Friday, November 30, 2012

Add to Goodreads
Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms, book 1
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Source: ARC, thanks to the ladies at Good Choice Reading
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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?

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.  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.

Favorite quote:

“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.”

Rating:  Photobucket


  1. I have been waiting for your review on this one. I love the cover. But ugh, the meh things I've been hearing! It seems like all of my go-to trusted fantasy readers who snagged a copy of this aren't really digging it. And that makes me sad. Because this cover! I would love to find a reason to have it, but I just can't.

    1. Definitely a cover to lust for, but it doesn't fit the story, unfortunately. I wanted to read the book promised by that amazing cover, and sadly Falling Kingdoms wasn't it. Still worth a read if you can borrow a copy, though...

  2. This sounds really good, too bad you didn't completely love it :( I love the idea of so many povs and the plot sounds great! Amazing review :)

    1. I really wanted to love it, too! The multiple POVs were done well, so if you enjoy stories told from multiple perspectives, I definitely suggest giving it a try. It was just didn't quite measure up for me. :(

  3. It is always hard when you build a book up so far before you read it but I am glad you did enjoy this one. I hope I get a chance to read it and see what I think. I almost think that it being more fantasy-lite will be good for me. Great review! :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    1. Yeah, I'm sure plenty of readers will enjoy it because of that fact. Not everyone likes the detailed world-building that I enjoy. :P And even I don't always like it, especially if there's 30 pages of description just to set the scene. (This book is DEFINITELY not like that.) I hope you do get a chance to read it.

  4. Great review Jen! I'm actually reading this book right now. I'm about halfway through. I was hesitant about picking it up because I don't usually like books that switch between loads of characters. And I think it has turned out to be what I expected.. because of all the switching, I feel like the characters suffer a little. There's too much jumping around, not enough time developing the romances, I don't have enough time to really get invested in any of the characters, etc. I am definitely interested in the story, and I'm not as much of a high fantasy lover as you seem to be, so I think I'm okay with the amount that is present. But I just wish each character was given more attention. I think the character development does tend to suffer in most books that have so many of them.

  5. This book sounds amazing! I've had it on my TBR shelf for a while, ever since I first heard of it a while back, and now that it's released I can't wait to read it! Although I'm like you--I love really deep world-building in my fantasy, but that's more rare to find in a lot of YA fantasy books, from my experience.

  6. Wow now I'm dying to read this book. Looks like now I have an excuse to go buy more books. I'm really curious to know how I will react the four narrators. I've only read books with three narrators.

  7. Yay, full stars and I'm convinced this book is for me. Thanks for the warning baout not getting attached to one character...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...