I’ve been hyped about this book for months – I think I joined the launch group way back in the late summer. Reign of the Fallen sounded like the book I really wanted to like – there were necromancers, there was magic, there was mystery. But the reality of it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. But here’s the thing – I didn’t hate it either. I’m going to see if I can unpack this book and my feelings about it in this review, but I can’t promise anything.
Reign of the Fallen can be summarized like this: a young necromancer must figure out who is creating undead beings before she loses everyone she loves. Karthia has been ruled by the dead for generations – blue-eyed Karthians can become necromancers, who travel to the deadlands to retrieve the souls of the dead and return them to their bodies. However, the flesh of the dead can’t see the light of day, because they’d turn into Shades (aka zombies who eat humans). Shades get bigger and stronger as they consume more human flesh, and there are huge shades attacking Karthia all of a sudden. Odessa (our main character) – aka Sparrow – and her necromancer friends must figure out what is happening to the dead and who is purposely killing all the necromancers who could solve the problem.
I feel like there was so much going on in this book, but that seems to cover the main plot. I think.
3 Things I Loved (plus a bonus!)
- The representation. There is gay, lesbian, and bisexual rep on the page in this book! There is also a dark-skinned protagonist! And mixed race relationships! The rep was one of the reasons I picked up this book in the first place.
- Evander. [spoilers ahead] OH MY HEART. Evander’s love for Odessa gutted me in the beginning of the book AND THEN HE GOES AND DIES BEFORE THE HALFWAY POINT??? What is this NONSENSE???
- Meredy. The only upside of Evander dying is that we get Meredy, his sister, returning to Karthia after completing her studies in a foreign land. Remember how I said I love a good grumpy love interest? IT APPLIES HERE. ❤
- The representation of addiction and grief. The other thing we get as a direct result of Evander’s death is the wonderful, realistic, heartbreaking example of how grief can lead to addiction. Odessa’s soul-crushing, bone-aching grief when Evander died hurt me on a level that I didn’t know I could even get to. THAT is why I didn’t DNF this book. Odessa was such a realistic character, and while she wasn’t perfect, she was written perfectly.
Ehhhh. Like I said, the rep was actually really good! I just wasn’t into it. Zombie stories really aren’t my thing, and the concept of necromancers kind of freaks me out. I think I need to accept (and project) that my ratings on necromancer and zombie books might not be representative of the reading world at large. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
This is a hard one for me to rate, because I know it’s just me. It’s not that this book was problematic, or that it was bad writing, or that I hated the characters. In fact, I liked the writing a lot, and I really enjoyed the characters, and I didn’t find this book problematic at all. I just didn’t really like it. It’s hard to explain! But anyway, I’m going to give Reign of the Fallen a controversial YELLOW rating because of personal opinions, but know that if you like zombies and necromancers, THIS IS YOUR WHEELHOUSE.
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh releases on January 23, 2018.
Thank you to the publisher and First to Read and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Sorry if I got a little too honest? I have a lot of feelings.
Have you read this one yet (or do you want to)? Let me know what you think!