Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
YA reimaginations of necromancy are perpetually foreseeable (whoa mouthful), the dead turn vicious or someone attempts to have a romance between the living and dead- it is all very stereotypical and I got tired of them by the time I was in high school. However, like every fashion trend from the 90’s, necromancy, faeries, and vampires tend to make a comeback every couple of years. So, I decided to give it another go and I am glad that I did! Sarah Glenn Marsh was able to give me a story that actually surprised me! It had all of the goodies: romance, mystery, a few tear jerkers, and the heart warming moments even made an appearance!
“-because I never meant to fall for someone so in love with the unknown that it would threaten to take me away from the things that make me the Sparrow and the job it took seven years to learn.”
Odessa, our main heroine, has only two main priorities: do her job and do it well and her love for Evander. Evander, a wanderer and adventurer stuck in a place that has nothing left to explore, loves Odessa more than his curiosity. Unlike every other mage, necromancers only have one life to live so they better live it to the fullest.
A necromancer’s job is not an easy one, especially knowing that the price is that you will never have the chance to come back like the people you raise. It takes seven years of mastering the magic to walk in and out of the “Deadlands” and bringing the spirits of the dead back to the world of the living. Seven years of training to risk your life every single day in a land that wants you to stay. A land where you cannot eat it’s fruit, touch it’s water, and where you will be tempted by hallucinations to never return. With the land ever changing, if you do not know where to go, you may get lost and never return to the land of the living again. However, the latter is no problem to Odessa, the Sparrow. Given the nickname because she is the best navigator of the Deadlands- always being able to find her way home.
I appreciated the thrill of the unknown. It is no lie that many people crave the knowledge of what is on the other side of death; whether it be tall pearly gates or a never-ending void. The imaginative lands was interesting and I quite enjoyed the small details of danger lurking to those who are not meant to be there. Marsh was able to create a land that was equally mesmerizing and terrifying all at once. That feeling of the foreign and mysterious was what fueled the plot and kept my attention throughout the book. Well… that and the shocking romance that shook me.
Odessa and Evander’s relationship is one that I was willing to fight for, at first. The entire essence of their connection was extremely relatable. Unlike the partnerships you see on television or in other novels, this one actually had depth. They fought and irritated each other, but they also knew each other on a different plane which caused their connection to go deeper than just appearances. Growing up together and risking your life with each other almost every day in the Deadlands does that, I guess. However, with the rise in Shade attacks, it is not until a devastating loss of one of her own that sends Odessa into a spiraling depression and hell bent on revenge. The only ones to snap her out of her stupor, is her makeshift family, a newly found friend, and an aggravating but beautiful girl and her bear.
“As I run toward my new beginning in the harbor, the salty night wind combing my hair, I realize there are some changes I don’t regret.”
Odessa and Meredy’s journey to find themselves after two devastating losses was admirable. A smidgen of a surprise but something I fancied after for the duration of the story (I totally ship them). Sarah G. Marsh was excellent in making me seriously feel something for these characters, something I have not felt since reading the first Throne of Glass novel by Sarah J. Maas. I do so wish that the plot was more of a shock however…
The betrayal of a friend is never sought after, yet I would hope it would not be so obvious as it was in this book. It was that apparent detail that made the story lack for me. I apologize but there is not much more I could say about that without ruining the book. The characters were brilliant and genuine in existence but on the other hand, the plot lacked oomph (curls my fist.) The concepts and ideas were wonderful and the risky topics were a delightful rarity! However, I feel like they were not used to their potential. I was deeply underwhelmed after the build up to an incredibly fast ending. Will it be on my Top 10 of the year? Probably not, but I did enjoy it and look forward to see how this story continues in the sequel!
*Please note that this book does have scenes of substance abuse/addiction and where suicide is contemplated.*
Have you read this book? Did you like it? Please let me know in the comments! I would love to discuss this as well as other books with you! Also, this is my first book review and would LOVE any creative criticism that could help me along my book blogging journey! Thank you!