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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
In Citadel of the Fallen (Rebirth of the Fallen, Book One) by JR Konkol, the people of Citadel have learned to live in an unpredictable and dangerous world filled with spirits, orcs, goblins, ogres, wild animals, and nefarious demons. Citadel has a system that ensures its citizens’ safety and prosperity; it has worked effectively for ages. However, things are changing, starting with the Black Tide, the annual "raging river of giant ants stripping the land of food and resources to take back to their towering anthills". The city is always ready to send expeditions to harvest valuable crops before the ants take them away. Now the ants’ usual migration time and route are changing; people have less chance and manpower to prepare. They are worried, and soon enough their concern is proven valid as an old enemy is set to conquer the resilient human stronghold once and for all.
The world-building of Citadel of the Fallen is fascinating and complex, complementing the intriguing story premise for its high fantasy concept. The plot’s pace is steady and contemplative, giving more than enough room for its character development which is one of the story's strongest suits. The varied cast has solid depth to establish their personality, particularly the young protagonists; Malcolm, Liam, Conner, Attia, Eliana, and Russell. All manner of beings populate this fantasy world; the spirits outshine them all when it's revealed that several leaders in Citadel share their body and mind with ancient souls that are crucial for the humans' survival. The clear and engaging narrative makes the hectic battles, harrowing escapes from danger, and the loss of lives emotionally gripping. A dark but enchanting fantasy tale, JR Konkol's Citadel of the Fallen has an excellent start and is a must-read for fantasy fans.