Reign of the Fallen

10 CDs. 12:53 hrs. Listening Library. Jan. 2018. $70. ISBN 9780525531692. digital download.
Gr 7 Up—In a world where the dead do not necessarily stay dead, those who can afford to can raise their loved ones, thanks to the revered blue-eyed necromancers. Eye color denotes those with certain supernatural abilities, including weather mages, beast masters, healers, and potions masters. There is a small hitch about being raised, though: the dead must be shrouded at all times. If a living person sees any part of the dead uncovered, that individual will turn into a beast called a shade, which will attack and kill everyone in its path. Odessa, a master necromancer who is called "Sparrow," and her beloved fellow necromancer Evander find a shade after their mentor is killed by one. On their hunt to kill this shade, Evander is slain, leaving Odessa in a state of grief and addicted to a calming potion. It becomes clear that someone is intentionally creating these shade monsters. Some new friends help cure Odessa of her addiction before they set out to find the person responsible. Odessa begins to have feelings for Evander's sister Meredy in the weeks after Evander's death, which listeners may find sudden after Odessa spends chapters talking about her grief. Narrator Alex McKenna has a raspy voice that fits well with Odessa's personality, but at times accents and other vocal choices don't mesh with the other characters.
VERDICT Overall this tale has a fantasy world with a fresh concept and would be best suited for large collections where more fantasy is needed.

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