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I waited with great anticipation to get my hands on an early copy of this book, and somehow when ‘the time came’ for me to read it, I had three early copies in my lap. I was obviously meant to read it, and it definitely spoke to me, just from the cover and description. It was definitely worth the wait!
This isn’t just a story about a master necromancer called Odessa (aka Sparrow), it’s so much more. The author Sarah Glenn Marsh, has done an amazing job of world-building, one of a land called Karthia, so vivid, I could imagine it up on the big screen.
The story is filled with dark monsters called Shades, the shrouded dead who live among the living, and a monarchy that is looking more and more fragile as the book precedes. There’s also a lot of blood and gore as these dark monsters must be slain, so there’s plenty of action, and as a reader, we find out some people have special powers according to their eye color, bringing us a very fantastical and superhuman element as well.
But what this lavish fantasy is really about, is a tale about love, grief, friendship, life and death, and loyalties. I was taken by surprise at the levels of loss Sarah wrote about. My own experiences with grief made me deeply feel emotional at some parts of this novel, bringing me to tears, and the lead character struggles with addiction to cover up her grief. I want to appreciate this attention to what loss can do to someone, because this is a vital part of the novel.
There are also deep friendships and new loves (between same sex characters) that are written about in this book, and Sarah does it with such tenderness and with her beautiful writing, that it’s seamless to the plot but something that many readers have been waiting for. She shows how complex both can be, and describes the ‘newness’ of this for one of the characters, and it’s delightful to read. Loyalty and trust are key elements running through the story with respect to these relationships.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Reign of the Fallen’ and since I do know there’s another book to follow in its tracks, I’m pleased that this world and its characters will be back. I didn’t so much as ‘read’ this book, I ‘absorbed’ it; I really hope that everyone else will love it as much as I did. Savor this one!
*I also have a tiny character part where I die on a page in the second book, so I KNOW there’s another one!