Beautiful World-Building and Romance Make Reign of Shadows a Captivating Retelling

Sophie Jordan has created a beautiful world shrouded in darkness in Reign of Shadows, which I had no idea was a Rapunzel retelling until I actually started reading this book. Her experience in writing romance novels is very apparent by the way she builds romantic tension throughout, making for one very enjoyable read.

Wine Pairing

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Immerse yourself in this lovely Rapunzel retelling, set in a world ruled by shadows and perpetual darkness while sipping on a glass of this Acronym red blend, handily named Shadow.

*All wine recommendations are for strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Title: Reign of Shadows
  • Author: Sophie Jordan
  • Publisher: Harper Teen
  • Pub Date: February 9, 2016
  • Pages: 304

Goodreads Description:

24657660.jpgSeventeen 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.


My Review


I really enjoyed this retelling. Sophie Jordan managed to make this story her own while still maintaining the tone and magical feel of the original Rapunzel story.

My favorite part of this book is the world-building. I adored the idea of a kingdom cloaked in shadows due to an eclipse looming over it, as well as the malevolent creatures that inhabited it. The  forest was filled with danger and wonder and a dark beauty in the plants, trees, and flowers, and it felt so alive and immersive.

I adored Luna as a main character. She was likable and strong despite her naiveté, which I felt was essential to her character, due to her upbringing. It was also very reminiscent of the original Rapunzel character. Her physical disability added to her strength and seems to have a magical element to it, since it hinders her less than would be believable without a magical component.

Fowler is a very swoon-worthy lead character. And though his character ARC and actions are admittedly predictable, it’s near impossible to do a retelling without there being some elements that are easy for readers to anticipate.

I usually don’t enjoy instal-love stories, which this certainly was; however, I felt that it worked in this story, because of Luna’s up-bringing. She was so isolated, it’s entirely believable that she would become almost immediately infatuated with the first guy of her age that she meets. This is also another element that is crucial in keeping with the original Rapunzel story.

I did really enjoyed this book, and I’m so looking forward to reading Rise of Fire when it comes out on Tuesday!

Cover Rating


This cover is just lovely. There is a definite flower movement going on in YA fiction, which has made for some STUNNING covers. I think this was one of the first in this recent trend when it released in early 2016. It also fits the story and the world just so well, and the Rise of Fire cover is equally beautiful.

Swoon Worthiness


Though there is definitely some instal-love going on, and I typically prefer a slow-burn kind of romance, it just worked in this particular story for me. Sophie Jordan’s experience as a romance writer really came through in the way she managed to build romantic tension throughout the story despite that insta-love and the fact that this is a retelling, which of course created an element of predictability in the love story.

 Rise of Fire

*Spoilers ahead if you haven’t yet read Reign of Shadows*

30037865The richly suspenseful sequel to Sophie Jordan’s romantic fantasy Reign of Shadows.

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler’s and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit.


About the Author

sj_author2010Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.


Tour Details

I’m so excited to get to meet Sophie Jordan in Salt Lake this Friday when she comes to town with Victoria Aveyard on their Queen’s Tour! Checkout the tour dates below to see if they’ll be stopping by a city near you!


Have any of you read Reign of Shadows yet? What did you think? Will you be reading Rise of Fire when it comes out this week? Are you going to get to meet Sophie Jordan during the Queens Tour?


5 thoughts on “Beautiful World-Building and Romance Make Reign of Shadows a Captivating Retelling

  1. Mandy says:

    A RAPUNZEL RETELLING??? How did I not know this was a Rapunzel retelling? Hmmmmmmm…I might have to reconsider not wanting to read this. You definitely made me interested. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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