book review, young adult

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (Review)

Title: Reign of the Fallen
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Random House)
Date published: January 23, 2018

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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?

– My Review –

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I love the aesthetic, and skull illustration of and on this cover, and could look at it for hours at a time. It’s beautiful, and morbid, and goes so well with the synopsis, that it makes me want to squeal! The synopsis also really drew me in, because I really like fantasy books containing dark elements, such as necromancers and/or other dark magics. I was inevitably drawn to Reign of the Fallen, and was incredibly happy when I was sent a copy for review.

When I picked it up, I had only meant to read one chapter, just to get a feel for how it was written, before I planned to go to bed. But before I knew it, I had gotten to the end of chapter 6. I don’t know what happened! I was just hooked. I love the world, the magic system, the characters, the writing style, and the tone of the narrator (Odessa, a strong woman, and badass necromancer). I think that it was also great that this book takes us right into the action. The world-building still happens, and we are still learning about the world, but we also get  a taste for just how gruesome some parts of this book would be (which is great for me, because I love that sort of thing in my books and movies). I think that the violence was well-written, and there was also a good amount of balance between violent scenes, and scenes more dedicated to plot and world-building.

The second time that I picked this book up, judging from how I couldn’t put the book down the last time, I though that I would likely get to about 3/4 of the book before bedtime. But that didn’t happen, because something happened in Reign of the Fallen, which I did not expect. I became quite upset, and did not end up reading quite as much as I had hoped to. The next day, I couldn’t pick the book up until close to bed time again, and when I did, I really struggled reading, because I was pushing myself to read and see what happens next. I cannot say too much without spoiling the plot, but I will say that the thing that happened which I am referring to, created a lot of flaws in the story for me. It had a ripple effect, that sadly disturbed other parts of the stories, and flawed what would have otherwise been a solid, and very enjoyable story for me. I think that the thing that happened was completely unnecessary, and that the story would have been much more solid, and enjoyable for me without it. That being said, I understand why it’s in there, and I know what the author was intending to do. But even knowing this, did not salvage things for me.

I really really wanted to love Reign of the Fallen, and am still quite upset over the fact that I didn’t (days after reading the last page). Overall, I will still recommend this book to others though, because there are elements in this book that I really liked, such as the writing style, and things that I also loved, like the world building, and dark elements. I really really liked the world, and the blood and gore. A lot. I also think that it’s great that this book was written by a bisexual rep, and contains characters with a variety of different sexual orientations/preferences. I also know that many readers absolutely loved this book. So, please, don’t let my experience influence you negatively, and definitely still give it a try! I will also, likely, be reading the sequel.

– The Author –


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!

– Purchase Links –

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12 thoughts on “Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (Review)

  1. You had me there for a second Flavia, I thought you were going to say you couldn’t put it down lol. I knew you were really looking forward to this one so I’m bummed for you. I’ve seen a few mixed reviews & but surprisingly I’m still intrigued cause I can’t resist a book with both Necromancy and positive rep. You already know I’ll be in your DM’s once I do get to it haha! Great review, I’m glad you were still able to find some parts you enjoyed 🙂

    1. I’m sorry Lilly! And I hope that my review doesn’t influence the way that you read it when you do. Also YES looking forward to those DMs! Hehe. Thanks for reading my review! <3

      1. That’s ok, I enjoy reading a mix of reviews & you didn’t persuade me not to pick it up. I was just having this convo with another blogger. This is the year I p/u those reads that perhaps didn’t get all the love just to see if I feel differently. The fact that you’d still be willing to continue on with the next book in this series is a good thing 🙂

        1. Okay! And that’s a good approach 🙂 I’m always curious to see if I’ll like books that others liked a little less, hehe. And yeah I’m curious to see where the story will go, and like I said in the review, I did really love the world and magic 🙂

  2. Thanks for the honest review. I hate when one negative thing overshadows everything else, even if there’s a lot to love, but I totally get it. Definitely still plan to read it, because it sounds like there’s a lot of good still though.

    1. I always strive to be as honest as possible! And oh my gosh me too! I tried so hard to get over it too, and just enjoy the book. But…yeah. And I’m glad that you will still be reading it! I’m curious to see what you think 🙂

  3. I’m hoping to read this soon and, to be honest, its mixed reviews like yours that have me most intrigued! I totally understand how one event or detail can upend a great read, and how those speed bumps might not even exist for other readers. So I’m sorry it was a bit of a disappointment and I hope your next read is more of a success 🙂

    1. That’s really interesting! And I have to say that mixed reviews intrigue me too 🙂 And it’s okay, there were still parts that I enjoyed. Thanks for reading my post, and I hope that you enjoy the book!

  4. Aw I’m sad to see it was really good at the start and then later on it wasn’t as good. I recently got my hands on this book so I’ve been wanting to read it. I’m aiming to get to it next month. I’m interested to see how it goes.

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