Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Reign of the Fallen #2

Song of the Dead

Rate this book
The Dead must stay buried.

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom's borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia's waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can't help being mesmerized by the new magic--and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria's mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won't be enough to save their fates.

In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published January 29, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sarah Glenn Marsh

20 books774 followers
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 http://twitter.com/SG_Marsh!

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
222 (26%)
4 stars
298 (35%)
3 stars
242 (28%)
2 stars
75 (8%)
1 star
8 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 163 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,167 reviews98.2k followers
February 28, 2019

ARC provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Reign of the Fallen ★★★★

“I’m Odessa of Grenwyr, and the dead answer to me.”

If you’re looking for a f/f relationship to swoon over, with ownvoices bisexuality representation, and story that focuses on found family and unconditional love within healthy friendships, in a book that also has the cutest little dragon companion and filled with undead and necromancers, then please look no further than Song of the Dead

Seriously, friends, I loved this with my entire heart and soul. This is the concluding novel in this duology, the first book being Reign of the Fallen, but I am still not ready to say goodbye. Sarah has crafted something so beautiful, so powerful, and so important, that I truly hope we get to see more of these characters in the future. Especially since most of them have already stolen pieces of my heart.

In this second installment, the kingdom of Karthia is in a very different place than we originally saw it in Reign of the Fallen. Without going into spoilers, there may be new royalty, there may be new laws, and there may be new dangers that are now completely risking everything these characters have done to keep their kingdom safe.

Our main character, Odessa, is traveling the uncharted waters, discovering places she never knew, while also discovering herself and relearning what is important to her. Odessa is also trying to chart her heart and her relationship with Meredy, when they are both grieving the same person, but very differently.

This series very much touches on grief and trauma and learning to live with those two things. And how those two things may never ever go away, and that’s okay, but how you need to learn how to live with them, and how to live with a loss that may feel like it is currently impossible to live without. This is truly such a beautiful depiction, and it really meant a lot to me.

“I could never outrun myself. Without the pin, without even my name, I’d still be a fighter. I’d still be a commander of the dead. I’d still be a girl too in love with life to commit to death, even when it’s calling to me more strongly than ever before.”

Besides the mental health representation, there are many different sexual representations (including the word aromantic on page!), there are also characters of color, and disability representation (main side character who uses a cane) that I think is very well done, but I do not have any physical disabilities, so my voice doesn’t really matter on the subject! But I also feel like this book talks heavily about how important it is to not be closed off from other cultures and how detrimental the reality of that really can be. (You know, coming from a citizen whose president believes a wall will solve all their problems.)

This entire story just has so much good in it! And it is so fast paced and completely enthralling. I could read a million more books about these characters, set all over this world that Sarah has created. Hell, I could read a million more set in the Deadlands alone. I feel like this story just has so many elements and I had such a smile on my face while consuming this entire book.

Overall, this duology just means so much to me and I would literally die for the happiness of the sapphic ship in this! But from the amazing characters, to the important themes, to the beautiful prose; Sarah and these books are just a gift to the world. I truly hope you all pick up Reign of the Fallen for yourselves, and I hope you fall just as hard as I did.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for addiction, talk of loss of a loved one, mention of a plague, and heavy grief depiction.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
March 25, 2020
I could never outrun myself. Without the pin, without even my name, I’d still be a fighter. I’d still be a commander of the dead. I’d still be a girl too in love with life to commit to death, even when it’s calling to me more strongly than ever before.

In short: Song of the Dead is a worthy, albeit sort of mixed-in-quality, sequel to 2018’s Reign of the Fallen.

There is a lot of good going on in this book. The writing is still good, with several lines that made me gasp just a little. The plot is entertaining and easy to follow. The discussion of addiction, grief, and trauma is wonderful, as I discussed in my review for book one. This series remains one of the best in shooting down heteronormativity in the YA canon, featuring a casually bisexual protagonist who gets a lot of development and narrative agency; it is also deeply sex-positive and handles elements of consent well.

I think one of my favorite parts of this book was the burgeoning romance between Odessa and Meredy, which was honestly a struggle point for me in book one: partially because I really struggle with the falling-in-love-with-your-ex’s-sibling trope, and possibly also because one of my biggest character shifts over the past year has been deciding I like romance in fiction. In this book, though, their intimacy, both emotionally and physically, is just so nice. (I took a photo on page 141 because they had just... such a cute scene.)

And I honestly cannot stress this enough: Sarah Glenn Marsh really is great at getting you invested in a wide array of characters. Seriously, this book is a fucking masterpiece of amazing character development for side characters. Valoria, Kasmira, Jax, Simon, Danial, and Karston all offer a lot of compelling moments and development; new animal sidekick Nipper, a baby dragon, is also an excellent addition. In fact, almost all of the many major plot arcs – Jax’s character development, Simeon’s job as a teacher and upcoming wedding to Danial, Kasmira’s repeated struggles in a new realm, Valoria’s new queendom, Karston’s coming into his powers, and perhaps most notably, Meredy’s grief and its effects – are really about side characters we’re invested in.

And this presents a problem. The majority of this book is about people around Meredy – she almost entirely stays uninvolved in the drive of the plot.

On one hand, it’s deeply impressive that Sarah Glenn Marsh has so much to say in regards to character development; Odessa’s struggle with addiction and grief was exactly what made the first book so compelling. But in a narrative with only one protagonist, Odessa’s self-realization in this book makes her feel more stagnant in this book than other characters. Please don’t get me wrong – we, as the audience, are deeply invested in her growth and her relationships. But here, Odessa doesn’t have the central character arc. It feels as if we’re seeing the book progress. I think the story would feel much more cohesive were these characters also protagonists rather than side characters.

I’ll give a few examples of good changes multi-pov could make:

—Valoria’s point of view would give us far more chance to see the political drama of this book, which occurs primarily in the periphery.
—Jax’s character arc feels as if it could be so much more heartrending in first point of view.
—There’s this excellent romantic scene around page 315 that takes place between two characters we’ve been invested in seperately since book one, and I just feel in my soul that this romance, in dual POV, would have both killed and revived me.
—Odessa and Meredy’s dynamic in dual pov?? Can you even imagine. We spend a lot of time not knowing where Meredy is at, but just IMAGINE seeing her conflict through first point of view here.
—Most of the good aspects stay quite stable: the main “twist” of the book is still an excellent twist, well set-up and paid off.

One minor issue is that this world just doesn’t quite feel realized. I get the politics of the realm, for the most part, but without almost any setting descriptors (they’re seriously lacking here) it’s often hard to get a mental picture of the world, and thus hard to get invested in the world’s wellbeing. This book demands I care for Karthia and I need more setting to do so.

Another issue is that the plot lacks some structure. A tragedy occurs around page 300 that feels like a climactic buildup and escalation, only it doesn’t feel as if tension has been built up very well in the preceding pages. This confused me at first, as tension does continuously scale. Then I noticed the problem: each chapter is attempting to be dramatic, focusing on a conflict (and often distinct ones, focusing on different characters) that is often resolved within the very same chapter. This is well-intentioned, but the short chapter length ruins the effect. The result, instead, is a book that feels just… somewhat disjointed.

It’s a mixed bag, but generally forgivable because this book is so chock-full of amazing ideas and discussions. I genuinely loved some of the character development and plot build here, and though I can’t pretend I don’t see the potential here for something even better, I would still recommend this duology as a character-development-filled, well-written series about grief, both cultural and personal.

Arc received from the publisher via Keplers for an honest review. [ releases: January 22 2019.]

Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
660 reviews3,882 followers
December 20, 2018
My Goodreads/Blog review will be put up closer to the release date as per the publishers arc preferences!

Some quick thoughts:
This was the perfect ending to this duology but I also think there's so much room for another book (or more!) and I SO hope that can be the case.
I love the characters so much, and the sapphic angst truly kept me going. I also appreciated the nuanced look at trauma and relationships throughout this duology

I think a lot of people are going to really love this !

Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,656 reviews5,133 followers
January 11, 2019
#1 Reign of the Fallen ★★★★★
#2 Song of the Dead ★★★★★

Karthia has changed, and the people are changing with it—for better and for worse. Odessa has set out on an oceanic journey with Meredy and Kasmira, but nothing can prepare them for the war they’ll find brewing over the open waters, or the destruction they’ll return home to when Valoria’s new queendom is threatened by the people her family has ruled over and protected. Can Karthia and her necromancers adapt to the changing times, or will they be destroyed?

I think we all know by now how much I adored Reign of the Fallen—I mean, two of my favorite things in the world are own-voice bi rep and necromancy—so I was beside myself over how freaking excited I was for the release of this sequel. And when I say “beside myself”, what I mean is that when the author asked if she could put me in her acknowledgements, and then offered me one of the first print ARCs she received, I literally cried. Both times. No shame. I adore this series and author so much. ANYWAYS, on to the review, right?

→ L I K E S :

“I’m Odessa of Grenwyr.” I tug both my daggers free of their sheaths, one for each hand. “And I bow to no man.”

I mean, I love everything about this, but most of all, I love the continuation of the world-building and the amazing crew of characters. Odessa was a badass in the first book, but now? She oozes strength and self-assurance. There were a few times where I literally was over here like the cheesy 90s kid I am, saying “you GO girl!” out loud. Again, no shame. There’s also Meredy, who is so flawed but incredibly lovable, and Kasmira, who I could spend chapters upon chapters with, and Valoria, and Jax, and Si, and Danial, and… ugh, my babies. 😭💗 I love them all so much.

I can’t get consumed by memories of him, losing everything and everyone else that I love. Never again.

You know what’s even better than great characters, though? Awesome animal sidekicks. I’ve made it pretty known that I was obsessed with Lysander, Meredy’s bear companion in the first book, but Song introduces a freaking baby dragon named Nipper who I lost my senses over at least once a chapter. I mean, she is WONDERFUL and she has these amazing little abilities and she’s literally the perfect necromancer sidekick and I want eight little Nippers of my own.

I could never outrun myself. Without the pin, without even my name, I’d still be a fighter. I’d still be a commander of the dead. I’d still be a girl too in love with life to commit to death, even when it’s calling to me more strongly than ever before.

Finally, the story here? Flawless. I mean, they could have gone grocery shopping and I’d still have loved it because I just love the characters so much, but the plot here is so suspenseful and perfectly closes up the first book while introducing a brand new conflict and set of obstacles. I couldn’t put it down and was constantly on the edge of my seat.


It’s safe to say I literally don’t have a single complaint about this gorgeous sequel, and would basically sign over my soul (if I had one) to get a third and fourth and eighth and twelfth book from this series. ♥ Sarah is a brilliant storyteller and, even if we never get to spend another few hundred pages with Odessa and her crew, I’ll still be delighted to see whatever Sarah comes up with next.


Everyone! If you enjoy fantasy stories, complex and flawed-but-wonderful characters, suspense, conflicts, necromancy, gorgeously normalized queer rep, and all-around incredible plots and characters, please pick yourself up a copy of Reign of the Fallen and Song of the Dead immediately!

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Sarah Glenn Marsh for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
509 reviews365 followers
February 6, 2019
“I’m Odessa of Grenwyr, and the dead answer to me.”

Wow! What a ride the Reign duology has been! I’m so happy to be back in the Karthia again and back with old and new characters. Lysander has a new friend, my life is complete.

First I have to say that this book holds a really special place in my heart because Sarah Glenn Marsh put me in the acknowledgements at the back of the book. I legit cried when she told me, it meant so much. Plus, Song of the Dead was released on my birthday and I can’t think of a better gift than having this beauty in my hands. Sarah is also one of the most lovely people I’ve ever met and is so supportive and kind to me. I have no words to express how much I love being able to give back and support her and her book career.

Song of the Dead picks RIGHT up where Reign of the Fallen left off, which I love. Odessa and Meredy have left Karthia and now find themselves in a new place(Sarrel) with some new characters. In Sarrel, they find that necromancers aren’t really welcome guests and Odessa has to be very careful what she reveals about herself and her past. They also discover quickly that this part of the world is being attacked by a clan known as the Ezorans and rumor has it they might just be heading for Karthia and the new crowned Queen, Valoria. With that news, Odessa and Meredy, cut their trip short to head back to help their good friend, but not before they pick up a spunky little apothecary named Azelie and a wee little dragon, Nipper on the way.

From there on, we basically see that the group has kind of fallen apart and so has Karthia. They are now are forbidden to raise the dead anymore and necromancers have become almost useless. Karthia is also not accepting their new queen Valoria and her new radical ideas. On top of that our favorite couple, Odessa and Meredy are struggling to figure out where their relationship stands – basically it’s a hot mess back home!

Don’t fret though, all the characters are basically back and have new struggles and successes. Valoria is busy trying to rule her new kingdom with a lot of pushback from the locals, Jax is drinking a little too much, Kasmira is leading her ship as always and we meet a new student who is a little on the sketchy side, Kartston. On a really great note, Danial and Simeon are getting married – yes we get a wedding! I just adore them as a couple – maybe as much as Meredy and Odessa. Of course, we can’t leave out my complete favorite – LYSANDER the bear! He is back and might just be making a new friend in a certain little talented and feisty dragon. This little friendship gives me total life and Nipper is such a welcome addition and has quite a few talents – I won’t give anything away though!

Song of the Dead takes a little to get started because you are catching up with all the characters and learning what is going on after everything that went down in Reign of the Fallen, but once it gets going – boy does it get intense. Like the first book, there is a lot of character development and complex world and magic systems. It’s written brilliantly. There is also quite a bit more violence and death in this one. The shit that goes down – let’s just say I was freaking out often by the end. People die, lots of people die – be prepared!

I think this is an amazing and intricate story and it’s really not a tropey read at all. It’s quite different from a lot of the other YA stories I’ve been seeing. I would highly recommend checking this out – I mean did I mention necromancers and beast masters?!?!? What are you waiting for then? Go check this duology out.

Thank you to Razorbill publishing for a physical advanced reader copy (ARC) of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for tappkalina.
650 reviews399 followers
August 22, 2022
7 January 2020
My copy just arrived! I'll definitely read it this month!

20 December 2019
Only 18 days left until the release of the copy I will buy to match my Reign of the Fallen copy and another week to hold it in my hands, but I'M SO EXCITED! I had to wait so much!
Please, let it be at least as good as the previous one!
Profile Image for Kat.
150 reviews217 followers
November 13, 2017
This was just as magical, dark, romantic, and gripping as book 1. You guys will love it.

Edit: I'm Sarah's critique partner, so I've been lucky enough to read her books before publication. :)
December 5, 2018
I loved Song of the Dead just as much as Reign of the Fallen.  There may be spoilers for book one in this review.

Warnings for addiction and violence.  

I really fell in love with the characters when reading Reign of the Fallen.  I was happy to see them back for book two and we got some new characters that I really liked, too.

Odessa is my favorite.   I love that she's so flawed, but she realizes it and tries so hard to get better.  She loves with her whole heart, plus she's a total badass.   In Song of the Dead, Odessa is still dealing with the loss of Evander, plus her addiction issues.  She may be done with the potion, but she still thinks about it.  Odessa is also trying to figure out her feelings for Meredy, while still loving Evander.   Valoria has forbidden the raising of the dead, so the necromancers feel a bit lost.  They do find out that they are still very much needed though.

"I'm Odessa of Grenwyr, and the dead answer to me."

The book starts out where book one left off.  Odessa and Meredy are on Kasmira's ship.  They go to a couple different places before hearing of issues with Valoria.  They do meet a girl, Azelie, and Odessa gets a pet dragon, Nipper.  Azelie is such a great addition to the group and I freaking love Nipper.  I would read a whole book just about her and the other dragons.  

When they hear that Valoria was attacked by a shade and that many of her own people are rebelling against her, Odessa, Meredy, and Kasmira head back to help.  Everyone is pretty upset with Odessa for leaving without saying goodbye.  Jax has been drinking a lot.  Danial and Simeon are planning a wedding.  Valoria has been creating new things that many people are against.  And there are new kids in a school working on their powers.  Karston is a new character that we see a lot of.  He is a lot like Jax and Odessa can't help but like him.  

There is a lot of action throughout the book.  The group wants to figure out who is trying to hurt Valoria while also preparing for boats from another land that are said to be hostile.  They are training to fight.  Odessa also bought this stone from a vendor that is said to let you speak to the dead.  She uses it and then shares with Meredy.  Meredy becomes addicted to it, which causes a lot of problems with their relationship.  There is also a lot of death.  Lysander is back and I love his interactions with Nipper.  There's just so much to love about this book and I don't want to ruin anything for anyone.

I gave this book 5 stars.  Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me a physical arc for review.  I already have my finished copy ordered and can't wait to see the beautiful, finished cover in person.

Profile Image for Diana.
1,737 reviews222 followers
January 20, 2020
Much as it pains me, because I loved the first one, this book wasn't as good. It isn't a bad book, we get to see what happens in Karthia under Valoria's reign, see the political unrest that comes when change is introduced to a society who never has experienced it, we also see other countries with Odessa and Meredith travels and there are new characters introduced. And a new threat manifests itself.
But I don't know why, towards the last half of the book I struggle as my interest wanes. It also happened the first time I read this one, it even was worse because I felt lile DNF'ing it because I had been reading the book expecting people turned spy/traitor (don't know why) and it somehow hindered my lecture. This second time I did enjoy the book more, but I didn't love it as I did the first one.
My rating is unsure between 2 or 3... if GR gave half stars may be it would be a 2.5★ As it is, I don't feel comfortable giving it 3 over 5 as it doesn't exactly pin down how I felt. Sadly, 2 over 5, then.
Profile Image for Athena of Velaris.
483 reviews129 followers
October 30, 2020
"I'm Odessa of Grenwyr." I tug both my daggers free of their sheets, one for each hand. "And I bow to no man."

3.5 stars for Song of the Dead. Following the same character as Reign of the Fallen, the second book picks up exactly after the first one left off. The plot starts out in one direction before looping around and going a completely new way. This new plot was predictable, and took about 100 pages to get into. I loved the group dynamic that was featured in this story. Odessa's relationships with those around her felt real, as did the way they interacted with each other. The world of Karthia also expanded, introducing readers to new nations and cultures, as well as an adorable dragon named Nipper. The grief Odessa suffered through in the first book continued to haunt her, even though she showed very little emotion when others around her died. The ending happened a little to easily for my taste, and Merdey (Odessa's love interest) dealt with her own issues way to effortlessly. Overall, I enjoyed this book, even if some parts were iffy.
Profile Image for Noha Badawi.
489 reviews492 followers
January 30, 2019
if you know what i mean.
I really loved how this started, the beginning was really promising.
Profile Image for Megan.
1,202 reviews71 followers
March 31, 2019
2.5 stars.

Ughhhhhhhhh, I really didn't enjoy this as much as I'd hoped to. It started off fine, but everything just felt slightly more... less? than they had in Reign of the Fallen. Everything just seemed like it had been scaled back another level, including the writing style, and the characters just felt a bit more immature and wishy-washy (to use the technical term). I was feeling pretty bored by the time we got to the halfway point, and I'm not going to lie, I did skim a little bit from then on in, just to spend less energy (and time) in getting to the end.

So, unfortunately, I don't have too much to say about this one. >.<


This cover is so damn beautiful
Profile Image for Katherine Moore.
167 reviews45 followers
January 21, 2019
This is the thrilling sequel to ‘Reign of the Fallen’, a novel that introduces us to Odessa, a necromancer in Karthia, where she has the special magical ability of raising the Dead. She is able to cross into the spirit world called the Deadlands, and she also is a fierce fighter; when monsters called Shades start kidnapping Dead nobility, Princess Valoria has Odessa and her fellow necromancers investigate (including Evander, someone who she loves deeply).
Odessa and her friends do all they can but it’s not enough to save someone she loves; a Shade rips apart and kills Evander, and Odessa turns to ‘potions’ to cope with her loss.

Without revealing ALL details of the book (because you need to be reading THAT NOW before you read ‘Song of The Dead’!), by the end of the novel we have Odessa leaving Karthia aboard The Paradise to pursue Evander’s dream of seeing unknown. So where will the sequel lead us?

With Karthia behind them, Odessa and Meredy are aboard Kasmira’s ship The Paradise, ready to discover new lands and bring word back to now-Queen Valoria about the new world. They discover a friendly land, Sarral, where people keep dragons, and the Dead only come out at night, and before they get a chance to get settled, news of unrest back in Karthia has them back on their ship sailing for home, their long trip cut short.
Instead of the threats of the past, open borders means the threat of foreign invaders, on top of political unrest, and Valoria is hoping that one of her mages can create a new weapon good enough to fight it all now that the Dead can’t help them win this battle.

While ‘Reign of the Fallen’ was filled with monstrous death and loss on account of the bloodthirsty Shades, giving the book a very dark tone, ‘Song of the Dead’ begins with a feeling of hope despite all that the Karthians have gone through.
The beginning ocean voyage initially made me feel as though Odessa and the crew were going to be gone long from the difficulties of their homeland, and I was worried that things had got too easy for them (!), but the adventure of this book, while quite a departure from ROTF, quickly takes off. The book actually goes through several different ‘phases’, with the ocean voyage, the time in Sarral, the return back to Karthia, and because of the vivid world-building, you will be easily carried through them, experiencing all the different chapters and introducing new characters along the way.

There is a lot of internal drama due to the political unrest in this book (the Karthians start to rise up against the changes that Valoria wants to make) as well as thanks to the new emotional ups and downs experienced by Odessa. The outside foreign threat and new civil crisis are a great juxtaposition, and I actually it think could be seen as a bit of a gamble when the first book was almost entirely about the Dead and then they barely appear in the plot of the second. I personally think the gamble works.

But the biggest twist of all comes late in the novel, and while Odessa is not having to fight Shades or something as gruesome, she finds herself fighting something harder and puts her life on the line to save everyone. I think this twist is especially clever, particularly with how it ties in with the first novel and how Odessa’s magic works.

At the heart of this exciting novel is the relationship between Odessa and Meredy, despite both of them reeling from the loss of Evander. Author Marsh, who champions LGBT romance, devote plenty of page time to the complicated ‘keep us guessing’ relationship between the two girls. Marsh also includes a number of other characters with relationships on the LGBT spectrum, and the representation feels positive and realistic and actually as though it’s quote/unquote ‘normal’ (whatever that is!). This is a breath of fresh air, because it just feels like it ‘fits’ and there isn’t a lot of posturing or trying too hard. Marsh just gets it.

I am fortunate, nay, blessed, to be immortalized in this book as Baroness Katerina (along with my cat), and then to be acknowledged at the end. I will be forever grateful to Sarah for this. I am also so very sad that my trip to the magical Karthia and the Deadlands is now over, but I enjoyed it enormously. I can’t wait for another bookish adventure at the hands of Sarah Glenn Marsh, and I hope many YA fantasy readers enjoy these two books as much as I have.

‘Song of The Dead’ is available from Penguin Teen on January 23rd, 2019!

*Warning: you will want a pink dragon after reading this book.
Profile Image for Beatrice in Bookland.
447 reviews838 followers
February 6, 2019
*I received a copy from the publishing house in exchange for an honest review*

1. Reign of the fallen ★★★☆☆

I love how in this society homosexuality is completely normal, Sorien and Danial are so cute.
I also like Odessa, the bisexual protagonist, Evander, Meredy and Valoria. They all have strengths and weaknesses and I like the fact that the author decided not to create all around perfect characters.
There are some boring parts and I did not understand some of the author’s choices (Odessa and Jax in the first book for example, their relationship was so weird) but if you’re into necromancers stories with a well written lgbt romance on the side, this duology is for you! 🙌🏼
Profile Image for Andy.
2,408 reviews190 followers
October 1, 2021

Will there be another???

I enjoyed this sequel so much! I loved the development it brought to Odessa and Meredy's relationship. I loved getting to see more of Valoria on the throne and being an amazing badass queen. I loved that Odessa gets a dragon as a pet! I really love the world Marsh has created here and how queer-normative it is. So glad I read this duology!!

Rep: pansexual female MC, sapphic love interest, disabled female side character who occasionally uses a cane, pansexual male side character, achillean male side character, gay male side character, BIPOC side characters, queer-normative world.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,718 reviews856 followers
August 16, 2019
#1) Reign of the Fallen ★★★½☆

Trigger warnings for .

Profile Image for Melissa (thereaderandthechef).
532 reviews166 followers
February 5, 2019
*This review can also be found on YA Books Central & The Reader and the Chef! Huge thanks to PRH for the review copy in exchange of my honest thoughts!*

If you loved Reign of the Fallen, you will LOVE Song of the Dead.

This book picks up right where Reign of the Fallen ends. Odessa is on board a ship to visit as many places as possible in honor of Evander, her former boyfriend and friend who died at the hands of a shade. Karthia now has a new ruler (the amazing Valoria who is an Inventor!), but the rest of the world still thinks that Karthia is closed off and that its former ruler still won’t allow his people to travel into the world.

Odessa soon finds out that traveling into foreign places may not be the easiest of experiences. Meeting new places and new people not only makes her aware how different things can be from Karthia, but also how prejudices might follow and challenge who and what she is.

The challenge they must face now is a group of people who are visiting these lands, destroying everything they find and taking away their most valuable possesion. Not to mention that Odessa and Meredy eventually must go back to Karthia, and face the wrath of their friends who they left behind without saying goodbye.

However, Odessa is such a fierce heroine and she plunges through it all. Her growth from book 1 to this book is noticeable, and despite her flaws, I really can say that she’s one of my favorites. But I must say that danger follows this girl around and it’s honestly quite hilarious, in the best possible way! Also, having Meredy (I love her too!) who is fierceless just like Odessa just makes them draw in danger like a magnet! And Nipper!!! Omg, what an awesome baby dragon! ♥

This book beautifully wrapped up an epic duology. Song of the Dead left me in a bittersweet state, but I would not change a single thing about it! It’s full of magic, adventure, DRAGONS, romance… and an expanding world which I would not object to exploring more. Do NOT pass on this duology, it’s so good!!
Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,142 reviews246 followers
March 4, 2019
So it actually pains me to say this but I liked Reign of the Fallen way more. All of the elements that made me love it were just gone from this book. I also was expecting more or a new problem that started in Reign but hadn't been solved...yet it seemed like just a rehash of Reign of to me. Also, I was really hoping to see a relationship with Meredy and Odessa which was sort of there but there was just so much relationship bickering drama and it felt like there was no chemistry between them anymore.

That aside, I loved the adventuring and visiting new places (though that did seem rushed). I loved getting to see our new Queen trying to balance and fight for change. Also, we got more Lysander so always a positive.

Unfortunately, I could tell it was heading down this "rehashing book one conflicts" path and my interest started to fall off.
Profile Image for Mia.
201 reviews48 followers
May 15, 2019
Rating: 4 stars

This book was actually what I needed right now. I loved it even more than Reign of the Fallen (somehow), the plot was so wild and unpredictable but intricately woven, and of course the characters shine through with their beautiful personalities more than ever before. ALSO NIPPER I’M OBSESSED. If you love necromancy, dragons, and lots of gay romance, this book is 100% for you! If you haven’t picked up this duology yet, you really need to!

Thanks to Penguin Teen for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carina Olsen.
785 reviews144 followers
January 28, 2019
I truly did try my hardest to enjoy this second book. But it was so impossible. And I have no idea where to begin with this review of mine. I have so many thoughts to share. Pretty much all of them will not be positive. Which I'm so sad about, but also cannot help since I really did not like this book. It bothered me so very much.

I will do my very best not to be too harsh in my review. Will never speak badly about the author, because I don't know her and she seems like an amazing person. I also do not mind that others will love this book. Everyone has different taste. But for me, this was a two star. Not a very positive one. Tried so very hard to like this.

I failed. But will begin by sharing what I did like about this book, before I start sharing all the things I did not. Which I may not be able to stop writing about. Oops. All my the words are stopping. Because I honestly cannot think of anything that I did like about this book. In the first book I enjoyed the writing a lot, and I loved the world, I loved the dead. Nothing was the same in this second book. The writing bothered me from start to finish. It felt different. The world was completely different too, somewhat. And the dead wasn't even there. Sigh. And I honestly do not know what I liked about this sequel. Still. It is a two star. Because I could have hated it more than I did. I could have hated every page of it. I almost did, but it wasn't fully that bad. I still managed to finish it.

I still enjoyed reading about this world. I still wanted to know more about the people living there and of all the places they lived in. I wanted to know more about all the magic in this world and all the creatures too. I did not get nearly enough of any of it, though. There are dragons. Except they are the size of dogs. And they bark like dogs. And behaves like cats. And are not one percent scary, sadly. And yeah. The dragons disappointed me. And that makes me sad too, haha. I thought that would be something I would love. Aw.

I have so much to share about this book. And most of it is not good. There will be some spoilers. Mostly about how I felt about certain things. Like the romance I did not ship for even a second. I also did not like that every single character had to fall in love with each other. Every one of the side characters. What. It was weird. Most of them are gay. I did like that, but it also got to be too much, with how every person in the book was in a relationship with someone. It just seemed so very weird to me. It did not make sense.

What I missed most about this second book was the dead. Getting to see how Odessa's magic worked. We do not get that in this book. And I missed it, because I liked it a lot in book one. Hmph. And there is barely any violence at all in this one. It was so disappointing. The characters are always going on and on about how they wish to kill certain people. Yet no one ever does that. No hurting. No nothing. Only death by others. And even that was boring. There was a plot, but it was beyond slow and so very boring. Sigh.

There were things about this book that I could have loved. But I did not. I really truly did not. I wanted to enjoy this one so very badly, but it truly was impossible. Everything just felt wrong to me. And it was sort of torture to finish reading it. But I did it. And I'm so glad to be finished with them both, haha. I wish I could say they were amazing. But they were not. Sigh. I know others will love everything that I hated about this book. And that is so okay. Different opinions are always good. But yes. I did not like this book at all. Sigh.

I have this whole list over things that annoyed me about how this book was written. And though it feels a little rude of me to write it all down, I also cannot not do it. I need to let all my thoughts and feelings about this book out, so that I may forget about it as soon as possible. In both books all the characters are pretty much always growling when they speak. It drove me insane. Odessa is always going on about feeling the breath of others spilling over their lips and whatever. And watching sweat. Was truly gross to read about.

I also tried my hardest to get used to the names in these books, but I never managed. Though they were all cute, almost every single one was just a small variation of a more used named, switched into a name I have never heard before. Was a little weird. And every character that was important was young. The best captain, nineteen. The young queen's guard, nineteen. He being a guard made no sense whatsoever. He was a healer. Not a soldier. They were all too young and it simply seemed weird. Old people existed too.

It was also weird how they all had nicknames for each other. I don't mind nicknames, but having everyone have one was weird. They were all always crying. For weirdest reasons. Always tears on their faces. Ugh. What bothered me a lot, though, was how Odessa met the queen again, her friend, and saw she had two girls close to her, and she kept calling them replacement friends. What even. As those two girls had been with her longer than Odessa had even known her. It was rude and childish and I truly hated her behavior.

But what bothered me more than anything in this book, was how Odessa had suddenly changed so. She never really thought about Evander. Her love of years that just died. She didn't grieve at all like she had in book one. She was suddenly just over it and laughing all the time and being more normal than ever. Was odd. She also buys a crystal that says she can talk to Evander again. She tries once. Hears his voice for a moment, then Meredy shows up, and instead she sleeps with her, and forgets all about Evander. Again.

That whole romance was a mess. And I will never get over it. She was with Evander for years. They were meant to be together. They were going to get married. They were in love. Then he died. It was mentioned that they had slept together often, but it was never on page. Never more than the quickest kiss. Yet with her romance with his sister, there are so many details about their nude scenes together. It bothered me beyond words. I could not stand them together. No spark, not for me. It was a mess. I didn't like it one bit.

It was not that the romance was girl and girl. I did not mind that at all. But I minded these two characters being together. They had no reason to be. None at all. Yet they are suddenly so much in love with each other and cannot live without the other and yuck. It was gross, to be honest. I guess many will love it. But I never saw their connection. Not for one second. And that hurts my heart. I wanted to love this romance. But I did not. It was too much in focus as well. And too much drama too, all of it beyond silly. Did not like.

I have shared too much about this book. Yet not nearly all of my thoughts. And yet I shared way too much as well. But I simply could not stop writing. This book bothered me beyond words. More than what I have shared. I tried so hard to like things about it. But I couldn't. There wasn't even the dead that I liked in book one. There was not any danger. Oh, except how they all are always one second away from death, yet are always healed right away, and none of them dies. Only all of the unimportant characters. How convenient.

I am forever thankful to PRH International for letting me take part in this blog tour, and for sending me a free ARC of Song of the Dead to read and review. I wish I could say I loved this one. But I really truly did not. However, I very much love the cover. It is so cute. Although this book was so not for me, not even a little bit, I do think you should all give it a try. To test this series for yourself, to see if it is for you. Because I do know many have loved these books. But I did not. I am sad about it, but yeah. They were not for me.


This review was first posted on my blog, Carina's Books, here: https://carinabooks.blogspot.com/2019...
Profile Image for Samantha Beard.
336 reviews15 followers
February 8, 2019
Jeepers I feel like I've been reading this book for ages! I did enjoy it, I would give it about a 3.5. Compared to book 1, I didn't feel like the plotting was as strong, and some of the characters got on my nerves a bit. Not Odess though, she's my girl and I love her. I really enjoyed how everything wrapped up though. A lot of the reveals I saw coming several hundred miles away and I just wished they would get to them sooner. Overall though I'm really pleased I gave this series a try. I will definitely head back to Grenwyr someday to hang with Odessa and her Wolf Pack.
Profile Image for Ariana.
234 reviews77 followers
January 14, 2019
4.5 stars

Originally posted on: The Quirky Book Nerd

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Song of the Dead was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it definitely did not disappoint. I read the first novel in this series at the beginning of last year and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I adored it—though fantasy is by far my favorite genre, certain aspects of the story are a bit out of my usual comfort zone. However, I was hooked right from the start and fell in love with every aspect. It proved to be incredibly refreshing in a genre that can sometimes get to be a bit repetitive, and it truly distinguished itself from the rest. These books are such addicting reads.

This sequel continued to be more of the same and Marsh constantly impressed me with her talent and creativity. It is a journey both physically and emotionally and it carried the reader right along with it. The themes of strength and courage, sadness and resilience, and the tremendous power of love run through this narrative once again. From the beautifully detailed world to the extremely lovable and diverse cast of characters, it is a tale that is equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming and is sure to stick with you well after turning the final page.

Returning to this world was such a joy and getting to see these characters and their relationships continue to evolve from the last novel was great. So much more dimension is added to an already multifaceted plot. We reconnect with the familiar, but the plot is entirely new and absorbing. Every moment is full of a certain magic with darker and more sinister undercurrents woven throughout. Marsh’s interpretation of necromancy is unique in many ways, which only adds to the intrigue of the narrative. And of course, the animal companions—by far one of the best parts of the story!

Again, the characters ended up being my favorite part of the novel. Marsh approaches diversity in the best way. There is a great deal of representation—particularly LGBT representation—and it makes this novel a fantastic addition to the ever-expanding collection of literature involving these important topics. These elements are not dwelled on or magnified in a way that draws a huge amount of attention. The characters just are who they are, no matter their gender, race, or sexuality. And, as they should be, their differences are completely natural and accepted, both by each other and the reader.

Odessa is an even stronger heroine than in the previous installment and her growth as a character is huge. We see her confronting the painful events in her life, learning and maturing. Her strengths, as well as her flaws, are clearly depicted, which in turn causes her to become an even more multi-dimensional character who is easy to understand and connect with. In fact, this is true of every character. Marsh devotes plenty of time and effort to fleshing them out, making them and their stories incredibly compelling. The romance between Odessa and Meredy begins to really play out and I felt it was executed well—I enjoyed it, and that’s not something I say very often! I thought I would never love anyone quite as much as Evander, who will always be one of my biggest book crushes, but I ended up liking where things went.

Overall, I absolutely love Marsh’s writing and she has quickly become one of my favorite authors. She is always so descriptive and vivid, pulling you into the unique world she has created and building it up around you. Her storytelling style is action-packed and fast-paced but never lacking in detail. She is also an absolute master at creating realistic and relatable characters. I will genuinely read anything and everything she writes. Part of me hates to see this series end, but it concluded in an extremely satisfying way. Once again, my reading coincided with some experiences of great loss in my personal life and again it turned out to be very cathartic, the themes of hurting and healing being especially relatable. This story and these characters will stay with me for a very long time.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,041 reviews3,440 followers
January 26, 2019
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

This is the second book in a duology by Sarah Glenn Marsh that I have a lot of love for. She starts with a rash bisexual, coffee-loving heroine who is a necromancer and then builds great side characters, an interesting world, and plots that deal effectively with heavy topics like grief and addiction. Oh, and it's all set in a world that is casually queer with variations on gendered relationships sprinkled throughout that feel incidental to the main story.

I will be talking about why I loved Song of the Dead below, but briefly I did want to address why this is not quite a 5 star book for me: I kind of think this should have been a trilogy! The first portion of the book almost feels like a separate book, or what could have become a separate book, which makes the pacing a little bit weird.

The book begins with our heroine Odessa running away on her friends ship, escaping the pressure of political upheaval in favor of traveling to new places with her love interest Meredy. I didn't expect that, but I quickly was into it. Getting to leave Karthia for the first time was very cool, I only wish we had gotten more. It turns into a very brief trip for reasons, and then an entirely different plot begins when they get back. I would have liked to see the traveling portion extended to be its own narrative, perhaps with venturing into new frontiers of the Deadlands? That would have been very cool and then the second part of this book could have been its own thing.

But instead, the travel portion is truncated and we get a book that could be better paced. However, I do think the plot eventually brings about a very satisfying resolution and has some truly shocking moments. There are real stakes in this world, which I appreciate. The author isn't afraid to have character deaths, but stops short of going too far with them.

Other things I want to note:

- Nipper (Odessa's new dragon sidekick) will not fail to endear herself to animal-loving readers. Knowing the author has a menagerie of her own, this addition seemed appropriate and played a significant role in the plot!

- In Reign of the Fallen, the plot focuses on Odessa's descent into addiction and depression, followed by her friends pulling her out of it. In Song of the Dead, we see her make the choice not to return to her addiction, even when it would be the easiest way to cope. I really loved the depiction of that as an ongoing journey toward healing.

- Similarly, this book has a subplot involving another addiction of sorts that someone Odessa loves succumbs to. From the other side, we see how addiction hurts relationships, the painful necessity of intervention, and the reality that the addicted person might reject that intervention. Love is depicted as sacrificial rather than self-involved and I thought that was beautiful and important.

- The main relationship of the book is f/f between Odessa and Meredy, depicted much like any other relationship with affection, arguments, miscommunication, and resolution. There a couple of sexual scenes between them that are pretty mild in terms of explicit content, but serve to develop their romantic relationship.

- The political/magical plot was interesting and pretty well-executed. I just wanted more development of the other countries and some of the other students at the mage academy. Again, I think making this a trilogy would have resolved that.

- It becomes clear that the discovery of atypical mages (defined by the color of their eyes) and path toward their acceptance mirrors the fight for acceptance by the LGBTQ community. It's a great subplot that for me didn't become glaringly obvious until the very end of the book. (see next bullet point!)

- Quick note for those who have read the book: Queen Valoria's crown at the end was kind of fun! Certainly not subtle as a plug for queerness and acceptance of difference, but a fun little thing.

I think that will do it! I think this is the go-to YA fantasy series for well-executed books that normalize queerness without focusing on that to the detriment of plot, world, character, and substance. Loved it, but I wish it had been a trilogy!
Profile Image for Christina.
286 reviews10 followers
February 9, 2021
4.5 stars. Though I don't like this one as much as the first, this is the third time I read it so clearly it's still special and brilliant. Honestly, I think this one could have benefited from being split into two different books. There is a LOT that goes on and a wide array of characters to care for, a few with whom I wouldn't have minded a little more connection.

No plot summary to avoid spoilers for book 1 for those who have not read it, but can I just say how much I love Meredy and Odessa's relationship. The burgeoning emotional intimacy from the first book spills over here, and I love that it was messy and not clean cut. So many YA books focus on "I've never felt this way before" romances, and this one brilliantly explores a different angle of "I HAVE felt this way before, so I'm afraid and I don't know what to do with this because it's wrong that I should feel this way again."

I have a poster of Karthia on my wall that was signed by the author. This is one of my favorite worlds to revisit and I know the author said she's done with this series but... a girl can dream, right? I wouldn't mind another chapter... just sayin'. I mean, the ruling line of succession hasn't really been solidified what with a certain someone having traveled to the Deadlands and therefore possibly not being able to have children... right?
Profile Image for Ines.
267 reviews49 followers
January 17, 2020
4’5 stars

These books are ones that you’re not sure which one you love most because both are amazing. I love this story with all my heart and soul. Odessa, Meredy, Valoria, Jax, Simeon, Danial and Kasmira were amazing and meant so much to me, the love that they have for each other is beyond everything. It’s being a while since i encounter a group of characters that i really love and care about.

All the relationships in this books were beautiful as well but my favorite was the romance between Odessa and Meredy. I love them so much you have no idea.

In this book we also encounter trauma, grief and addiction that, like in the first book were so well handled.

I really cannot recommend this books enough. If you are looking for a fantasy with a f/f romance, amazing friendships, super diverse (almost every single character is queer), with really important themes and beautiful writing, PLEASE, pick up this books. I‘m sure you’ll fall in love as much as i did.

Trigger warnings for addiction, talk of loss of a loved one, trauma and violence.
Profile Image for Bitchin' Reads.
459 reviews122 followers
Want to read
June 27, 2018
I am incredibly excited for the cover reveal of this book! I was able to go to Sarah's event at One More Page, Arlington, VA, and she is not only an inspiring person but an inspiring author.

Not to mention, look at this cover! It is gorgeous!
Profile Image for Paige.
1,723 reviews79 followers
January 15, 2019
Disclaimer: I received this book from Razorbill and Rockstar Book Tours. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, death, disease, slight gore, addiction)

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 416

Amazon Link

Synopsis: The Dead must stay buried.

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom's borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia's waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can't help being mesmerized by the new magic--and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria's mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won't be enough to save their fates.

In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before.

Review: For the most part I really liked this book. It was an excellent end to the series and I liked how Odessa and Meredy didn’t have that fairytale romance ending. I liked the writing and I felt that it was easy to follow along. Finally, I like how the author kept some consistences from the first book. Odessa was still dealing with her addiction and they both continually dealt with their partners deaths. While a lot of readers would say that this was prolonged, I disagree on the principal that it is realistic and needs to be written that way. It’s not realistic to think that you’ll be over a breakup or death in the matter of days. Weeks, months, and sometimes years later the sadness still lingers. I loved that the author didn’t write this any other way.

However, I do think that the pacing was off and I didn’t like how slow it got in spots. I feel that the book had a lot of weird character developments and it didn’t feel natural like it did in the first book. I also feel that the characters weren’t as connected as they were in the first book. I don’t know, something just felt off about the whole thing. I also feel that Azelie and Karston weren’t given the attention they deserved as characters, and in the end I felt that Karston was given the middle finger as he wasn’t even mentioned in the end when Odessa was remembering everything that happened and such.

Verdict: An good ending to a great duology.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
303 reviews65 followers
December 18, 2018
***ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I seriously love Sarah's writing. The flow of the book is wonderful and I'm never confused about what is going on.

I fell in love with Reign of the Fallen as soon as I started reading it. I quickly started stalking, I mean following, Sarah on social media and bugging her enough that she became my friend ;) As soon as I finished Reign, I NEEDED the next part of the story! I love the characters and the magic in this world.

I love the fact that this book touches on everyday issues that people face. Grief, love, addiction, friendship. The dynamics of the friends in Song of the Dead is wonderful and you truly feel like they love each other. The romance in this book is nice, there are some really sweet couples! I was almost worried that the main romance would be overbearing and take over the plot, but it ended up working in nicely. I do have to admit that I was more invested in the side characters love lives though.

I am quite obsessed with the magic in this world, as I said before. I find it so interesting that the magical abilities you have are linked to eye color! So fun! Also - the animal familiars are my fav! :)

This book took a completely different path than I thought it would. It went a little darker towards the end, and I was definitely shocked and a little sad about certain events. Sarah knows how to pull the heart strings, that's for sure. I really think it ended just how it needed to though. The book could have handled just a LITTLE more heartache, but that's all I'll say!

I really want more from this world! Even if it's just a novella or a companion novel. There are so many characters that Sarah could focus on and run with their stories! I really hope this isn't the last of the Necromancers I've come to love. And I need more Nipper in my life!
Profile Image for kayleigh.
1,734 reviews87 followers
February 23, 2019
3.5 stars.

“I could never outrun myself. Without the pin, without even my name, I’d still be a fighter. I’d still be a commander of the dead. I’d still be a girl too in love with life to commit to death, even when it’s calling to me more strongly than ever before.”

Song of the Dead was definitely a lot better than I expected it to be. Full RTC when I'm a little less exhausted and can write a coherent review.

↠ 1. Reign of the Fallen ★★★
Displaying 1 - 30 of 163 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.