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?
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh | Series: Reign of the Fallen | Format: Audiobook | Narrated by: Alex McKenna | Length: 12h, 53 min | Publish Date: January 23, 2018 | Genre: YA Fantasy, LGBTQ | Rated: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ | Recommend: HECK YES
“Your mother brought you into this world as a whole person,” the princess huffs, pulling so hard that I slide to the edge of the bed. “And last I checked, you still are one. No matter what or who you’ve lost. Now get”—she jerks on my arms—“up!”
This book was honestly one of my all time favorite books this year. I don’t think I’m being biased because I got to listen to the author’s live Q&A in one of my Facebook groups or anything like that at all. I hadn’t had a chance to read it by the time the Q&A happened and I thankfully forgot any spoilers that were sort of mentioned during the chat. Although I will say that Sarah did an amazing job at not spoiling anything for those of us that didn’t read it yet, so thank you for that! But after hearing her talk about it and seeing all of my book friends rave about the book, I knew that I had to read it.
So thank gosh I had the opportunity to do so when another book club that I’m running ended up choosing it for this month. Yay me! I jumped on this book so fast it was a miracle I didn’t stop going to work to read it all in one sitting. Honestly, I wish I could have, but I gotta make money to buy more books, ya know what I mean?
Fast forward to now, the aftermath of me finishing this book and staying up all night to finally find out what happened. I am so amazed. I think it’s possible that this book was even better than what everyone told me. They hyped me up so much, but by the time I finished it, I was even more hyped up, if that’s even possible! Odessa was such a great unreliable narrator, and I could feel for her throughout all of it. Going through such terrible loss and pain, and dealing with it by resorting to addiction was so relatable for me that I couldn’t help but love her. Meridy was also one of my all-time favorite characters. She was so commanding of her station of a Master Beast-Master, with her “pet” being a huge grizzly bear named Lysander. She could hold her own against Odessa. In fact, all of the women in this book could hold their own as characters and didn’t have to depend on any man to rescue them or weren’t merely love interests.
Speaking of love interests.
Can I just say that I love it when an author is able to incorporate so many different kinds of people into a book without it being problematic or “special”, if that makes sense? Odessa is bisexual – her first love is Evander and her second in the book is… well not Evander but also not a boy. I swear I think she was even checking out Valoria, our resident princess who I absolutely fell in love with, and I was down with that! I think even I was like “hmm yeah Valoria is pretty hot, I bet” but that’s beside the point. There are Simeon and Danial who are romantic partners and nobody gives them grief about it. The idea that people have to be wary about who they love because others will mistreat them is nowhere in this book and I absolutely appreciate Sarah for doing it this way. It’s how it’s supposed to be, and if the fictional world of Karthia can get behind this message, then the rest of the world needs to catch up.
Ugh, I just really loved this book. I already preordered the second one because I need to find out what’s going to happen next, and whether some characters will end up coming back. Necromancy has been given a new meaning with this book, and I love it so much. I just love it. Go read it, seriously. Best decision this month.
Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books.
She lives, writes, and paints things in Virginia, supported by her husband, four rescued greyhounds, three birds, and many fish.
If she could, she’d adopt ALL THE ANIMALS.
Oh, and she’d love to be your friend here on Goodreads, or over on Twitter