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?
If you ask me to clearly pinpoint what went wrong with this story, I have to admit, I wouldn’t even know what exactly or why this book left me unimpressed.
It had a very good start, with an intriguing premise. In this world, people can be brought back from the dead. This way, people with certain skills or titles, like the king, will always be king and you don’t have to find another ruler of this world where changes are not allowed. If the king is always the same person, the rest of the world cannot change, no innovations are allowed. The main characters are necromancers for the royal family, and they are basically responsible for bringing back the king every time he dies or starts to “emotionally malfunction”. In the long run, the dead can turn into shades, and attack people and then the necromancer would have to eliminate the shades. The premise of the story is about the rightness or wrongness of continuing the rituals of bringing back dead people or living a life with constrains, without dreaming of visiting other realms, or changing one’s vocation, and this discussion ends right when it started.
I wasn’t able to gather much or understand anything further about the magic, which is related to the colour of eyes, or why nothing can change with this world. The world structure was not explored further in the story. And to be honest with you, the few details given didn’t stick too much in my brain. The writing was a bit bland, sometimes childish, in contrast with the seriousness of the idea behind the story, which is a dilemma if it’s right or wrong to bring the dead back, sometimes against their will. I wasn’t even able to feel for the main character, Odessa, or be invested in her journey because, as I mentioned, the writer decided to take a step back from the main problem of the magic of necromancy.
The writer, instead, decided to take the reader and the main character in the rabbit hole of drug addiction, which kind of messed up the whole plot and initial purpose of the story. I can understand that the drug addiction problem came as a response to grief from the main character. However, for some reason, I couldn’t feel for Odessa, she sounded rather petulant and almost half of the story became all about her addiction. What bothered me the most is that when the addiction was finally defeated and Odessa finally came back to be the necromancer she was supposed to become, the main character didn’t reflect much about the whole experience.
Another problem with this story was the romance. If you read any of my reviews, you would know that I love romance in fantasy. In this case, it was all over the place and a tad weird, super fast and too telenovela-like, lol. ⚠️Big Spoiler Alert⚠️ I mean, she was in love with Evander, he dies and Odessa had the whole potion addiction fit, and then she quickly falls in love with Evander’s sister, who reached out to Odessa to bring back her dead fiancé, while Odessa was considering to sleep with her oath-brother… what?
The whole love drama overshadowed the fact that Odessa is a bisexual character, the writer makes her appear melodramatic and shallow. In conclusion, well, I just ticked a book away from my TBR, a book that was there for two years now. The main plot about the Deadlands picked up only in the end, with predictable revelations and little explanations.