Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of Reign of the Fallen for free through Netgalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Possible spoilers ahead!
Title: Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen #1)
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Publication date: January 23, 2018
Average rating: 3.92/5 stars
My rating: 4/5 stars
“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?”
Reign of the Fallen and I had a rocky beginning. I’d requested an ARC of this book in the middle of the night when looking for something new to read and then promptly forgot about it until I received the e-mail notifying me my request was accepted. I went into the book not sure if it was really going to be my kind of thing. The writing style was a little over the top for my tastes and I wasn’t all that into the main character and her [first] love interest. However, all of the reviews I’d read were positive, so I kept reading.
Vaia, am I glad I did!
The writing style I wasn’t sold on at the beginning ended up being my favourite feature of the book by the time I reached the end. And the main character, Odessa (A.K.A. Sparrow)? The character development! Oh, the character development. It felt like I was growing as a person with her; fighting Shades with her. I’ve found it difficult to make that sort of connection with characters in books these days, but by the end of Reign of the Fallen I found myself crying with every loss and every triumph, the author wrote those events so wonderfully.
At first, I couldn’t understand why the author chose to kill off Evander. I thought surely it was going to be one of those stories where the protagonist’s lover dies and the remainder of the book would be tracking down their killer in a blind rage. To be fair, that’s kind of what happened, but it was also so much more than that… I judged Reign of the Fallen too soon and I urge you not to make the same mistake because I almost put this book down for good without knowing what I would’ve been missing.
You must be wondering why I didn’t give “Reign of the Fallen” five stars instead of four if I loved it so much. Well, like I briefly mentioned earlier, I found it hard to connect with the characters at the start. The way the story began, it felt more like a sequel than the first book in the series. Like I was supposed to already have met the characters and be familiar with the world they lived in. Maybe it was too much too fast? I also found myself skimming over some parts because I simply didn’t care enough about the King’s raising and the little gathering that followed.
However, a little under halfway through Reign of the Fallen, it started getting juicy and I was all about it from then on.
Do I recommend this book? Yes.
Will I be reading the sequel? It’s highly likely!