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.
Fairytale retelling is one of those genres that I always have time for. So when a Rapunzel inspired story came out, mixed with terrifying monsters and perpetual darkness, and with a lovely cover you just can’t ignore, I knew I have to get my hands on that book and read it overnight. Sadly, I did not love the story as much as I love the cover. I like it for the fun read that it is. But I never really love it until that cruel ending.
The world was a merciless place. Hard and cruel. Except when you found someone to trust and love. Life, however fleeting, possessed meaning then.
In Reign of Shadows, the world is in complete darkness for seventeen years with only an hour of sunlight every day. People live in fear of the Dwellers –the human-eating creatures that ruled the dark. But that was not the only reason why Luna was locked up in an isolated tower. Apparently, she’s the lost princess of Relhok, who luckily escaped the chancellor who murdered her parents on the day of the eclipse –the day she was born. She and two of her parents’ loyal guards live in the tower since then, hiding from both the Dwellers and the former chancellor’s men.
Luna is what I’d call an unusual protagonist. She’s blind. And that’s one thing I like about this book because it isn’t very often that we have a heroine like that. It gives the protagonist a major flaw and at the same time it provides the reader a different way of “seeing” Sophie Jordan’s dark and dangerous world. Because Luna pretty much describe everything through touch, and smell, and sound.
Despite her limitations, Luna isn’t completely helpless. It doesn’t keep her from being brave, from being a little stupid, from wanting to explore the Outside. She doesn’t let her blindness get in the way which is possibly the reason why she could do a lot of things a normal person with sight can do. Most of the times she sounded unrealistic to me but I just decided to roll with it.
Fowler, I think, is a character made up of a lot of cliché. A hero/anti-hero who only looks out for himself. He survive that long in the dark because he doesn’t trust anybody but himself. He is a distrustful, bitter, man who doesn’t let himself feel any emotion because he sees it as a weakness especially in the world they’re living in. He always expects the worst in everyone everywhere, until he meet Luna, and it became clear that deep down he has a good heart despite all the bitterness in it. He is that kind of cliché but I like him anyway.
The story moved on in a nice pace. Danger is constantly thrown in Luna and Fowler’s direction, there’s constant action enough to keep me interested. Not the kind of action that would make you grip the edge of your seat but it was okay.
There were three things that did not completely work for me though. First is the romance. I wasn’t really sold. It happened too fast and I think it was a little too strong for two people who just met. Second, the world-building. I wished it was a bit more detailed because I really think there’s more to explore and see in this kingdom. Third, the predictability factor. I’ve guessed some things pretty easily in there, except for what happened in the end.
That ending was something twisted that I did not see coming. I might have added another star to my initial rating because of that nonending ending. It was a serious, brutal, cliffhanger. And I know… I just kow, that despite my many minor issues with this book, I’d be back to see how it goes in book two.