Overall: 3.5/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 3/5
Awesomeness Factor: 3/5
Review in a Nutshell: When She Reigns delivers on its promises of dragons, but at the cost of some of its other aspects. That said, I still enjoyed it.
“Hate cannot abide where many stand in love.”
(This exact line is said a million times. I think I’ll be saying it in my sleep)
// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Torture (Mention), Panic Attacks, Anxiety, Animal Abuse, Animal Death, War Themes, Murder, Mental Illness //
Release Date: 9/10/2019
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Count: 496
When She Reigns is the third and final book in the Fallen Isles trilogy. It takes place shortly after the devastating ending of As She Ascends, and follows Mira and her friends as she tries to find a way to save her people and her home.
“Love survives death.”
Writing & Setting
I really adore the world Jodi Meadows has created for this series. I love the culture of each island, and how with each book they get more and more developed. This book also talks more about the Algotti Empire, and I was really fascinated by that world as well, although it definitely didn’t feel as unique or fully developed as the Fallen Isles. Meanwhile, the writing itself is the same style as that of the first two books. It’s easy to read, with some good, quotable lines thrown in.
“Hope is a light against the oppressive darkness of misery, one that must be vigilantly maintained.”
Plot & Pacing
Before She Ignites was slow. As She Ascends picked up the speed. When She Reigns falls somewhere in the middle. I didn’t find myself as addicted to the book as I did in As She Ascends, but I wasn’t ever truly bored or wanting to put it down. The plot itself has some action, lots of politics and scheming, and even more dragons. Each book seeks to have more and more dragons and I am so here for it. This book also delves further into discussing imperialization and the horrors of it, but it’s more of an introduction to the topic, hinting at how bad it is but not going into it enough to start a real conversation.
“Without hope, we achieve nothing. Without one another, we have nothing”
(Lots of quotes about hope)
The characters are truly my favorite aspect of this series. Mira is such a strong protagonist. Her anxiety and counting compulsion is one of the best depictions of mental illness I’ve seen in a high fantasy novel, although I do feel like it definitely gets brushed aside a bit in this book. Her relationship with Aaru is absolutely adorable and I just really loved how healthy it was. They definitely weren’t perfect, but it was still really refreshing to see how well they communicate and trust each other. Aaru also has his own amazing character arc throughout this series and I loved to see how it ended. However, the other characters didn’t really get the opportunity to shine. I feel like all the focus was on Mira and Aaru, and they were depicted so realistically, but the others didn’t get the same treatment. They went through a lot in this book, but while Mira and Aaru’s reactions to certain events were devastating and real, when similar things would happen to other characters, you never got to see their reaction. They seemed almost fine with it.
“Fire cannot exist without something to burn.”
Pros- Two main protagonists are amazing, great setting
Cons- Side characters are underdeveloped, some of it was underwhelming
Overall- 3.5/5 stars.
When She Reigns is a good conclusion to a series I’ve enjoyed, but it wasn’t as powerful of an ending as I hoped.
If You Liked When She Reigns, I’d Recommend:
- The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli – [ Review ]
- The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1) by Kalyn Josephson – [ Review ]
Have you read When She Reigns?
Who is your favorite fictional dragon (or dragon-like creature)?
I think I’m team Abraxos (from Throne of Glass)(yes I’m counting wyverns), or Shadow (from The Last Namsara).