Review | REIGN OF THE FALLEN by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen, #1)Title: Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen #1)

Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh

Rating:  ★★★☆☆ (3.5 Stars)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: January 23, 2018

“Life will be hard and painful as long as I cling to it, but there’s beauty in it, too.”

I think I might have hyped this up too much. It was likely impossible for it to live up the the standard I set in my head after waiting for this book for months. That being said, I did still enjoy Reign of the Fallen. We follow master necromancer Odessa as she attempts to maintain the Deadlands and prevent the returned Dead from becoming monstrous Shades. As more Shades are being mysteriously created, Odessa must determine if her necromancer magic is a weapon the will destroy Karthia.

Things I Liked 
I really liked the worldbuilding that was established for Karthia and the different power sets. I love that eye color correlated with powers/abilities, loved learning about necromancers abilities like how they bring people back, I liked learning about the Deadlands.

I also really enjoyed the fear of progress that exists in Karthia. I felt like it totally made sense in light of the Dead ruling and the fear of the unknown. I thought it was really unique and I liked it a lot.

This story is really about grief, loss, and the different ways that we can deal with that pain. I loved that we got to see Odessa turn to substance abuse. I felt like it was not only really realistic, but respectful to her feelings while never being excused. I felt Odessa’s pain and mourning. It was visceral and easy to connect with.

Even though this is book one is a series it felt like it could stand on its own as well which I really appreciate. Reign of the Fallen is a full story on its own. There’s definitely more that can be explored and there’s more story to tell, but there was resolutions to problems. Nothing felt drawn out, if anything I found a few things to be a little rushed.

Things I Didn’t Like 
I didn’t really connect to any of the characters besides Odessa, so it made it really hard to get invested in the story for me. Jax was probably my second favorite, but I don’t feel like I know him at all. Master Cymbre, Simeon, Valoria, Kasmira, and Meredy all felt like there were distant from me. I know basically nothing about them, so I didn’t really care for them.

Like I said above, I found a few of the plot points to be rushed – especially given this isn’t a standalone. Relationships with new characters happen pretty instantaneously with little development on page, even established relationships aren’t show – we’re just told they exist and are supposed to take it as is. I really only liked one relationship in the story, but other than that I just didn’t really buy it – romantic or otherwise.

I felt like the story lacked tension for me. I honestly never really feared for certain character’s fates or the outcome of fights. I fell like the ending was obvious and expected. This could have been a combo issue of not really being invested in the characters as well. I’m sure if I cared more about the characters, this wouldn’t have bothered me.

Even with my complaints, I’m happy I read Reign of the Fallen and I’m looking forward to the sequel. I love that we get a story with so many characters on the LGBTQ+ spectrum and its normalized in the world, I loved the power-sets and the world of Karthia. I can’t wait to see how the story is expanded and the new threats Odessa and the others face in book 2!

6 thoughts on “Review | REIGN OF THE FALLEN by Sarah Glenn Marsh

  1. acquadimore says:

    Great review! I liked the characters, but I agree with you on the pacing – the ending felt rushed, and even if it hadn’t, many of the plot points were very predictable. I’m invested enough to read the sequel, but I hope it will take more risks than this book.

    Liked by 1 person

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