Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms, book 1
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Source: ARC, thanks to the ladies at Good Choice Reading
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Falling Kingdoms was is one of those books that I seriously coveted, almost to the point that I would beg, borrow, or steal to get it. I actually did beg...a little. When I did score an ARC, I made myself hold off reading it until a little closer to the release date, just to build up my anticipation even further. Was that a mistake? Maybe. Yes....no. No, it wasn't a mistake because I did like the book. It was fun and fueled by murder and betrayal and everything else a great book should be filled with, but I just didn't love it like I wanted to.
I've never read anything by Michelle Rowen prior to this book, which is written under her pseudonym. But I know plenty who have and absolutely love her writing. The writing wasn't a problem for me. It wasn't stellar, by any means, but it wasn't poorly written or anything. It's just...this is supposed to be a fantasy, right? I expected some epicness, but all I got was fantasy-lite. And the story wasn't nearly as cohesive as I would like because quite a bit of the story happens behind the scenes, most often when a switch in narrator has occurred.
Though there are technically four different narrators in Falling Kingdoms, all in third-person, I felt like Cleo kind of owned this novel. It started with Cleo and it ended with her, and it's obvious that her presence will continue to be very strong throughout the series. I didn't love any of the characters, but I also didn't hate them. They all had their strengths and weaknesses, and I can appreciate that.
There were some religious undertones in this book, but there was also plenty of magic to offset those. It was interesting to see what part each played in this world and how each of the three kingdoms viewed religion versus magic. It seemed as though they went hand in hand long before the kingdoms existed, and one would not exist without the other, but somewhere along the way, it appears as if it was decided that the two could not coexist. Hence, the falling kingdoms.
The reader is immediately thrust into the thick of things with the prologue, which very adequately sets the pace for the rest of the story. Also, there is SO. MUCH. DEATH. I'm serious...try not to get too attached to any one character. I was slack-jawed and bug-eyed for a good majority of this novel, which is fun in its own respect.
The book was fun. I'm probably the only person who isn't gushing over this thing, and that's really probably only because I am a hard-core fantasy lover and I just need more world-building than I was presented with in Falling Kingdoms. And that's not to say it doesn't totally deserve some gushing...I'm just not the one to do it. I will, however, be picking up future installments. Now that everyone's path is on the cusp of convergence, I must see it through to the end.
“Even in the darkest and most cruel person, there is still a kernel of good. And within the most perfect champion, there is darkness. The question is, will one give in to the dark or the light? It's something we decide with every choice we make, every day that we exist. What might not be evil to you could be evil to someone else. Knowing this makes us powerful even without magic.”