I got this book as an ARC (advanced reading copy) through the Amazon Vine program. When I received the bright turquoise book with a bubble-gum looking blond on the front sporting a tiara and horns...I was was unsure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised; this was a really good book!
Nikki Donovan is your typical teen. She has just moved into a new school and lucked out in making friends with the popular girl in school. Her luck holds when the hottest guy in class asks her to the dance and even her mom's lousy new husband isn't screwing her life up too much. Then this creepy guy starts stalking her, ends up his name is Michael and he wants to take her to the Shadowlands to visit her father who is a demon, oh and Michael is really cute. Nikki never knew her father. Even weirder supposedly Nikki is a Darkling and is half demon and her demonic powers are about to surface.
This book was a quick, fast-paced, and fun read. I zipped right through it in one night and really enjoyed it. Nikki's demon powers and transformations are really something and really made for a great book. The tension between Nikki and the Shadow, Michael, was also wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised at how much of this book was more focused on action and world-building, a lot of these types of books spend too much time with teenagers angsting about each other and not doing anything. Nikki was a smart practical character than took her changes (pretty much) in stride, she didn't whine, she didn't complain, and she wasn't stupid about the guys around her.
I loved the book and am really looking forward to reading the next one in the series "Demon Princess: Reign Check". I think fans of Buffy will really get into this series. Fans of The House of Night series can also find relief here and maybe get over the disappointing fifth novel. This is a smart, fun read that will leave you smiling.
Nikki Donovan just moved to a new school and saved the life of the most popular girl in that school. Talk about luck, she goes from a nobody in a new school to part of the popular crowd. I think this definitely counts as one of those girl's fantasies come true moment. She is asked to go to the dance with the hottest guy in school, the one that she has had a major crush on, but a weird guy is following her. She soon finds out that the weird guy is Michael, a shadow that has been sent to take her to the Shadowlands. He gets the lucky job of telling her that she is a demon and that her father is going to die. Then he tries to convince her to go meet her father. She thinks he is deranged and does all that she can to get away from him. I mean honestly, what would you do in that situation?
Of course, Nikki ends up going to the Shadowlands and learning about her father, her new found demon abilities (kick behind moves like Buffy, yay!), and the world that humans don't know about. Michael, the very hot shadow, helps her get over the hot guy from school (who is a jerk!), and becomes the love interest in the book. The "bad-guys" in the novel are somewhat unexpected and when the reader thinks someone is going to help our poor heroine, she often finds herself struggling alone. The growth of Nikki throughout the novel is interesting. As a reader, I was very intrigued with the progress of her character. She begins as a whiny little girl that needs Michael, or someone else, to save her, and grows to someone that figures out that she needs to do things on her own. How would a princess survive if she always needed someone else?
This was a quick read that was a lot of fun. It was fairly mindless with a good amount of action and a couple of laughs. I recommend it to people that enjoy a girly type book but also want something supernatural. It's already circulating my classroom as one of the top reads. The girls have been passing it amongst themselves for the past couple of weeks. I would have liked to have some type of message, but I believe the author is setting up the setting for the books to come. I look forward to the sequel due out in May of 2010.
Reviewed by Kira M for TeensReadToo.com
16-year-old Nikki has a pretty good life. She's friends with the most popular girl in school, has guys flocking around her, and is well liked by most students.
Things take an interesting turn in her life, however, when on her 16th birthday a guy named Michael shows up and tells her that her long-lost father is the Demon King of the Shadowlands.
She thinks the guy is a wacko until mysterious people show up calling her "princess" and trying to kill her. When she finally decides to give the guy a chance, she discovers that her father is suspiciously ill, other inhabitants of the Shadowlands are getting restless, her demonic powers are starting to manifest, and, to make matters worse, if her father dies, she'll be stuck as ruler of the Shadowlands forever.
Will Nikki find a way out of her predicament? What's really wrong with her father? Will she live to see her next birthday?
REIGN OR SHINE is a wonderful book, especially for lovers of paranormal fiction. The plot is fast-paced, the characters are intriguing, and the book is action-packed. Readers will easily be sucked into this story and will be anxiously waiting for its sequel.