Reign of the Fallen sat on my shelf for over a year before I decided to pick it up. Thanks to the lovely ladies over at MTMC Tours, and the Twitter chats they host, I was eager to pick up Reign, especially after finding out its sequel, Song of the Dead, released last week. I didn’t know too much about this book when I bought it, just that it was a complete cover buy! I’m happy to announce it was an excellent decision, and I’m currently patting past-Nicole on the back. 🙂
Title: Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen #1)
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Release date: January 23, 2018
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Length: 375 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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?”
I cannot tell how much of a satisfying and enjoyable read this book was for me. I was hooked right from the first chapter, and it was an absolutely fun ride as the book progressed. Yes, there were some predictable parts, but I really enjoyed all of the characters, their heartbreaks and discoveries.
The concept for this book is incredibly neat. I feel like necromancers get a bad rap for being evil and up to no good, but Sarah really turns that trope around and makes them a people valuable to the kingdom. And gosh, the world-building! I loved how archaic it was, steeped in its old ways, run by the same king (though Dead) for the past 200 years! It all sounded so pleasant until you realize that it’s was just that… Stuck in its ways, and in desperate need of some good and vital change.
Following the main character, Odessa / Sparrow, was really gut-wrenching and heart-warming in all the places that it mattered. She experiences such profound grief after the death of someone she loved dearly, and the way the author managed to portray her sadness and addiction was done so well. I loved how Sparrow had friends who stuck by her side during this difficult time period, and everyone came out stronger for it in the end.
As for the predictable part… Well, even me, the self-proclaimed person who is horrible at guessing events in a book, knew who the perpetrator was about half-way through. I wanted to poke fun at Odessa for not seeing it herself, but the questions she asks herself later when she discovers the “bad guy” I found quite logical because of the way this person acted around her. They didn’t give her any room to question their motives.
The other characters were a joy to get to know, too. I loved all of them, and I’m excited to (hopefully) revisit them in Song of the Dead.