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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes, Michelle Rowen

Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 412 Pages
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Narration: Third Person:
Cleo, Jonas, Magnus, Lucia
Genre: Fantasy

Falling Kingdoms Series
Book One: Falling Kingdoms
Book Two: Rebel Spring (2013)

Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

My Review:

I had so many mixed feelings about this novel. When I first laid eyes upon it in Barnes and Noble, I was ecstatic! The cover, which spotlighted a cloaked assassin wielding two deadly daggers in front of a fog surrounded castle, intrigued and appealed to my
curious nature. I was immediately asking myself, "What's this novel about!?" "Are there assassins in it?" "Why is he/she veiled?" "What's up with the hawk?". Sadly, the cover has little to do with the actual book. The only connection I made was the flying bird and possibly the castle, although the castle looks nothing like I would expect it to be.

Falling Kingdoms is told in third person via Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus. One spot where the novel really shined, was the switch in perspectives between these characters and some of the minor ones. Even though the author constantly interchanged between the people in one kingdom to the people in the next, I never once felt confused as to who was talking or where they were located. Some might have trouble distinguishing one character from the other in the very beginning, because there are alot of new characters that are introduced at once. However, as you continue, you'll discover that each person has a very unique personality and perspective of seeing things that set them apart from each other.

Cleo, the youngest princess of the prosperous Auranian Kingdom, came off as selfish, bratty, and spoiled at first. I immediately disliked her weak nature and her easy to bend will. However, as the story progressed she grew in strength, mentally and emotionally. The difficult and trying situations she was forced to face and overcome, prepared her for what lay ahead and slowly shaped her into the queen she was always capable of being.

Jonas was a poor boy who resided in Paelsia, a gradually dying kingdom. He had a revolutionary mind and wanted nothing more than to crush the Auranian royals beneath his feet. He was quick to anger and instead of thinking plans through, he went along and did them. Even if they were idiotic and suicidal. He was also quick to jump to conclusions (that didn't make any sense whatsoever...) which didn't bring me to like him anymore than I already did. However, near the end, we also see a little bit of character development. Instead of blindly following orders from a bloodthirsty king, he stops and thinks about the possible outcomes of the current situation.

Lucia made the best impression on me in the beginning. She was sweet, kindhearted, yet still had a little bit of bite to her. But after a certain event takes place (Can't say without giving away spoilers! D:), she acts unrealistically. Something that drastic happens, by your hand, and you just forget about it and never bring it up again? Not even have the slightest amount of guilt for what you did?

Magnus, the son of the notorious Limeros King, was always living in his older half brother's shadow. He never felt loved and was abused as a kid, which made him a little dark. Understandable. But even though he was badly treated growing up, he was still merciful and had a good heart underneath the rough exterior. Although as the
novel progressed, Magnus slowly started to become more and more like his evil father.

Sorry I can't hold this one in. When Magnus stated that he was in love with his sister, I literally had to put the book down and find myself something else to do. Even though I subconsciously knew that they weren't siblings, it still grossed me out. There are a couple novels out there that spring the big "Your brother and sister" card, but in the back of your mind, you always knew they weren't. For example: In the Mortal Instruments, Clary and Jace discover there actually "brother and sister,"  but still have feelings for each other. In my opinion, that's not too bad because they grew up SEPARATELY and never knew each other up until that moment. Magnus and Lucia grew up together, wholeheartedly believing that they were siblings born from the same mother. It just.....rubbed me the wrong way.*END OF SPOILER*

The action was mehh. When I started this book, the overzealous details and the over the top worldbuilding made everything seem rather tedious and slow. I felt like it kept on dragging on and on and kept waiting for something exciting to leap up at me. However, in the last 20% of the novel, the pacing picked up noticeably! I loved the way Morgan intertwined the stories of four very different characters from three warring kingdoms together in the end.

I didn't think that the romance was all that believable. The love that sprang up between Cleo and her guard, Theon, seemed sudden and veered towards the Insta-Love category. But....since this story jumps from four different perspectives, it might be possible that significant amounts of time have passed, but we just don't know it.

Overall, Falling Kingdoms was a bit too slow paced for my tastes. The characters each annoyed me in their own ways, and either surprised me towards the end or disappointed me altogether. However, even though I never fully connected with this story, I still enjoyed the way Morgan wrote the four different POVs and how she intertwined their stories in the end.

Main Characters:
Cleo- 3.5/5
Jonas- 3/5
Lucia- 3/5
Magnus- 2.5/5

Romance- 2.5/5
Action- 3/5
Only giving it a three
because it picked up near the end.
Comedy- N/A
Overall- 3/5