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 really enjoyed listening to this book, and the fact that it was quite what I expected. Now, coming to review, with a little retrospection there are a couple of holes I could pick, but at the time of reading I was fully immersed in it 🙂
I loved the concept, and the price of going to the deadlands. The sense of pride that Odessa has in her work, but also the respect for the risks is really clear. I also like how it deals with grief and addiction. Because of those, we really see Odessa grow through the book. She makes decisions throughout due to that grief or to the potion that she wouldn’t have at the start or end, as well, so it’s nice to see it show how those things can change you. This book is definitely more about grief and relationships than anything else, and I think they were well handled.
I’d definitely have liked to have spent a little more time being shown (not told) about her first relationship. It felt a little flat to me, and one sided, even though it clearly wasn’t supposed to be. I did like the build to the second relationship, though I have minor issues because of who it is. But it was well handled and I was cheering them on by the end.
As Meredy points out, Odessa spends a lot of time thinking about herself (I actually get the impression that was due to grief but we shall see in book 2!) so we don’t get to know the other characters as much as I’d like. I liked Meredy (and loved Lysander!) a lot, and Valeria was awesome! I definitely want to see more from both girls.
My main niggle now is all the points about coming back from the dead that Odessa comes up with. They are all pretty reasonable, and in many ways I feel like if you’d done it once you or a living person you were close with would regret it. So why does it still happen so much and so many people come back more than once? The king I sort of get (but ugh no change), but I find it odd no one else was frustrated to have to have physical separation from those they loved.
Overall I found it very enjoyable, but I would have liked a little more plot to go with the introspection. I will definitely be reading book 2, as I think the world and characters are fab, and I really want to know what happens next.
Buy Reign of the Fallen from Amazon UK.