by Jodi Meadows
Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: The Great Abandonment has begun, Idris has risen and no one knows which Fallen God will rise next. As Mira and her friends scramble to find a way to save everyone, their worst fears are confirmed when they learn that the dreaded Empire is working with Anahera. With two foes to fight, Mira takes a risk and goes to the Queen of the Empire to propose a new agreement between the Isles and the Empire. But they may be out of time. Once the double eclipse takes place, the Great Abandonment will be complete and the Fallen Isles will be no more.
7 Weighty Things about WHEN SHE REIGNS by Jodi Meadows
(May Contain Spoilers)
1. LGBTQ Inclusive
The Fallen Isles world is inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Through the trilogy, there is a lesbian couple who are side characters and part of Mira’s core group of friends. But in “When She Reigns” there is a scene in which politicians and other influential people are condemning the isle of Idris for not allowing men to marry men or women to marry women.
Aaru has been a favorite throughout the Fallen Isles Trilogy and happily in “When She Reigns” he begins to speak verbally again showing that he is healing from all he has suffered. One of my favorite things about Aaru is his thoughtfulness especially in regards to Mira. He never rushes her, he does not chastise her, but most importantly he allows her to make her own decisions. Aaru respects that everyone has a right to choice, no human should be able tell another human what they can or cannot do if no one else is being affected.
3. The Empire
While brief, “When She Reigns” takes place in the Empire and though the interactions were sometimes less than pleasant, it was nice to be able to see the Empire and have some of the characters’ misconceptions corrected. One thing that stuck out was Mira being surprised that people of the Empire looked like herself and others of the Isles to the point where they could easily blend and secretly spy without being detected as foreign.
The Fallen Isles Trilogy overarching plot revolves around the fact that the humans of the Fallen Isles did not protect dragons, the children of the gods, and the consequences are catastrophic. There is a mirror to our world about how we have destroyed our planet across the generations and still are not coming together to fix it. Much like the governments of the Fallen Isles, there are partial attempts, half-assed declarations and intentions that do not solve the problem but are deemed good enough as a means to save face.
Mira’s sacrifice was not what she expected and it was utterly heartbreaking when LaLa and Mira tried to come together before she relinquished her dragon soul. Though it was her dragon soul she needed to sacrifice and not her human life, which was a mercy in many ways, it was still devastating. But a sacrifice is never truly worthy unless it is something you love. Regardless, Mira made it allowing herself and her friends to survive the Great Abandonment.
6. Death and Rebirth
Meadows effectively utilizes the concept of death and rebirth in “When She Reigns.” Through the Great Abandonment and the sacrifice of Mira’s dragon soul, a new dawn arises. A natural cycle, death allows new life, an ending creates a beginning. While death is difficult, there is a purpose and there can be joy found in the sorrow and Meadows paints this beautifully.”
Overall, the Fallen Isles Trilogy conclusion is rather bittersweet but fitting. A new island is formed by Mira’s sacrifice but many people of the Fallen Isles perished and those that survived are left giftless now that their gods are gone. Regardless, they are left with a fresh start, a second chance to take care of the dragons and create a better life for them all.