Friday, January 5, 2018

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh


Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

First book in the Reign of the Fallen series

3 stars

Odessa is a master necromancer for the kingdom of Karthia. She is tasked alongside her partner and lover, Evander, with bringing back King Wylding- the dead king who has rule Karthia continuously. He is killed and brought by to life countless times to continue his reign. His soul is in the Deadlands and it must be brought back, but there is a price to be a soul outside of the Deadlands. The souls risk becoming Shades- monstrous creatures who feed off life. Shade attacks are rising at an alarming rate and someone is conspiring to raise Shades intentionally. Will Odessa’s skill as a necromancer be enough to save Karthia? Meh. I thought I was going to love this one. It has a promising premise and it sounds super awesome, but in all honesty, Reign of the Fallen is boring. It is lackluster in plot, description, and character development. I could not be bothered to really care what was happening to the characters because I did not care about what would happen. The stakes were high, but the character development was so lacking that the high stakes didn’t make for an unputdownable read. For instance, the world building, especially the descriptions of the Deadlands, were lacking in fullness. It felt as though the reader should already be familiar with this conceptual world and should know exactly what Marsh was describing. This caused Reign of the Fallen to read more like a sequel than the starting book in a series. I will give Marsh one thing: she is not afraid to kill off characters. This is only book one and very integral characters were killed off. It made the plot a little wonky, to be honest, but it also made me respect how ballsy Marsh is as an author. She is not afraid to take risks and chances with her characters. It’s very admirable. The downside is that the characters are so lackluster that I did not care what their fates were. However, Marsh’s strong suit is battle scenes. The battle scenes start out early and are very strong. It made for very thrilling chapters, but it quickly became boring when they weren’t fighting.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 3

The main female character is Odessa. I honestly don’t have much to say about Odessa. I thought her character development left much to be desired. At times I liked her and at others it felt as if she wasn’t really a character, but a grieving or killing machine. There was no in between. Either Odessa was wracked with grief or she was seeking vengeance and wanted to kill everything in her path. It wasn’t effective.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 2.5

Reign of the Fallen has incredibly diverse characters. Odessa is bisexual. Her two male friends are in a very healthy strong relationship. Meredy, an eventual love interest, is lesbian. There is a lot of representation in this fantasy novel, which is great because fantasy is not as diverse as one would think, but it is getting there.

SPOILERS ABOUND So, Odessa’s first relationship is with Evander. They have been together for a very long time and have a strong passionate relationship. Evander is killed in the Deadlands by a Shade relatively early on and it causes Odessa to experience a lot of grief and pain. This leads to making a lot of misguided and uncomfortable romantic decisions that made me feel a little icky. First problem: Odessa starts a friends with benefits relationship with Jax, Evander’s best friend, to help fill the void of Evander’s death. It doesn’t take long for this to occur and it made me really uncomfortable because it is one of my least favorite tropes when characters hook up to cope with grief or heartache. It is not effective and it actually causes more damage than healing. So, that left a sour taste in my mouth. Then, Odessa falls into instalove with Evander’s sister, Meredy. Talk about awkward. My biggest problem with this is best described by this quote,
“Not after we’ve finally started talking about Evander, sharing memories to keep him with us. Not after… well, everything she’s become to me.”
It’s just too much. If Meredy was anyone else in the court it wouldn’t be awkward, but it’s her dead lover’s sister. It’s just so uncomfortable and every time I would get over it and start to think their relationship was cute, she would mention Meredy and Evander looking similar and I felt creeped out again. It made me wonder if Odessa actually has feelings for Meredy or if she is trying to recapture Evander by being in a relationship with someone so similar to him.

So, yeah. That was the biggest problem I had with this novel. The love interests were just… odd. However, Valoria was a really cool character and I really enjoyed her friendship with Odessa. I just wanted to see more of their friendship outside of the little bit we did.

Character Scale: 2.5

I do think a lot of people will love and adore the Reign of the Fallen. I just wasn’t one of them. The good news is that it ends like a standalone novel and I don’t feel like have to pick up the sequel, which is nice because I don’t think I will. I have a feeling this will be a favorite for a lot of fantasy fans and I look forward to seeing everyone’s excitement over this novel once it’s released.

Plotastic Scale: 3.25

Cover Thoughts: I LOVE this cover. It’s fabulous.

Thank you, Razorbill/ Penguin for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Reign of the Fallen? Do you plan on picking it up once it's released? What are some LGBTQ+ fantasy novels that you recommend? Let me know down below in the comments!

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