Reign Of The Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
I don’t know what’s going on.
My favourite genre of novel is fantasy. My favourite element of a book is LGBTQ+ characters. If you have a fantasy novel with LGBTQ+ characters, I’m probably going to read it. Probably going to love it.
I’ve read a lot of books that have this criteria but for some reason they’re just not living up to what I expect them to be.
Am I putting too much hope into them? Should I expect them to be terrible and then be pleasantly surprised when they’re not terrible just absolutely average?
All I want is a good F/F fantasy. Please!
I found a pristine hardcover of Reign of the Fallen in a far flung charity shop in a small village just before I headed into a job interview. I already knew that it was an F/F fantasy, and at £4.99, I clutched it tight to my chest until I could go home and read the heck out of it.
But, just like Of Fire and Stars, Reign of the Fallen‘s plot was left behind in favour of stressing it’s an F/F romance.
Which, in part, is great! I love F/F romance. There should be more of it! But any story that has an underdeveloped plot because it’s concerning itself too much with the romance (which isn’t the main plot itself) is kind of rubbish storytelling.
I wasn’t even invested in the romance anyway. Why should I care about it more when it’s also just as underdeveloped as the plot and characters? Yes. The characters. At the beginning of the story we’re introduced to so many characters that I couldn’t keep up with everyone. As I knew our protagonist, Odessa, would have a female love interest, I expected the girl who we get to know quite well in the beginning to be Odessa’s soon to be girlfriend. But instead, another girl shows up half way through, and suddenly they have chemistry!
There was honestly no point in the rest of the characters either. Which is so sad, because they all doe actually have something to contribute to the story. Instead w’ere bombarded with banter and a few unique characteristics, but that’s it. We were meant to care so much about these characters and feel that Odessa cared about them too, but we don’t know them!
Odessa even has a mentor who is supposedly so close to her that she practically raised her, but they never have a conversation, and then the mentor dies off page.
The story concept isn’t that hot either. It had potential; necromancers raising the dead for a price. But we’re also handed this society where it’s forbidden to make change. Society progresses and changes naturally. It might not always change for good, but it moves forward. Sometimes it happens without anyone realising, and so I found it hard to believe a society that straight up outlaws change. I can’t suspend my disbelief with that one. But you might be able to and it might not bother you as much!
I’m not likely to read the sequel. If the problem was to do with the writing, then maybe. We all know debut novels are just the beginning of an author’s writing journey and I’d hate to base one book on their style and so would usually love to see how they got better.
But in Reign of the Fallen, the writing wasn’t the problem. It was everything else.