Ｔｉｔｌｅ：Reign of the Fallen
Ａｕｔｈｏｒ：Sarah Glenn Marsh
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.
A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?
✩ Odessa was really strong and brave. She loved deeply and protected those she cared about. I think she was too passionate in that she could let her emotions take over at times.
✩ Evander was caring and romantic. He was also an explorer and wanted to see what was beyond their little bubble.
✩ Meredy was so fierce and stubborn. It definitely made her and Odessa butt heads more than a few times, but she was also really protective and focused which I think Odessa needed.
❝ “Progress,” the king always says when he gives his twice-yearly public address, “is a slow-acting poison that will ensure Karthia’s eventual death.” ❞
Reign of the Fallen has a gorgeous cover and it’s the first thing that made me want to read the book. There, I said it! Seriously, I love the colors and simplicity of it ❤
Once I actually started to read the book I fell in love with the world of Karthia and all the magic that was woven into it. I liked the little details like having different flowers mean things so that the dead could communicate with the living or how eye color related to the kind of magic you possessed. It was those little details that made Karthia really come alive.
And since we’re talking about magic: I really liked the different types of magic that people had. Out of the different kinds of magic, Necromancers were definitely the biggest focus of the book. They were key to society and kind of held above the rest for their ability to bring back people’s loved ones. The way that Necromancers undergo so much rigid training and how they work in pairs reminded me a little bit of the parabatai relationships in The Mortal Instruments.
Now, I’ll jump into the characters a bit, starting with our main character, Odessa. I came to really love Odessa’s spark. She was tough and didn’t give up easily. However, she was also really closed off to change. I think she tended to stay with what was familiar and comfortable and that’s why she couldn’t fully support Evander in the beginning. It was also what kept their relationship from moving forward as well. Still, she was very caring about others and I think that made her a likable character.
Another one of my favorite characters was Valoria because of her bravery both physically and intellectually. She continued to do her research and looked to the future rather than be content with living in the past. She was strong and dedicated I would say for all she did for Odessa.
❝ “You looked like a princess that day, standing on the manor step with mud on your boots and leaves in your hair, and all those caterpillars you’d found for me. I remember thinking I’d never met anyone as in love with the world around us as I was, until you.” ❞
If you like books that are LGBTQ then this is also a good read for that as there are a few characters with different sexualities represented in the book (gay, lesbian and bisexual). I enjoyed this because it was presented really casually in the book and the characters were allowed to be themselves without making a big deal out of it. They just were and it was accepted, and I liked that.
As for the plot, I think part of it was predictable. I wasn’t surprised with the general turn of events given that the kingdom has been stagnant for so long; however, I still think that Marsh was able to surprise us with the romance that crept in and the powers behind the Shades in the book. Even when you could see some of the things coming I still enjoyed the story.
One thing that was maybe a little frustrating was how Odessa fell apart and continuously put herself at risk without really thinking about how it would affect others. She also seemed blind to others’ grief for a long time. I wanted her to pick herself up and move on, to find support in her friends, and to be that strong character we’d met in the beginning. We did eventually get her back, but it did take a while.
As for the ending of the book: I think it left off on a really solid note. I felt like enough was resolved and most of my questions were answered. I think it did a good job of leaving it open enough to future obstacles the kingdom and its people would have to face. It had hope. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what gets tossed their way next.
Reign of the Fallen was just released today, January 23rd, so go get your copy!