So I had the SUPER exciting opportunity to review Song of the Dead, by Sarah Glenn Marsh, the sequel to Reign of the Fallen. For those of you who don’t know Reign of the Fallen, it’s an epic YA fantasy, and it was one of my favorite reads of 2018.
Here’s the blurb-
REIGN OF THE FALLEN
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.
Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, I have good news for you- the sequel was just as good. Here’s the blurb-
SONG OF THE DEAD
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.
I absolutely adored Odessa’s character development in this book- I felt like she really got fleshed out and became much more real. In so many YA’s you come across heroines who feel about as three-dimensional as a sheet of paper. This was not the cas with Odessa. She was badass and endlessly determined to fight for the people in her life. And, most importantly, she had flaws, flaws that made her human.
Secondly, without giving away any spoilers, I can say this book has ACTUAL WELL DONE LGBT REPRESENTATION. Tragically, that is few and far between in this genre and we need as much of it as humanly possible. This warmed my poor gay heart and made me so so happy, so thank you Sarah Glenn Marsh.
Finally, this book is compulsively readable. Like you just can’t put it down. I know. I tried. It was impossible. So on the downside my room’s a mess and I haven’t done dishes in forever, but on the upside it was a really good book!
I HIGHLY recommend this book, y’all! It’s a great winter break read!
Final rating- 5/5
Sarah Glenn Marsh has been an avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life; she’s been making up words and worlds ever since. When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys painting, ghost hunting, traveling, and all things nerdy. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their menagerie: four rescued sighthounds, a bird, and many fish. She is the author of Fear the Drowning Deep and Reign of the Fallen.