Reign of the Fallen: Review
There is so much hype around Reign of the Fallen and that could be a good thing or a bad thing. In this case, it was all incredible and I'm so excited to share my review of this 2018 release below!
*Note: I received an advanced reader's copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it's Odessa's job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised--the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.
A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa's necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer's magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?
This book has everything you could ever want in a modern monster-slaying fantasy:
- ZOMBIES ZOMBIES ZOMBIES and a really unique take on how the living interacts with the idea of death and the dead.
- Kickbutt action and extremely strong female characters that don't have to prove their abilities to anyone.
- Queer and inclusive representation EVERYWHERE. What an incredible world!
- A solid plot with a conflict.
- A book that, while there will be a sequel, is strong enough to stand on its own.
I was pretty amazed by how original this story felt to me. The characters were all exceptionally well-fleshed out, particularly the main character, Odessa. Known as the "Sparrow," for her uncanny ability to navigate the Deadlands as one of the kingdom's only necromancers, she wields incredible social power and of course, physical ability since she must be able to battle any Shades she might encounter. Odessa experiences a roller coaster of emotions throughout this book and we are right there with her. The way she grapples with death and depression is made as realistic as possible and opens us up to exploring her relationships with her friends. The support system that Odessa has is built up in such a sweet and vulnerable way that I could really appreciate.
The one star that I'm docking is for the writing. While it's not bad at all, there were some parts that made me raise my eyebrows a little bit. There were minor passages where the word choices weren't at their best, or the language used by the characters weren't consistent. In those passages, Reign of the Fallen read a bit juvenile- and I dislike using this word because the themes explored in this book is anything but. At the end of the day, this was pretty minor and easy to overlook in favor of the fast-moving plot and dynamic character development.