Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday #Review - Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen #YALit #Fantasy

Series: The Elementae # 1
Format: E-Book, 448 pages
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

With powerful magic, dangerously cunning royalty, and heart-stopping romance, this new sweeping fantasy series is perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir.

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate to end the violence. Willing to trade her freedom for peace, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bone Lands, a country where magic is outlawed and the Elementae—those that can control earth, air, fire and water—are traitors subject to torture . . . or worse.
Before she is even crowned, Shalia discovers that she can bend the earth to her will. Trapped between her husband's irrational hatred of the Elementae and a dangerous rebellion led by her own brother, Shalia's only chance to survive is to harness her power and make an impossible choice: save her family, save the Elementae, or save herself. Dramatic and richly drawn, this new series by the author of Scarlet will thrill fantasy fans.

Reign the Earth is the first installment in author A.C. Gaughen's The Elementae series. 17-year old Shalia is a daughter of the desert from the clan known as D'Dragyn. To ensure her families future, she agrees to an arranged marriage to Calix, the king of a neighboring country called Bonelands to keep the peace between the factions. Calix has made it his mission in life to hunt and kill Elementae (people with elemental magic) like Shalia's best friend Kata. 

Even though Shalia is warned by her best friend Kata that she herself is an Elementae, the warning is ignored for much of the story. Bad idea. Once her powers which are triggered by her emotions finally do appear, she will have no choice but to accept that her abilities are incredibly powerful. Now, Shalia must walk a delicate balance of deception and hope that she isn't betrayed by anyone which would lead to her death. At the same time, Shalia urges changes in the way things are done from her new husband.

Speaking of whom. Calix is truly the monster made from the myths of the most villainous bad guys ever. One can hate a villain and still love the overall story. This is that story. He truly believes that there is a prophecy that says an 
Elementae will one day end his life. The lengths Calix goes to snuff out every single Elementae might be a bit much for younger audiences. The lengths he treats Shalia, at times, is also a bit on the dark side. One can have thoughts and emotions on what Calix puts Shalia through, but facts are this is a different world where men don't see women as their partners but property to be misused and tossed away.  

On the other side of the story, there's Shalia's own family for whom she would sacrifice everything to save. Her brother Rain is a member of a rebel faction that continues
to fight against Calix. We don't get a whole lot of Rian; just enough to give you an idea about who he is and who else belongs to the resistance. Thankfully, there are others who do stand by Shalia. I already mentioned Kata who has a command over water and can heal. She is also responsible for a whole lot more which I won't spoil.

The other important secondary character is Shalia's brother Kairos who travels to the Bonelands to help keep her safe. Kairos is a chippy character who I actually liked a whole lot. There's no one going to get in his way of protecting his younger sister. He has no safety net when it comes to how hard he pushes Calix's buttons. Finally, there is Galen, Calix's brother and the commander of his army. Galen will become an important figure when all is said and done. I won't speak a whole lot about Galen. There are some good things, and some things that happen that lead to a seriously twisted cliffhanger ending.   

This book may not be for the feint of heart so I am warning you up front. There are unexpectedly dark situations that may not be suitable for younger audiences. There are situations with emotional abuse, physical abuse, torture, violence, and shocking deaths. I often refrain from trigger warnings because they are subliminal ways to shut down freedom of expression. So, here is your only warning. Reader beware.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not familiar with this one (though I'm just back from a 7 month hiatus) but it sounds like a really awesome read. I don't mind darker reads so this one is for sure going on my TBR pile.