Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen is not a book I would recommend for the faint of heart. Completely different from what I expected (given the book’s cover), this particular YA fantasy covers some very heavy topics and, personally, I was unable to read it all the way through.

This book is expected to be released on 30th January 2018.

This review may contain mild spoilers for this book (What I consider spoilers might not be what you consider spoilers but I thought that I’d put it out there just in case). READERS YE BE WARNED!

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

Rating: 3/5 and DNF

Thank-you to Sonia at Bloomsbury for providing me with an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’m sorry, I tried, I really did.

This book, despite what the cover may suggest, is not the light-hearted YA fantasy I thought it was going to be. It covers some very heavy topics including, but not limited to: physical abuse, emotional manipulation, sexual abuse due to an arranged marriage, and pregnancy. While none of these things are glorified in the novel, I definitely think that it is something that you should consider before reading Reign the Earth. I had to DNF this book at about 60% just because it was too heavy for me at the time but if I do end up going and reading it to completion I will endeavour to update this review to represent that.

The story revolves around Shalia, our strong heroine, who agrees to marry in order to bring peace to her fracturing country. Problem is, her husband is a complete wanker, cruel and super keen on a war happening. Despite her efforts to change him, almost all of her attempts to bring peace fail. Unlike many YA fantasy books, this plot involves quite a bit of political manoeuvring and strategising in order for people to get what they want. While I can’t really give my opinion on the representations made during the book, I was particularly impressed by the thought put into the tribes even though most of the events in the book take place away from Shalia’s desert home and her family

I still can’t stress this enough: THIS IS NOT A CHEERFUL BOOK! Usually I can sit down and read continuously but this time I just couldn’t. As I said earlier, the author does not glorify the abuse and, while the romance plot line does not include the abuser in any way, the scenes which depict the abuse are rather prominent and kind of can’t be skipped because it is so central to the books theme.

The writing in the book was genuinely lovely, despite the sometimes horrible story points, and while some of the characters were horrific, others stood out in their awesomeness (Example: Shalia’s brother Kairos). To be honest, I really loved Shalia’s whole family even though their presence in the story was small and widely dispersed.

In my opinion, while Reign the Earth had all of the parts mentioned in its blurb, I do think that the heavy topics that the book covers should have been at least alluded to so that people know what they are getting into before they begin. Hopefully I will be able to come back and re-read this at some point and, fingers crossed, get all the way through it this time (Perhaps before the sequel is released).

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