CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian's Reviews > Reign of the Fallen

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
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it was ok
bookshelves: american, fiction, fantasy, young-adult, queer, bisexual, own

This ambitious queer YA fantasy had a lot of potential that it sadly did not live up to. Interesting concept, with a bisexual necromancer main character living in a change-adverse land where the safely raised Dead are inexplicably changing into dangerous cannibalistic Shades. But this book fails in both plot and characterization. It tries to include too many meaningful secondary characters (like, 8 or 9!) and doesn't have enough time to develop them and make them real. There are flashes of cool characters here and it's frustrating to see them not fulfilled.

It also doesn't develop the protagonist enough to earn the reader's empathy and emotional investment before plunging her into grief 100 pages in where she's mean, depressed, and addicted to these numbing potions. By the time the book left this stagnant unpleasant middle section to finally return to the main plot, I had a hard time caring about either the plot or Odessa, who never emerged as a fully realized person. Also, the bad guy was super obvious and the romantic tension should have been drawn out until the second book--(which, among other plot points, makes me wonder if this was supposed to be a stand alone not the first book in a duology). But yay for solid bisexual, gay, and (?) lesbian representation?

I would have liked to see the book lean more into the grey areas it touched on--like the villain being right about the old king refusing to change is bad for Karthia and Evander's mom pointing out the dangers of necromancy. I also think this would have worked much better as a third person narration with focuses moving to and from different characters in the cast.
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Reading Progress

January 22, 2019 – Shelved
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: american
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: queer
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: bisexual
November 4, 2019 – Started Reading
November 4, 2019 – Shelved as: own
November 5, 2019 –
page 145
38.67% "An ... interesting narrative structure to have the protagonist immobile in grief a third of the way through. Not to sound insensitive but it's dragging a little?"
November 6, 2019 –
page 157
41.87% "I feel like we didn't get to know this main character well enough before she quickly becomes mean, depressed, and addicted to this potion in the wake of grief. Intellectually I get it, but emotionally I have to know the character to be able to care about her in this state. The way this plot is structured is very weird. It's like trying to throw season 6 Buffy into season 1."
November 7, 2019 –
page 259
69.07% "I kinda wish any of the other female characters were the main character instead of Odessa?"
November 7, 2019 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Lex (new) - added it

Lex Kent Great review! Do you think you will give book 2 a shot or just not worth it?

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