Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
Release date: January 30, 2018
An e-galley was provided by Bloomsbury via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Well. Even a couple days later, I'm not quite sure how I felt about Reign the Earth. There were things I expected more of, I suppose, and the plot didn't quite go how I wanted it to.
I definitely expected more of an explanation of how the Elementae magic worked, where it came from, and the characters using it. I kept reading, hoping to learn that, but I never did. Maybe it'll be explained better in future books, but I guess I would've liked a taste of that in Reign the Earth.
I did like that Shalia took her duties as queen seriously, but things in the castle didn't feel quite royal to me. Maybe more setting details would have helped with that. More setting details overall would have been nice because I had trouble placing the various locations in my head and figuring out where the characters were.
I also wanted more from the other female characters. Shalia's basically the only one that matters, and she's surrounded by guys - Calix, Galen, her brother, her personal guards... There's some violence. There's also vague descriptions of a few sex scenes (between Shalia and her husband). I should also give trigger warnings for physical and verbal abuse and a miscarriage.
The Verdict: Good but not great. Maybe the sequel will be better?
Will I be adding this book to my library?: I'm not sure.