Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Posted January 18, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 15 Comments

Reign of the Fallen

Reign of the Fallen

by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Series: Reign of the Fallen #1
Publisher: Razorbill on January 23, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Magic, Mental Health, Necromancers
Target Age Group: New Adult

Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on 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?


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Razorbill in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book was an absolute delight.

For those who haven’t heard me squeeing and squirming about it for the last 6-8 months, Reign of the Fallen was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018.  I’m a sucker for a good necromancer story, and there just aren’t many of them.  Reign of the Fallen gave me everything I want in a fantasy world: hierarchies, necromancers, mages, pirates, non-traditional princesses… be still my beating heart, this book was friggin’ magnificent.

Odessa is a Master Necromancer.  She’s new to the trade, freshly graduated.  The story opens with the raising of their king.  See, in Karthia, the dead rule the kingdom.  No one could be older and wiser than the Eldest Grandfather and Eldest Grandmother, and nobody could love their people so much that they are willing to be killed and brought back over and over again.

The people of Karthia don’t know what happens to the dead if they remove their shrouds.  When members of the royal family begin to go missing and Shades stalk the land, it is up to the Master Necromancers to save Karthia, before all is lost.

What this book doesn’t tell you in the description is how raw and real Odessa is.  How amazingly flawed the characters are.  Sick of overconfident heroines who never ask for help and are succeeding beyond all odds?  Then you’ll love Odessa.  Odessa is broken to her core (and I won’t tell you why because SPOILERS).  In a land ruled by the dead, it is perfectly sensible that death affects so many of the characters so deeply.  I loved this aspect of the character and I wanted to hug Odessa.

But it’s not just Odessa that’s great.  With a couple small exceptions, I loved every single character in Reign of the Fallen.  They’re so well developed and passionate in different ways… each with their own quirks, strengths, and flaws.  I latched on to Kasmira immediately, as well as Meredy… you will love this cast, I promise.

As far as world building goes, Marsh is a genius.  Karthia feels like something feudal, but also like something that reached the industrial revolution and broke.  It’s a world stuck in time and ruled by plague.  Nothing is simple for the characters and the rules are strictly followed (I hate it when characters make bad decisions and there are no consequences?  Not true here).

I just… I’m blabbering, guys.

I really loved this book.  I was engrossed.  I couldn’t wait to get home and end my night reading it.  I can’t wait to get my preordered copy so I can actually hold it and stare at the beautiful cover.

Just add it to your TBR.  Preorder it.  Put a reserve in at your library.  This is a must-read for any fantasy fan, anyone with a love of good storytelling, and anyone who likes a strong but flawed protagonist.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

5 Star Rating


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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15 responses to “Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

    • Amber

      Haha, yeah, SGM is really down to earth and so excited to talk about her book on Twitter. I had loads of fun chatting back and forth with her when I did my tweet-along of this one. Also apparently she’s a huge fan of Fallout 4. 🙂

      Tell me what you think when you read it!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVED it. 😀

  1. Ahhhhhh I completely agree!! I loved this book! Have you read the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix?? I couldn’t help comparing the two while I was reading because of the whole necromancy thing. The pacing in Sabriel was so SLOW–this book felt like everything I wished Sabriel would be. I can’t wait to get my hands on an actual copy! YASSSSS!!! Already wanna reread it 😆

    Loretta @ The Laughing Listener recently posted: These Broken Stars: The DNF that Pulled Through
    • Amber

      I have read Abhorsen, but it’s been more than 10 years and I REALLY want to go back and reread it. I agree about the pacing. I also feel like I missed so many things in this book – it’s definitely a re-read one. Can’t wait ’til next week when my preorder copy comes. 😀

  2. Wow, that cover is simply gorgeous, isn’t it? And it’s been a long time since I’ve read a blurb for a fantasy that instantly made me go ‘WANT’, but this absolutely hit the nail on the head! I think this may be just be one of the few books I head straight to the bookstore for. Thanks for a great review!

    • Amber

      The cover is AMAZING. But don’t be fooled – it’s not a light, fluffy book. It is DARK and diverse and really excellent. I hope you like it!!!!

    • Amber

      Thank you! It’s really how I see it… the world building is so excellent. Honestly it most reminded me of video game worlds, but I couldn’t really pinpoint just one. 🙂

      I am SO SO SO glad you are loving this one! I really think it is so fantastic, and isn’t it wonderful when a book gets a bunch of hype BUT it totally deserves it? I’m so happy for SGM, I’m on board for book 2 for sure. 🙂

      • Yes, I could definitely see that!

        Oh man, I actually didn’t know this was a series starter when I first picked it up, and when I started loving it, I was like, “Damn, I’m going to want more of this!” So, I was SO EXCITED when I heard there would be more! <3

        • Amber

          I didn’t either! She just caaaaasually mentioned working on book two on Twitter at one point and I DIED. I’m so excited for the continuing adventures.

    • Amber

      Oh, yay! I’m so glad! I really enjoyed this one and was so excited for it (AM still so excited for it!!) I hope you read it and love it. <3 🙂