Fantasy, magic, bisexual protagonists, and people coming back from the dead. If those things pique your interest, Reign of the Fallen might be the book for you. This highly anticipated book by Sarah Glenn Marsh sells itself as a book about necromancy and issues with raising in the dead with undertones of grief and addiction and an LGBTQ protagonist, and it pretty much gives you just that.
Reign of the Fallen is about a necromancer named Odessa who works to raise the dead in a land ruled by them that never changes, but then things start going really wrong with the dead and she has to try and save the world, basically. It felt like a typical fantasy plot to me but with a shakeup in the magical elements/job description of the protagonist.
I’m not a huge fan of fantasy books in general, but I heard good things about this book and wanted to give it a chance. It was a fine book overall. I wasn’t blown away, but I wasn’t disappointed per se. I haven’t read a lot of books that deal with necromancy/raising the dead in a non zombie/vampire way, so that was a really interest thing to read about, and I feel like Sarah Glenn Marsh did a good job of describing the rules of this necromancy art. However, there are a lot of different magics in this world apparently, and I didn’t feel like I could really get a sense for them. Another character we meet, Meredy, is a beast master and can kind of warg into her beat familiar, which is cool, but I’m still confused about how much magic is in this world and who has it and who doesn’t and why or if everyone has a gift of some sort.
The female characters in this book were really interesting and made me want to learn more about them. There’s Odessa, the protagonist and necromancer who of course is the best ever at what she does and the only one that can save us all, because this is fantasy trope 1.0. There’s Meredy, Odessa’s boyfriend’s sister and a beast master who controls a bear named Lysander. There’s Kasmira, a pirate-type smuggler with a lot of sass. There’s Valoria, the living princess who loves to invent things even if the dead fear change. However, I don’t feel like I really got to know Kasmira or Valoria at all and they became background characters. This was especially upsetting because Valoria seemed to integral to the plot at the beginning, I thought she was going to be Odessa’s love interest, and then she’s back at the end in a big way, but throughout the majority of the novel she seems to fade, despite her story being the most interesting to me.
While I found the plot of the novel interesting, I wish it had been longer because a lot of things happen almost too quickly. Every action scene seemed to be over in a hot second. She was in and out of the deadlands like it was nothing. A major character died so quickly in the beginning of the book that I didn’t even have time to really care about them. Same with a couple other characters that die. I could have liked them, if the book started earlier in the story and not on the day before everything goes wrong. Maybe a week before would have helped.
Overall, I don’t think this book will disappoint people who genuinely enjoy fantasy books, and I didn’t dislike it as someone who doesn’t love fantasy. The characters are interesting and the use of necromancy as the heart of the story was what kept my interest and kept me in to the story. That and waiting to see if Odessa was SERIOUSLY going to end up with THAT person. I won’t spoil anything here, but let’s talk about PROJECTING plz. It gave me the heebie-jeebies not because of the bisexual aspect but because of who the love interest WAS. But I digress.
Get Reign of the Fallen on sale January 23rd.
*I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review”