Zelenka is an outcast. Tormented by the harsh rules and punishments of Eldon, she will soon be imprisoned in the horrifying government factories. Her lover, the charismatic Fraco, may be her one chance to escape. But Zelenka is drawn to the dangerous and elusive world of the Amaryllians. Only through them can she triumph in her two dreams: freedom, and survival.
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Eldon is a planet that controls its people with religion and a broken moral code. Women are nothing more than property, barely educated. At the age of 19 they must marry or are sent to factories where they will birth children until they die. Zelenka is a special girl. Her parents married for love and have taught her so much more than is allowed. On her 19th birthday she hopes to marry a man for love but he turns her down. Other information comes to her and she becomes desperate to escape Eldon. Amaryllis is near Eldon and has grown as a peace loving world. Zelenka dreams of escaping to Amaryllis and has an opportunity when she meets Fianna. But Amaryllis is not all perfect and comes bearing its own problems. But Zelenka is not safe on Amaryllis, she is being hunted and this is going to put the whole planet in trouble. This is an amazing story. Eldon is Earth after it has been nearly destroyed. It is a pit of corruption with the world polluted both physically and spiritually. I felt for Zelenka and the horrible future that she is faced with, especially after she learns the fate of one of her friends. She dreams for a better world but, as the saying goes, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. The real thing that got to me was the world building. Eldon is this dystopian world that has become broken and damaged and knows nothing but violence and death. Amaryllis is a peaceful utopian world yet no real defense against serious injuries or attack. It makes you really thing about the things that could go wrong in both of these worlds especially when one never thinks or has a plan for worst case scenarios. This is a fantastic read and the ending makes it feel like there may be a sequel but I am not seeing anything. I would love to read a sequel so fingers crossed. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
I was intrigued when I got the invite to review Days of Reign. The whole plotline of a girl trying to escape an oppressive regime caught my attention. I know that books like this in the dystopia genre are a dime a dozen but Days of Reign stood out from that crowd. This book had relatable characters and touched upon some real-life issues that we are facing today. Eldon is a planet that is dying. Zelenka is a girl who has two choices in life. Either she marries by her 19th birthday or she risks going into a government-run factory. There, she will birth children until she dies. Zelenka is desperate to avoid that fate but she also wants to marry for love. Zelenka is also different from other girls her age. Zelenka has been taught to read and write, beyond what the government mandates for girls. Zelenka dreams of escaping Eldon. Her chance comes when she meets an intriguing woman named Fianna from Eldon’s sister planet, Amaryllis. After suffering a heartbreaking loss and enduring an attack by someone she thought she loved, Zelenka is ready to go. But, is Amaryllis all that it is cracked up to be? Will Zelenka find the freedom that she has craved? I liked Zelenka. I also felt bad for her. The oppression that she lived under was stifling. But, somehow, she managed to thrive under it. She could read and write beyond what a woman in that society was allowed too. I felt that was amazing because her parents (and grandfather) took such a risk in educating her. She was hoping for a love match with Fraco to avoid being placed in the factories. I liked how she questioned her faith and wondered about Amaryllis. I was a little confused about exactly how she met Fianna. But that connection helped her when she needed to escape Eldon. Her wonder and amazement when she arrived in Amaryllis were exactly how I would have reacted. Considering the oppression that she left, Amaryllis was heaven to her. I liked Fianna but I didn’t understand her role in the book for about half the book. Everything became clear after she and Zelenka landed in Amaryllis. What she was destined to do and who she was going to help. I do wish that it was revealed a bit earlier in the book. There were hints but still. I didn’t like Fraco. I did pity him towards the end of the book but I didn’t like him. The things he did were heinous. But, he was a product of the male-dominated society of Eldon. He did what he thought was in his right. As with every book, the secondary characters made the book. And with Days of Reign, they definitely added some much-needed depth to the storyline. There were 2 plotlines in Days of Reign. Both plotlines were wonderfully written. They were also compelling. What got me was how some of the issues on both Eldon and Amaryllis reflected issues today. It actually scared me a little. The first plotline centered around Zelenka in Eldon. It showed how awful her life was on Eldon. It showed how awful conditions were there. Take for instance her best friend, Sara. Her father sold her to a family as a communal bride (I know, right!!). When Zelenka went to visit Sara, she finds out that Sara committed suicide. It was one of two events that pushed Zelenka into leaving with Fianna. The other event, well, you will need to read the book to find out. The second plotline is also centered around Zelenka. But she is in Amaryllis and discovering that living in Amaryllis is not what she thought. I shared Zelenka’s awe over everything that she saw and learned on Amaryllis