reign the earth // review

Title: Reign the Earth
Author: A. C. Gaughen
No. of pages: Hardback; 438 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Date Read: March 8, 2018


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. (Goodreads)


This book is an honest-to-God story of genius. I LOVED this book and have so many feels and need the next one now that it’s forced me to write one entire run on sentence. And I’m now so incredibly honored to have met this wonderful author who wrote such a wonderful story.

Okay, so. I originally had gotten this book as an arc e-book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. By the time I had gotten a chance to start it, it was like 2 days from release and I realized I wouldn’t have time to finish it. At that point, I was already about 30% in and I was living for it. I then went to a signing where I was fortunate enough to meet her and hear more about the backstory of how the book came to be, and my work schedule was just now okay enough for me to sit and read. (All the snow days we’ve had in the past week were very helpful too.) But once I finally had the chance to read it, I started it and couldn’t put it down. This book at times had me on the edge of my seat, screaming with joy, ecstatic with that fact that there is such a STRONG female lead, crying with practically everyone, and in absolute shock when it ended and I needed the next one.

Reign the Earth follows Shalia, a girl born and bred in the desert who marries only for peace for her family. Her husband is from a land that believes that the ruler (her husband) is just one face, or vessel incarnate, of the Three-Faced God that leads their culture. Shalia gives up everything she knows to make herself at home in this new country alone and with one deadly secret against her: she discovers that she is an Elementae. Elementae are people who have powers that can control the elements. Think Avatar, not the blue guys on a different planet, but like Avatar with Aang, Katara, and Zuko. Her husband, having grown up knowing that there was a vision given to him by a seer that an Elementae would be his ruin, has harbored a great hate and now has forced the hunt and genocide of people with these powers. Throughout this book, you see the fear and hatred that Calix has of those that are different than him, and how that always turns to war. You see so many aspects of SO MANY different characters and I honestly thought I had everyone narrowed down to a side and then THERE WERE SO MANY PLOT TWISTS THAT I CRIED BECAUSE I WAS SO INCREDIBLY OVERWHELMED WITH ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED.

Story-wise, this book could have had some weak spots, but I found none. Maybe I’m biased. Oh well. Character-wise, these characters have such strong personalities that you’re not sure who to trust at the beginning but you see their hearts at all times. Shalia is such a strong character. From the beginning of the book to the end, she wants peace, she wants to do what’s right, she truly cares about people and looks for the best in them, and she doesn’t want people to see her as weak. She’s the girl that I want my future daughters to read about. She is who she is, she knows where she comes from, she knows what is right in her heart, and she fights for it. Her family is wonderful and truly care about her and are so intricately family and clan-minded.

The secondary characters also hold so much weight in this story. It’s not just about this girl with powers who is stranded by marrying for peace, but it’s also about all those that she comes into contact with. From Kata, her best friend that all along believes she holds this power, to Danae, her husbands’ sister that is the hidden one, always following because she does as she’s told. From Calix, the husband who has such fear of losing his power that he’ll do anything to keep it, to Galen, the brother who has a heart hidden under his strength that he keeps from his siblings in fear of looking weak. From Kairos, the brother that is present always, to Rian, the brother who is present from afar. Literally, all the characters had such a voice that it was hard to leave them at the end.

This book (and coming series) is one that I will continue to re-read and have on my shelf for a LONG time. I can’t wait for the next one to come and honestly, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll read it again before that.

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