Series: Reign of Shadows, #1
Author: Sophie Jordan
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Published: February 9, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy
Source: MeL Cat
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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.
This was one of my most anticipated releases this year, and so far it has been my biggest disappointment. I was expecting one thing, but I got a totally different story. I found multiple aspects of this book to be illogical, contrived, and underdeveloped.
The book starts off with Luna, the lost princess of a kingdom that has been taken over. She's lived in a tower her entire life, rarely leaving its safety to experience the outside world. So when she leaves the tower one night to explore on her own, she meets a boy (her first) and her life is completely changed. Of course. The fact that her life has meant nothing and was nothing up until meeting Fowler irks me. It gives the impression that a girl needs a boy to have an adventure or for her life to have meaning. And I'm absolutely tired of that.
And it doesn't help that there's an immediate attraction. Yawn.
Fowler is the typical tough guy. Dismisses emotions and says only the heartless survive. And then he realizes that he hasn't been truly living until he's met the girl who he's been waiting for. The girl that can make him love again. It bothers me how it takes falling in love with someone to make a person's life have meaning or to make them feel again.
It's not really a big plot twist, as I've seen multiple people talk about it, but Luna is blind. And apparently it makes her smell better. I'm not blind, but I don't think that lack of sight affects the quality of sense of smell. Her hearing is supposedly better than the average person's, however, that sounds (Ha! Get it?) more realistic. Unfortunately, some of the ways her hearing is described, such as it adapting to the darkness, make it seem strange. Can ears even adapt to darkness? But she seems too perfect at everything. I know that a disability doesn't make someone an invalid, but it would likely hinder what they can and can't do. I don't think a blind person would be able to swing through the trees branch to branch with ease or walk amongst an unknown terrain as if she was raised there, knowing every tree and rock. It's just highly illogical that she do things that require sight perfectly when she's blind. I'm not trying to sound offensive, I'm just trying to point out some of the absurdities.
For a fantasy novel, this book is relatively short. It's just over 300 pages, whereas most are closer to the 400 range. Starting this book, I was hoping that wouldn't have an impact on the world-building. Sadly, it did, and not in a good way. The backstory to the takeover of the kingdom is briefly described. I don't even recall how the darkness came to be. And the various creatures aren't described in detail. We only know about what they're like now, not what they were like before or how they evolved. Maybe things will be expanded upon in the sequel?
Overall, this book was a total letdown. It had so much potential, but the story just didn't meet my expectations I had after reading the synopsis. I'm hoping that Sophie Jordan makes up for these weakness from the first book in the sequel, but I'm a bit wary. Nonetheless, I feel like I should give the next book a chance to prove me wrong.