Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
or: Why. Just Why.
Synopsis: 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
I tell you what bugs me about a lot of books? When the universe that the author has created is rich, complex, and such a good concept that it forcibly grabs you by the hand and drags you along with it, but the main characters and the execution of the plot is so poor that you weep tears of missed opportunity the whole way.
Why, Sarah. Just why?
I was so ready for this book. I read an article online late last year about cool books coming out in the beginning of 2018. Heard the concept, loved it, and decided to read it on my Holiday to Fiji.
After finishing a really lovely book (shout out to ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Sandhya Menon), I was ready to dive straight into this book.
At first I was confused; “Hang on,” I thought to myself, sitting by the pool with a whiskey and coke in one hand as I sat under the shade of an umbrella, “this seems strange.” As the world was built, I kept waiting for the characters to improve. They didn’t. If anything, they regressed.
I was ready to get behind one of the characters when she was introduced (it’s a spoiler, I won’t reveal her name), but she never really got a chance to develop. She was so 2D and became just as painful as the rest.
The hero, Odessa is a MASSIVE Mary Sue (one of the worst I’ve encountered in a while). All the male characters were Gary Stus. Everyone had a “tragic” back story, and everyone was depressed.
The most annoying thing is, the world was good.
I desperately want to yank the story from Glenn Marsh’s hands, wipe away the plot (which had horrific pacing issues and so many plot holes, it made an asteroid look like a smooth ball) and all the characters, and give it to another author to make a plot and characters worth while. I think if Richelle Mead, or Maria V Snyder, or even Charlaine Harris, had a go at this, I think it would be a vastly improved story.
The story in that way, doesn’t seem to match. It’s almost like someone else created the world for Glenn Marsh, and then gave her the world to write her angsty teen romance in.
What a train wreck.
Originally, I was generous, and gave the book 2.5 stars. But I now definitely revise it to 2. Opinions seem to be mixed on goodreads, but you do find the odd person like me who is severely disappointed.
I just can’t get over the feeling of being duped by this book.
Some other issues I have with this book are as follows; the ending was so rushed it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, the book squandered a chance to create some LGBTQ+ representation (the arising relationship felt toxic and not genuine), cool concepts such as animal companions and other magicks were rushed and wasted on a poor story. And the chance to go further into the world? Nope. Non-existent.
If a second book comes out, which there seems to be one in the pipelines, I’m staying clear away with a ten foot pole.