Narrator: Alex Mckenna
Published by Listening Library
Published on 29 January 2019
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Source: my local library
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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.
This was a worthy follow up to Reign of the Fallen, with plenty of changes for the city of the dead, and the new rules enforcing no more raising. Does this mean Odessa is out of a job? She flees on the Paradise to explore new lands, unaware that Meredy is to accompany her, and discovers new magic in those previously closed-off countries, before returning to Karthia to face an ongoing threat against the crown.
I feel like a lot happened in Song of the Dead, so much so that it’s hard to encapsulate it in this review. However, I felt that the pace was excellent, and although the plot appeared to be meandering sometimes, everything was relevant it was actually quite tightly plotted, much like its precursor. I liked going around with Odessa, although it did always seem that her newfound dream to travel wasn’t really hers, but was her trying to honour Evander. Odessa was honest about her courage, thoughtful, and ready to act without hesitation, which I liked. I also love that she’s a capable warrior and sometimes prone to violence. There’s no real gender oppression in this novel.
I really liked the ongoing conflict with the Evander/Meredy love story. Both Odessa and Meredy have loved before, and this book showcases how hard it can be to move on even if you’re in love with your new partner. I love how sweet, and intense, and truthful their relationship was. They communicated well, and when they didn’t, there were massive consequences which didn’t seem at all contrived.
I loved the new characters.View Spoiler » I wish there was more time dedicated to them, and I wish the majority of them had survived the bloodshed in this novel. It seems a bit unfair that almost every one of the new characters died, sometimes a horrible death, but all the original gang (or ‘wolf pack’) survived. « Hide Spoiler I actually did shed a tear when I thought one original character, who I didn’t even like all that much, had died.
My other favourite part was Odessa slowly coming to realise that they didn’t know everything about the fantastic magical system based on eye colour, and that many people were probably capable of more than they realised. Of course, when Karthia was resistant to change, it is understandable that no one explored beyond the established norms, so it was great to see more characters with different powers being explored.
One of the things that bothered me a little was Odessa referring to herself as ‘reckless’ when she is in fact pretty measured and thoughtful. She tells Meredy she’s petty, reckless, and selfish. Petty? Nothing Odessa did in this novel was petty. She’s never cruel or harsh or does things just for a laugh. Nothing she does is trivial. I don’t understand why she thinks she’s petty and reckless and selfish, because the entire novel and a half up to this point demonstrated over and over how Odessa is anything BUT petty, reckless, and selfish. Did she say it just because it sounds good? Did the author put those words in Odessa’s mouth? I don’t know who to blame, but it’s inaccurate and wrong and should not be in there.
Overall I did really enjoy this book, especially the magic system, worldbuilding, and characters, and it’s definitely worth reading if you enjoyed the first one.