Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Published: January 23rd, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Ya
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?
*Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and Sarah for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
“Thought I’d lost you. Just for a moment, but that was enough for me to understand I never want to feel like that again.”
What have you done Sarah????? I had the pleasure of getting to know the author of Reign of the Fallen on twitter. So, naturally, I always feel a little apprehensive once I get to know an author. I worry about liking their book and if I don’t I don’t want them to see my harsh words. Thank God above that wasn’t the case here. Reign of the Fallen was every bit of amazing as I had hoped. My review is cryptic so no spoilers will happen lol just something I say might sound odd lol. This story was wonderfully diverse especially for an author who is not a POC. She did not hold back on bringing different skin colors and sexualities. Many of the main cast is brown and the main character is brown and bisexual. What I liked is the author didn’t explain these things as if it was all that mattered. She didn’t write it as “HEY LOOK I AM WRITING LGBT POC I AM BEING DIVERSE LOOK AT ME.” It just was what they were or who they were no big explanation needed. I loved that. I also loved all the characters and how invested the author made me right away. I wasn’t expecting to fall so fast and I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotion that would come with her writing. I should have probably been hyper-aware of a story titled Reign of the Fallen and a skull on the cover to have death but no lo and behold my dumb self was shocked and emotional lol. All because an author did her job exceptionally well by surprising me every turn and literally having my heart beating so fast and biting my hand and pulling my hair.
I also loved how right in the beginning the author gave a mini paragraph on what’s been happening in Karthia, what Shades are and about the five faced god who has one side dark. Honestly, people, everything about this debut is done right beside the author not caring for your feelings and wanting to cause you pain about certain characters (yes Sarah I am speaking to you about you know what missy it starts with an E and ends with ander.) READ IT, BUY IT, REVIEW IT AND RAVE ABOUT IT!!!!
This is every fantasy lovers dream we have kings and queens, mad kings, lies, betrayal, necromancers, magic, pirates, unconventional princesses, gods, parties, death, and a whole lot more. Every page was a whirlwind of fantasy dreams. The story follows Odessa who is a Master Necromancer along with a few friends Evander, Jax, Simeon, and more but it is only her POV. She is freshly graduated and already has a name for herself for being the best at what she does “The Sparrow.” Karthia is a kingdom where the dead rule. They are killed over and over just to be with their people. But as with every story comes a conflict if one of the dead is seen under their shrouds they turn into a Shade. A hideous monster that eats all in its wake. Members of the royal family start to go missing and Shades are starting to come out of the deadlands all on their own. The Master Necromancers must find out what is happening before Karthia is lost to these monsters.
But something goes horribly wrong and breaks Odessa’s soul and very being (mine to tbh). I can’t say what BUT OMG DO I WANT TO. Death affects all in Karthia and I really loved how the author expresses this in so many different ways through a few people. The plot twists and how everything unfolded literally had me gripping my hair and hold my heart. I really just love how every detail mattered in this story and plot.
2) Writing/World Building
“Odessa. Sparrow. I’ve met a few people who couldn’t handle you, but never the other way around.”
Karthia is a world of power and different types of mages. In a fantasy, the world building is so important because I need to see the place I have to visualize it as a real world. Sarah does just that. Everything was vivid especially the deadlands. Karthia is a place kind of stuck. It never moves forward with trends, with medicine, fashion music, dance, rulers, architectural, etc. With the face of change stuck Karthia is ruled by plagues and stuck in time almost but not things move forward but no change happens.
Sarah has a stellar writing ability to make something like this believable and real to the readers. I love how she wrote Odessa’s voice it was very distinct and true to the character. I can only imagine how much better her writing will get.
“We’re stronger together. I could never walk away…I’m not going on a boat without you. Not tomorrow, not in a year. We don’t get forever”
As I mentioned we got a really nice diverse cast of people. Odessa was such a strong and flawed protagonist. She was so real and believable because all her actions made so much sense to me. She was broken and had to find her self again. But, the side characters were just as awesome and real as Odessa. Evander is her partner and love of her life. His love and belief in Odessa was just something that made my heart ache for obvious reasons to people who read the book. Jaz was hilarious. Simeon is adorable as is Danial. Valoria is unconventional for a princess and a smart inventor. Merdey brings the brightness of something new (can’t say more because spoilers just know she is important.) I think one of my favorite things about this is seeing the real human actions and emotions of the characters. The flaws, the longing, the desperation, the need etc it is all raw and real things that people have. The friendships in this book are also so important. Everyone is literally there for the other person especially Odessa. They all care so much about her mental and physical health. The whole thing with Jax is important also because what happens is true to what happens to two people who are close to someone and need a distraction from the pain. I just love how Sarah captures these raw emotions and translates them into these amazing characters who I will protect so no more harm comes to them even if I can’t save them all (SARAH LOOKS AT YOU BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT.)
I don’t want to say much due to spoilers just know this aspect doesn’t take over the plot and is integrated so beautifully into the story. It will make you ache, you will be broken, you will feel loss and sadness but, somewhere along the way you will rebuild and find that hope for a better a future. I think the author did such a wonderful job with this and my heart is just filled with sadness but joy because Odessa just deserves happiness. And even if something was taken it is found in something similar to the old thing to always have with her in her heart as she discovers new hope in it. Yes, that was cryptic so no spoilers come out lol.
So, what is the final verdict? This book is everything and you have to read it no questions asked. This 5/5 gem must be read and screamed from the mountaintops.