Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Published by Razorbill on January 23rd 2018
Series: Reign of the Fallen #1
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ, Young Adult
Length: 384 pages Source: NetGalley
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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.
Reign of the Fallen will be released on January 23, 2018
Preorder using any of the links below.