Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh | Review

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: January 23rd, 2018

Trigger Warnings: murder, grief, addiction

Pages: 384

Publisher: Razorbill

Goodreads blurb:

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?


R E V I E W

Reign of the Fallen was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. Did I actually know what the book was about when I started anticipating it? No. I never read blurbs. I’d seen the hype for it growing on Twitter and I fell in love with the cover. A pretty pink book with a skull on the front? Sign me the fuck up.

So, what is Reign of the Fallen about? Basically, necromancy went wrong. I don’t mean that as in the main characters are here making mistakes but just the fact necromancy has created a world where people with enough money are able to come back after dying. The only catch is that they must wear a shroud in order to keep from becoming a monster. If the shroud is removed they will become a monster. In this book, someone is removing the shrouds of the dead in order to make these monsters and create fear of necromancy.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Reign of the Fallen it was incredibly diverse and a story like no other I have read. It tackles issues like grief and addiction, as well as second chance romance. It also shows how important a group of friends are and doesn’t shy away from discussing the selfish actions of the main character.

L I K E S

GREAT WORLD BUILDING

The world building is indescribable. The development of it throughout the book draws you in. It is honestly so well executed. Reign of the Fallen is a world like no other and the author takes great care to make sure you will never confuse her world with one of the many others in books. The depth of the necromancy and the Deadlands is honestly… I don’t know, I’m speechless.

SELFISH CHARACTERS

Now, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews but I love selfish characters. I hate when characters are cookie cutter and never think for themselves. I have been in a lot of situations in life where I can either be selfish or get myself killed. So, it is amazing to see other characters making the choices. Odessa is an incredibly selfish main character. She doesn’t care about anyone after certain events in the book and ends up reliant on a drug (in which the withdrawal was represented to be painful).

FABULOUS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

Mainly from Odessa (because the side characters really weren’t incorporated enough) we see that she grows. She doesn’t remain the selfish necromancer who believes she’s invincible. Really. The writing that shows this depth doesn’t read like a debut novel and I think that’s the beauty of it. We are left absolutely in awe of how mature the writing style is.

GRIEF REPRESENTATION

I can’t really speak on this point because I am lucky enough to have never lost anyone in my life. I have had family members pass but I was never close to them – I’ve seen my mum battle with grief though. She lost many friends while she was young and when I was younger she lost my great grandparents who raised her. She’s still struggling almost 15 years later. So, I feel Odessa’s grief throughout – because it never leaves – was really well done. It really showed how all surrounding and life-altering it is. One life ends and sometimes the people around them aren’t ready for it and the struggle is incredibly raw. That’s the word to describe the grief in this book raw. The author doesn’t shy away from the difficult topic at all.

D I S L I K E S

STORY WAS LACKLUSTER

So, I’ve complimented Reign of the Fallen a lot. But, there have to be some flaws considering it didn’t hit that five-star mark. One of the big issues was that the story was lacking something. Obviously, it’s a debut and it’s the first novel in a series that never falls perfectly with me. This book is very clearly centred on setting up events for the later books. The world building felt like the main focus of this book, along with establishing the characters and their motives for the later story. Which is fine, but at points leaves this particular book feeling a little dull. Especially since the big twist was kind of an easy guess.

ROMANCE? NO THANKS

This may have been the biggest problem for me with Reign of the Fallen. I wasn’t feeling either romance’s that occurred. This section will include spoilers. So if you want to avoid that skip to the next point. The romance shifts from the original male to his sister. Which is fine, I’m all for bisexual characters getting to shine. However, I’m not on board with Odessa dating his sister. Her best friend and first loves sister. I don’t know. It really just rubbed me the wrong way. Especially with how fast she was able to move on. It felt once the sister was introduced she was barely thinking about him. I just really struggled with it and wasn’t comfortable. I would have been much happier if Odessa had ended up with the woman who was giving her coffee beans (which was what I originally thought was going to happen). It just made me feel a little icky, which is probably stupid but I just couldn’t get on board with it. End spoilers.

DISAPPEARING SIDE CHARACTERS

All the side characters are introduced early on in the book, which I was excited about. I figured that meant they would play large parts in the book. Incorrect. They are simply pushed to the side in favour of the romance and revenge plot that is at play. Which could be good if the side characters got the chance to play with these plots. I really just feel as if they were pushed aside without good reason and it really frustrated me. I wanted so much more. And, with the ending of Reign of the Fallen, I’m worried I won’t get more.

Overall, Reign of the Fallen is definitely worth the hype for its originality and its excitement. There are some issues but I think I’m being a little nitpicky with the book. I would really recommend it to everyone because it is worth the read and you definitely won’t feel like you wasted your time when you finish.


Happy reading everyone!

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