Summary: Shalia is a daughter of the desert, and she has magic in her blood. After years of a devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, Shalia agrees to an arranged marriage with the King of the Bone Lands, even though it means leaving her family and everything she’s ever known behind. In her new country, magic is outlawed and the Elementae- individuals who can control earth, air, fire and water- are subject to horrific punishment. Discovering her own ability to control earth, Shalia is trapped between her Elementae-hating husband and a dangerous rebellion led by her brother.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
A.C. Gaughen’s Reign the Earth was highly recommended me to by an Avatar-loving, fellow book blogging friend. While I can personally not attest to the book’s similarity to Avatar, I can say that Reign the Earth is a fantastic, feminist fantasy that deserves more hype, following a girl who is willing to do anything to find peace for her family, her kingdom, the Elemenate, and herself.
Reign the Earth sucked me in from the get-go (blame it on a wedding), but I just couldn’t let this book go. The book has a unique magic system focused on elemental magic. I often have trouble reading action and magic-explanation in fantasy, but both elements came so naturally. Shalia is able to control the Earth, but we meet other characters who can control other elements, like Kata’s ability to control water. I absolutely loved the world-building and character development, and while we learn much about this world, I can tell A.C. Gaughen has much more in store. Speaking of world-building, can we all appreciate how easy it is to follow the book’s map (yes, I am that person who flips back and forth whenever the characters are travelling).
While strong, Shalia is a soft-hearted character, and I loved her care for her family and other important people in my life. It was refreshing for me as a reader to read a fantasy with, while strong and kickbutt, a more soft-spoken character. However, that does mean she does not stand up for herself, especially against her husband, Calix.
I do not want to understate the fact that Reign the Earth is a much darker YA read, as the book features violence and abuse. Calix is a character to hate pretty much from the get-go, but his sexism and abuse towards Shalia and others is awful and may be hard to read. There are few violent scenes, not all towards Shalia, that fit within this world, but definitely may go to darker places for readers. Within this darker topics, I did like how the book, for a YA, explores marriage and pregnancy.
However, Shalia is not afraid to voice her opinions, doing her best to make the country better for women and the Elementae. She also has a strong cast of characters to support her. Please tell me we’ll be getting a book all about Kata! Family has a huge role in Reign the Earth, and I loved that Kairos, Shalia’s brother, accompanies her to the Tri City. While it did take me some time to figure out the latter’s intentions, I loved Theron and Adria for their support and at times, comic relief. Galen was also another favorite character of mine, and I loved seeing his relationship with Shalia grow.
Overall, I loved Reign the Earth! I am so looking forward to seeing this world expand, with an expected four books in total that each focus on a different element. The mystery within Reign the Earth (something about the Resistance near the end left me gasping) and I’m ready for more. That ending especially made me happy that Imprison the Sky comes out soon on January 22, 2019.
Have you read Reign the Earth? Share in the comments!