Publisher's Note:  

Without the dead, she'd be no one.

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 soul from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised: the Dead must remain shrouded. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, a grotesque transformation begins, turning the Dead into terrifying, bloodthirsty Shades.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears around the kingdom. Soon, a crushing loss of one of her closest companions leaves Odessa shattered, and reveals a disturbing conspiracy in Karthia: Someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is forced to contemplate a terrifying question: What if her magic is the weapon that brings the kingdom to its knees? 

Fighting alongside her fellow mages--and a powerful girl as enthralling as she is infuriating--Odessa must untangle the gruesome plot to destroy Karthia before the Shades take everything she loves.

Perfect for fans of Three Dark Crowns and Red Queen, Reign of the Fallen is a gutsy, unpredictable read with a surprising and breathtaking LGBT romance at its core.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Razorbill

Reign of the Fallen

by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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Overall Review:  

Reign of the Fallen is the second book by Sarah Glenn Marsh and is a fantasy genre lovers’ dream.

This story has a relatively novel theme.  In a kingdom, various members of the population have special abilities:  to bring people back from the dead, control animals, or control weather.  This story centers on Odessa, also known as Sparrow, one of the necromancers with the ability to bring people back from the dead.  What she brings back isn’t fully human, however.  They are corpses who function as the living, but must remain entirely covered at all times or they become zombie-like ravenous creatures, known as Shades, who kill and pillage.

When her partner is killed, Odessa downward spirals to the point of almost complete self-destruction.  Then Meredy, a beast master and sister of her partner, enters the picture and brings Odessa back to life and assists her in thwarting a plan to take over the kingdom from its un-dead king who has ruled for centuries.

Reign is filled with action and adventure as well as romance both heterosexual and homosexual.  Love interests change throughout the book as do alliances.  The action keeps the book and storyline moving brusquely along and the reading level is on the easier side.  Unlike many fantasy books, the abilities, characters and deities in this novel are easy to follow, making it a good choice for those who are just foraying into the genre or who have difficulty following complex environments and fantasy elements.

The conclusion of the book does wrap nicely, but also would lend itself to sequels, so it remains to be seen if this will be a solitary novel or the start of a new series.  Overall a good read for older young adult readers.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  11 mild obscenities, 2 derogatory names, 1 scatological term, 1 anatomical term; 1 f-word derivative.

Violence and Gore:  Woman breaks man’s wrists; woman stabs man killing him; woman kills un-dead with sword; man climbs for netherworld portal with spilled guts and mangled flesh; swinging braid slaps man in face; both deep and shallow self-inflicted wounds three times; corpse in netherworld drinks from pool of blood; recounting of the un-dead being killed by fire; reference to man beating wife; un-dead knocks down person resulting in death twice; 2 page scene where woman falls into fire with un-dead resulting in severe burns and death of un-dead being; bloody knuckles and fingers; 2 page fight with un-dead where fist is thrust thru chest, arms ripped off and copious amounts of blood resulting in death of man; man repeatedly punches holes in wall; bottle thrown against wall smashing; woman attacks and wounds peacock during hallucination; 2 page scene of woman fighting un-dead and burning un-dead with fire; magical bear roars and gets dangerously close to woman; female lies on ground with numerous stab wounds; 2 page sword battle with depictions of bloody injuries and bear ripping apart corpse; woman trips and falls over chains she is bound in; report of eight people being killed; punch to wall right next to another’s face; 4 page sword battle resulting in numerous bloody wounds and burning of the un-dead; women accidentally bang heads twice; 9 page battle with spraying blood, death, torture via twisting of blade and bear eating people; short frightening depiction of corpse turning into un-dead creature; woman blinded when poison is poured in eyes; report of guard being stabbed; bear kills multiple guards; guard stabs woman in leg pining to ground.

Sex and Nudity:  Stated implication that man and woman were off to have sex; admiration of man’s butt; reference to “fooling around”; introductions of same sex couples (girlfriend/boyfriend); arm around another’s shoulders; couple spoons in bed with clothing on; 2 instances of hands around waist; 2 instances of caressing another’s face; 7 kisses and 4 instances of hand-holding both between opposite sex and same sex couples.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Social conflict, death, homelessness, spouse abuse, murder.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Drinking of wine; character becomes addicted to mind-numbing potion.

Reviewed By Beckie
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