Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review:Falling Kingdoms

 Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Magic 
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Library

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.
As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.
The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.
Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.
Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword.... (goodreads)

I have no idea what took me so long to start this series, but boy do I feel foolish now!
Plot: Falling Kingdoms is one of the most complex fantasy novels I've read this year. I knew this book was special by page 20. Two characters were dead and I had a feeling the death toll would double by the end. Rhodes does not disappoint, instead, she steadily ups the ante with each page.

Falling Kingdoms is a special book because there isn't always an obvious 'good' vs 'bad' agenda. Each of the characters affect the other in both good ways and bad; their interactions set the wheels in motion for a war none of their countries is prepared for. 

Characters: The moral complexity of this novel made it hard for me to ever set this book down - for anything. Magnus proved to be the characters I despised and both emphasized with. He's in love with his younger sister and has to survive his bloodthirsty father. His sister, Lucia, is slated to be the most powerful sorceress that the land has seen in centuries. She is the complete opposite of her brother, all sweetness, and sensitivity to his rough edges and disinterest. 

Princess Cleo of the prosperous Auranos is a bit of a brat - and I admit that it was hard to like her at times. She is used to getting her own way and wears her heart on her sleeves. My biggest issue with this book (which is not really an issue) is that both Lucia and Cleo come off too naive and fragile. I'm sure that both girls, Cleo especially, will grow as times get hard.

Lastly, we have Jonas, who just wants vengeance on those who hurt his family. They are all self-serving and I loved seeing how their actions affected everyone on a grander scale. 

Worldbuilding: I can't even imagine how much time it took Morgan Rodes to craft this world. Limeros, Auranos, and Palesia all have their strengths and weaknesses with desires to advance. The people of Palesia are referred to as "savages" because of their failing economy while Auranos is able to tax them for imported goods and live comfortably. There is already unease between the nations, even their religions are at odds. The mythology is equal parts romance and greed which makes me excited for the dueling kingdoms in future installments. 

Short N Sweet: Falling Kingdoms is clearly a labor of love, and I want to personally thank Morgan Rhodes for writing my next favorite fantasy novel. 


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