Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 8/10 I love the illustrated style and all the colors are really fitting for this book. My only critique would be that the border is a little bit overwhelming and distracting to me. Either way it’s a gorgeous cover.

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Publish Date: January 30th, 2018

Number of Pages: 438 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon


“Another fantasy romance in the vein of books by Sabaa Tahir, Renee Ahdieh. . . . Shalia matures from a frightened girl in a foreign land to a woman unwilling to allow her destiny or desires to be controlled by the men around her.” – School Library Journal

“I will be thinking about Shalia’s strength and fearlessness (and swooning over the slow-burn romance) as I anxiously await book two!” – Erin Bowman, author of Vengeance Road

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for an end to the violence that has claimed so many of their loved ones. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, 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 must harness her power and make an impossible choice: save her family, save the Elementae, or save herself.

Opening Sentence:

“There was a scorpion in my tent.”

*trigger warning* emotional and physical abuse, marital physical relations without consent, torture, and relationship violence.


I picked up this book for a fun fantasy and opened up a much darker story that I didn’t fully appreciate until I really thought about it as it ended. Reign the Earth is an incredible novel beautifully told that tells the story of a strength of a different kind.

What I Liked:

The friendship. Shalia and her best friend had such a special bond. I loved that as a part of the deception in the story Shalia never once mentioned to her husband anything about the friend she loves. Keeping the secret while necessary was also a true show of their friendship.

Shalia’s strength. Shalia is not your conventional heroine. She is not truly physically strong, but she has a loyalty and an emotional strength that I almost never see in ya. She is a woman who endured. She endured pain and suffering to save the people she so loved. She never made excuses. She never complained and that is a whole new kind of strength. At first it made me angry. She never really fought back, but in the end I realized that she was much wiser, fighting for peace by being the sacrifice and that was the hardest for me to understand. For a while, I basically thought she was a pushover, but I was so very wrong. She did more then I ever could by enduring everything and trying to make the best out of a horrid situation and I have come to love Shalia for that.

The magic. The magic in this novel is really cool. I love the idea behind having whole cities being built by earth magic. I also like that it was removed and is now back in the world again and people gaining abilities in a seemingly random fashion. It is really interesting.

The world building. The world itself is much bigger then it is just on page and the fact that I felt like this was taking place in a much larger world was really cool. It made me want to explore in the universe the author created and that’s a lot of fun!

What I Didn’t Like:

The man I hated. From the moment Shalia married her husband I hated him. I hated him as he slowly warped into being the a-hole that he is. I hated him as he said he was one of the faces incarnate of their God. He was arrogant, cruel, nasty, and he caused so many people a whole lot of pain. I wanted to strangle him the whole book. He almost made me mistake Shalia for being week (totally not my own fault) so I hate him for that too.

About the Author:

A. C. GAUGHEN is the author of the Scarlet Trilogy (Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart) and the Elementae, which starts with REIGN THE EARTH in January 2018. She serves on the board for the non-profit Boston GLOW, creating opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the Greater Boston area. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Masters in Education from Harvard University.

Thanks for reading! I highly recommend you read Reign the Earth if you haven’t already. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!


3 thoughts on “Reign the Earth: A Review

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