Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

reign of the fallen

Title: Reign of the Fallen

Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh

Date: 23rd January 2018

Publisher: Razorbill

I don’t think I have read a book this quickly in a very long time. The cover is what drew me in to start with. I remember coming across it on twitter and thinking ‘wow, that’s a cool cover. I wonder what it’s about?’ and as soon as I read the blurb I knew it would be something I’d like. And I was right. In fact, I loved Reign of the Fallen. It was emotional, it had action, twists and turns, and characters that I was rooting for.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s Necromancers, a master, and it’s her job to raise the dead. When the noblemen and women die, she goes into the Deadlands and retrieves their souls to bring them back. All the Dead have to remain shrouded, a price they are willing to pay. For if any of their skin is seen by the living they will turn into Shades, demonic creatures with a thirst for blood. Suddenly there are attacks from the Shades, killing the Dead and the living. When one of the Necromancers own dies, they realise that these attacks aren’t random and that someone is controlling the Shades. It is up to Odessa to figure out who is behind it and she wonders if her magic will be the thing to tear apart Karthia.

The world of Karthia felt so real as I was reading the descriptions. I could see, feel and taste the world before Odessa and it was amazing. Karthia was stuck in the past, clinging on to it, unwilling to change for fear of it and I could see the parallels to our own world. I loved the magic system of the world and how your eyes matched with your magical ability, all Necromancers having blue eyes, Beast Masters having green etc. I was trying to think of a book that was based on Necromancers and I couldn’t come up with anything, which made this book very different in my eyes. The Deadlands were as eerie, magical and dangerous as I imagined they would be.

Odessa was such a complex character and her grief spoke volumes in this book. It was heart breaking and I connected with her, feeling everything that she was going through. While she was weak at times, she was also a badass Necromancer with a sense of humour and she was strong when she needed to be, when others in her position would have fallen. She is also bisexual and it was interesting to see her romantic interactions with both males and females, and Marsh made it seem so natural, the way it should be in real life.

It wasn’t just Odessa that was representing bisexuality, there were other characters who were gay, both men and women, and it was lovely to see it being represented in such a normal and natural way. While I myself am straight, I can see why a lot of people who aren’t will enjoy this book and all the characters in it.

I would speak about some of the other characters but it could ruin the plot as not all of them stay with us throughout the book and honestly, so many unexpected things happened to them all. I was gasping out loud in shock, my mouth hanging open, unable to believe what I was reading. When a book can make me do that, I know I’m invested. There were so many diverse characters in Reign of the Fallen and they each had their own voice. It was interesting to see how they all dealt with loss in their own ways, because that is what this book is about. Loss, and how we can move on in a way that isn’t harmful to ourselves or others.

There are some incredible lines in this book and I just wanted to share my favourite one.

“The sun still rises and sets, like it always has. It seems cruel that it wouldn’t stop, just for a little while, to show how much darker the world is without them in it.”

This hit me hard, especially the context in which it is written. At the end of the day, we all feel like this at some point, whether you have lost a loved one, lost a friendship or relationship, or some other part of your life. But we all have to move on at some point and I loved how this was shown in Reign of the Fallen.

I could probably ramble on all day about how much I enjoyed this book, but you wouldn’t probably get bored. Overall, Reign of the Fallen was amazing, fast paced and enjoyable. It made me think about things more and it is more than deserving of the 4.5 stars I’m going to give it.


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