Reign the Earth

Reign the Earth

by A. C. Gaughen


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"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681191133
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Series: The Elementae , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 586,033
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 13 - 12 Years

About the Author

A. C. Gaughen is the author of Scarlet, Lady Thief, and Lion Heart. She serves on the board of directors for the non-profit Boston GLOW to make sure young women have the support they need to become powerful leaders in their communities. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Masters in Education from Harvard University.


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Reign the Earth (The Elementae Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bayy245 More than 1 year ago
I was so disappointed with this book. From the start, I knew I wasn’t going to like it. It had little to no world building at all. We’re dropped into a scene where our MC is being married off to stop tension between a rival king. We’re thrown around from different and places and cultures, to different people. It was jarring and confusing. I never got a grasp on any of it and I don’t think there was ever a good explanation on any of it. I was confused on the places they lived and how they worked. Even that wasn’t explained at all. Her husband is so abusive that I could hardly stomach reading it. Not to mention the kingdom she now lives in is basically a high fantasy the Handmaid’s Tale. I could tell from the beginning that she was going to fall in love with the brother and the big secret about who the king loved and was spited by couldn’t have been anymore obvious. Predictable plot, lazy world building, and forgettable characters (besides her hunky brother). Big pass from me *Thank you to Netgalley for this review copy. All opinions are my own*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Going into this book, I'd heard some pretty good reviews. Being a fan of A. C. Gaughen's Scarlet series, I was prepared for another fantastic book with awesome female characters. Shalia did not disappoint. This book was amazing from start to finish. My only qualms would be its occasional cliche romance, however, these days a YA book isn't a YA book without some sort of romance side story
EllenRozek More than 1 year ago
Wow. I was a huge fan of A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet series, but I loved REIGN THE EARTH even more. With a heroine who is compassionate and optimistic without ever being weak, a great cast of secondary characters, the scariest, most manipulative villain I've encountered in a long time, and a straightforward but never simplistic story line involving elemental magic, extermination, and revolution, this is YA fantasy at its best. I can't wait for the next book!
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
An arranged marriage to save her family's lives is not the stage for a successful relationship. But that is the position Shalia finds herself in when Reign the Earth opens. While her new husband is not hideous, he's also not what she had hoped for in her heart. Immersed in culture shock, she faces another hurdle when her own magical abilities begin to emerge. Knowing she must hide those powers from her new husband for her own safety, she finds herself in the middle of a rebellion, stuck between the marriage she agreed to and her true feelings. A further complication is the fact that her new husband's brother is too available and easy for her to talk to. As her feelings for her brother-in-law grow, her husband's irrational hatred of her people also grows. It soon becomes obvious that Shalia can't hide her powers (or her feelings) any longer. I really enjoyed this book by A.C. Gaughen. Fast paced and filled with adventure and danger, it was an easy read and a nice opening book to a new series. I'll be looking for the next book when it is released.
ShesGoingBookCrazy More than 1 year ago
Content Warning: Arranged Marriage, Abuse (physical and emotional), Graphic Violence (including torture), Cheating, Pregnancy almost leading to a forced Miscarriage ”A wedding is not about lust. It’s about partnership. Alliance. Faith and faithfulness.” It’s so ironic that this book started out with such a strong sense of pure intentions and girlish hopes then turned out the way it did. I’m not sure what it is with tough books like this, but they completely draw me in. I’ll start out by saying that this book will not be for everyone, and will either be loved or hated for the topics it discusses. It is a hard read, and not the typical happy-go-lucky fantasy novel. Sometimes, a book is worthy of praise simply for the realness that it captures in its characters, and the trials they go through, comfortable or not. The characters here are real, raw, and rememberable. Overall Feeling Things that I liked: ⇒ Shalia’s depth of character, especially her steadfastness. ⇒ The world building, and how well it reflected everything else developing throughout the story. ⇒ The use of elementals. Things that I didn’t like: ⇒ Calix. Pure and simple. He was a "perfect" antagonist. ⇒ The pacing towards the middle slowed down a bit, but I didn’t notice it too much. The beginning and end made up for this deviation in my opinion. ⇒ I felt that the Trifectate needed a lot more explanation surrounding it. While the general idea was explained, I wanted to dig deeper into their role in society. ⇒ The fantasy element of this book takes a backseat to the main story. I would have liked to see more representation of the elementals throughout. Due to the nature of this book, I would definitely caution young adult readers before picking it up. I personally believe this to be better suited for the New Adult genre, as the topics discussed don't really reflect that of the life of an average teen. Overall, I believe this book has a lot to offer the reader. It's real, it's emotionally charged, it's challenging, and it's beautifully written. I'm thoroughly looking forward to the next installment in this series. Vulgarity: 26 words total (based on the eARC I read - this may differ from the published book.) Sexual content: Moderate to a lot. While nothing is graphically explained, there are a lot of “bedroom scenes.” This also was an area where a lot of content could trigger some uncomfortable feelings for the reader. Violence: Moderate to quite a bit. There are scenes of torture and some graphic material here and there. My Rating: 5 stars
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Reign the Earth is one of those books that took me by surprise. It dealt with heavier topics, such as physical and emotional abuse and pregnancy, that you don’t usually see in YA fantasy. This did make it difficult to read at times. However, if you can handle the darker themes, this book is definitely well worth the read. The writing in Reign the Earth was gorgeous. The world itself was absolutely fascinating and the political intrigue was brilliantly developed. Also, the Elementae were so interesting, I can't wait to find out more about them. The plot definitely kept me intrigued the entire way through plus there were some unexpected twists at various points. There was also enough detail that it was very easy to envision the world and the characters. While Reign the Earth wasn't the story I was expecting, it turned out to be even better. Shalia was my favorite part of the book, she was such a strong, courageous woman. Additionally, the author does an excellent job of showing that there is more than one type of courage. I ultimately kept reading Reign the Earth because I loved Shalia's journey and her growth. Most of the other characters were well developed. In particular, I adored the strong bonds between Shalia and her family, particularly her brothers. The relationship between Calix and Shalia was handled well, although it was heart-breaking at times. In particular, I liked that Gaughen didn't glorify the abuse and didn't have Shalia fall for her abuser. I would recommend Reign the Earth if you're okay with the darker themes. Part of what makes it a hard read is that Gaughen captures some of the evils of our world so perfectly in this fantasy setting. However, she also captures the hope and the strength necessary to fight against those evils. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel and seeing what happens next in Shalia’s journey. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
BooksandBri More than 1 year ago
To my surprise, this book was so much better than I anticipated. I was expecting yet another book chock full of YA fantasy cliches, complete with the stereotypical pretty cover and all, but ended up getting so much more. At times, this story was gritty and dark, where emotional and physical domestic violence, torture, and genocide were all present. Let this serve as a trigger warning - some scenes dealing with the above issues are intense and very emotional. For me, these dark situations, while sad and emotional, really helped draw me into the story. However, I know that it won’t be for everyone, so please read with caution. The emotional intensity of the story made this book an amazing read. When an author can really draw you into the world and have you connect and care for the characters, that’s literary talent. For the first time in a long time, I cared for what happened to the characters, and I couldn’t put this book down. The characters were dynamic, and I really liked both Shalia and Kairos. Shalia has an incredible inner strength, and when I think of strong female characters, I think of characters like her - the world and/or people push her down continuously, but she gets back up everytime. The strength to persevere was endearing to me, and her resiliency made her a main character that I really liked and respected. The romance was a bit lackluster for my tastes, but I blame Sarah J. Maas and Ilona Andrews for their slowburning romances that make all other romances fall short. There was very little dialogue exchanged between Shalia and Galen and that lack of connection made their relationship boring to me as it started to develop. Their feelings for one another seemed more a way to drive the plot and conflict between Shalia and Calix than anything. Overall, the romance was okay and I didn’t hate it, but I also wasn’t really invested either. My one issue is with the fantasy elements. The magic system was simple and one that’s been seen a lot, not to mention a bit cliche. The main conflict of a ruler wanting to rid the world of magic-users is also not unique, and in the end, the magic and overall conflict took a back seat to the dark and emotional intensity of the story. Hopefully the next book will bring some life to the fantasy elements of the story and really have it play a main role in the plot. Overall, while not perfect, I really enjoyed this read. The emotional intensity really drew me in, and I’m hoping that continues to be the case in the future. I’m excited for the next book holds.
Taylor Parker More than 1 year ago
4/5 stars This book is intense. Not in an action packed, full-of-battle-scenes way, but in a heavy, filled-with-difficult-subjects way. This book touches on some very major problems such as physical and emotional abuse, pregnancy, issues of consent, and miscarriage. While Gaughen does an amazing job at discussing these issues with the necessary caution and care, they are difficult subjects and intricately woven into the story, they cannot just be skipped. Shalia, the main character, is a strong woman from the desert clans who agrees to an arranged marriage to the king of the Bone Lands to bring peace to the two warring nations. However, Calix, her husband is a cruel man, using the guise of peace to commit atrocities and the abuse of whoever he believes stands against him. He is enormously insecure and when he says he wants peace, he really means he wants utter submission. "And there are moments when he's kind to me, or thoughtful, and I feel something like hope-but I hate those moments more than any other, because they mean that I am beginning to mistake the absence of cruelty for love. Once she is queen, Shalia works to weave true peace into Calix's rule, but it's not easy. Calix sees all her ideas as undermining and challenging his rule, which is not allowed because he is the Three Faced God incarnate. She must tread carefully, for her kind actions could be mistaken as siding with the resistance that exists in the Bone Lands, of which her brother, Rian, is a known member. As Shalia witnesses Calix promise her peace with his lips but create more war with his actions, she must decide how much she is willing to risk in order to bring peace in both the Bone Lands and the desert. Gaughen writes beautifully and she does an excellent job at addressing these tough issues, and overall it's an excellent read. It's just a very heavy read, with scenes that weighed heavy on my soul and required me to put the book down and come back to it later. I found the book refreshing though, I love lighthearted fantasy books, but it was nice to read one that also addressed issues that are very real for people even today. Lastly, please read the author's note, it's tragic but beautiful. I won't spoil it besides to let you know that it's about the authors illness. I greatly admire Gaughen for writing such a beautiful novel while struggling so much with her health. It also helps to explain WHY the novel is so heavy, because she put so much of her feeling, struggles, and love into her characters, and it truly shows. *I received this ARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
AsDreamsAreMade More than 1 year ago
Oh. My. Goodness. This book was just sheer brilliance. A daughter of the desert, Shalia agrees to marry the Calix, King of the Trifectate, in order to secure peace between their lands. However, soon after they’re married, Shalia realizes that Calix is not a merciful and just ruler, but is solely motivated by his hatred for the Elementae and their extinction. When Shalia discovers she herself is an Earth Elementae she must chose between the man she’s supposed to love, her people, and her very survival. I am still in awe of this book. Guys. It was SO GOOD. It was the first book I read for 2018 and I’m hoping that’s a sign because if every book is as good as this one, it’s going to be a fantastic year! I loved Shalia. Talk about an emotional journey of growth. She truly lives through horrors and comes out stronger because of them. She was such a wonderful character to watch come alive on the page. She had you rooting for her from day one–crying with her, laughing with her. All the characters were like that though. A.C. Gaughen definitely has a talent for writing complex, unique characters. I loved the brooding and serious Galen and their slow burn romance. I often found myself tensing up with anticipation every time they had a scene together. Her funny and charismatic brother Kairos is an all-time favorite of mine. I have a feeling there’s going to be even more backstory revealed about her other brother Rian and her best friend Kata. I can’t wait. I have to say though, I think what stuck with me the most and just brought this story to a whole other level was our nasty villain, Calix. Wow. Talk about abusive mind tricks. I loved every minute of it, but more so, I loved how Gaughen was able to show the horrors of an abusive relationship in an honest and upfront manner, especially in a YA book. Brava. The story kept moving at a fast pace because the characters’ relationships had you turning the page, dying to know what will happen to them next. I loved the wonderful feminist elements throughout the story, especially through Shalia, but also the characters surrounding her. It was a complicated world that Gaughan built and she manages to introduce three very different cultures brilliantly. I’m hoping to see more of that in the upcoming books. You definitely don’t want to miss this one guys. Pre-order it, buy it, get it at the library, but make sure you read it the day it comes out. It’s the kind of story that leaves you feeling like you can do anything because you refuse to take any BS–from anybody.