’s brilliant. REIGN OF SHADOWS reminded me a bit of Lord of The Rings because of the intricacy of the world-building and the rather terrifying creatures that lurk in the dark. Luna is an admirable, and quite relatable, heroine; it took me a tad longer to warm up to Fowler, but when what he had faced on the Outside became known, his behaviour made perfect sense, and I liked him fine.
REIGN OF SHADOWS is a bit reminiscent of The Lord of The Rings, as much for the light that will eventually come out of the oppressing darkness, as for the superb writing. Ms. Jordan has crafted an unsettling world, very dark, with creatures that will make your skin crawl, and very engaging young protagonists, Luna and Fowler, who are both fascinating each in their own right. The book ends with a startling revelation that bodes very well for the next instalment
The writing is exceptional, the dialogues sound authentic, the pace is flawless throughout, culminating in a frenzied crescendo that leads to the conclusion of book one of what will surely be another successful series for the incredibly talented Ms. Jordan.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.