This book won me over all the way and sideways. Keep reading if you want a plot that will trick you with its cleverness, characters that are refreshing and diverse, and a world building with incredible thought put into it.
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?
What I loved most about Reign of the Fallen was our main character, Sparrow, who is on one hand, super talented at being her bad ass necromancer self, and also a bit selfish. Her personal growth was so amazing to witness because she has to learn to handle her grief and still find purpose. Seriously. It was so amazing to witness our main heroine who is both legendary, but also incredibly fallible and vulnerable. Here’s to humanity.
And diversity because not only is Sparrow bisexual, but most of the other characters are also queer. There’s a m/m relationship and f/f relationship too. Having read Reign of the Fallen for my first book completed in 2018 was a real breath of fresh air. The romances were soft and sweet and the female friendship at the heart of the second half of the book is what my dreams are made of.
But what hooked me forever was the thematic exploration of death/celebration of life. In the world, it’s a constant totally normal thing to keep bringing back dead people. And then they live, get a bit dangerous, kill them, and bring them back again. All necromancy books should be like this – seriously, I loved the premise. But it brings up all these questions about: how do we life our lives, what value do we put on life. And the exploration and opinions on this issue were so wonderful to read about.
Not to mention this book had non-stop action and politics and mystery and backstabbing. It was kind of stabby. But in the best way possible. I love the ending and the way it turned out as a whole, so this book is one gigantic win from me people.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from First to Read.
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