Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan is the first book in a series (it’s unconfirmed whether it’s a duology / trilogy or other but it feels like a duology) that is heavily inspired by Rapunzel. I hadn’t originally planned on reading this one until I read positive pre-publication reviews and then the closer I looked at the cover the more I fell in love with it. And of course, once I found out the Rapunzel aspect I couldn’t wait another minute for it! The story follows a girl named Luna who’s spent her life living in a secluded tower due to her complicated royal family history and a boy name Fowler who has a past of his own to contend with. The pair are living in a world where an eclipse occurred 17 years ago and there hasn’t been light since. Humans live in fear of dangerous creatures called Dwellers and bats have grown to four feet in size.
Throughout Reign of Shadows there were plot twists at every turn. I do not want to spoil anything because it was really exciting to discover new things as the story unfolded and I would hate to take that away from anyone. As the story progressed, I developed very strong feelings for these characters. They’re polar opposites and the relationship they form leads to a deep connection. Luna is a unique heroine for several reasons, all of which will not be revealed here. She is not your typical gorgeous lost rightful heir to the throne. Luna is a kind spirit and she makes decisions with her heart even when they might not be the best ones whereas Fowler has lost someone in his past and refuses to allow himself to care for anyone because of how bleak their society is. He’s purely logical in his decision making and despite his rough exterior, he lives by a code of conduct. My heart was racing during the last 50 pages or so of the book and I needed a hug once I finished reading.
I loved seeing all of the parallels to Rapunzel in Regin of Shadows and I’m curious if they’ll continue in the second installment or if it will branch off into even more of its own story, similar to how The Lunar Chronicles handles itself. Sophie Jordan did an incredible job with the worldbuilding and convincing me that this is a society I would never want to experience. I couldn’t imagine the constant feeling of living in fear with little hope that anything will change in the future. The imagery of the forest and the scenes with the Dwellers painted such a clear picture in my mind which doesn’t always happen for me while reading. My only complaint is that while I was initially excited that the book is so short (without acknowledgements it’s under 300 pages), I really wanted more, especially upon reaching the end. The story ends very abruptly with a gut wrenching cliffhanger and I need the second one as soon as possible.
Final Thoughts: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan is the first book in a fantasy series set in a world which is heavily inspired by Rapunzel. Jordan crafted an enchanting story in a terrifying and bleak society and I couldn’t get enough of it. I have so many feelings for Luna and Fowler and I need them to be together because I am shipping them so hard. Opposites attract and while they could not be more different, each has found their way into my heart.
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.
With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadowsis Sophie Jordan at her best. (via Goodreads)