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Author: Morgan Rhodes|
Website | Twitter |
Publication Date: December 11th, 2012 |
Publisher: Razorbill
My Interest: Fantasy month |
Source: Library |
Age Group | Genre: YA| Fantasy, High Fantasy |
Series: Yes | Falling Kingdoms series
Pages: 412 |

I’ve definitely put it out there that I’m a fantasy nut, particularly a High Fantasy / Secondary World fangirl. So you would think today’s book would have been on my TBR list for forever–but in fact it wasn’t. I actually picked it up via recommendation of author Lindsey Cummings. I think she posted via instagram and something about the cover and her blurb had me at hello.

I checked out a copy from my local library. I was not compensated in any way for my words (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.

The Story

“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? 

-via Goodreads

My Thoughts

Before I started reading Falling Kingdoms I did a little snooping–which for me includes  skimming a few reviews, reading the blurbs, that sort of thing. My discovery was that this story was very similar to George Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series aka “Game of Thrones.” Since I haven’t jumped into that world yet, I was excited to read the YA version. At least it’s a million pages shorter.

So, I jumped in. Let me share my thoughts with you via tweets:

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As you can see, it’s a gut-wrenchingly emotional, did-that-just-happen sort of book.

Which is why I loved it. I mean, after all, if certain people didn’t die in Harry Potter it wouldn’t be the same sort of story. I had a professor tell me once that you know it’s a good story (talking about a book or even a TV show) when you get super emotional over the characters. It means they were well-developed and real; they stuck with you.

Falling Kingdoms is like that. The story is told from four alternating perspectives of Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus. Rhodes does a very nice job of moving the story along with each perspective shift and doesn’t backtrack too much. I enjoy that because I hate reading the same thing over again just from a different view. Each character internally struggles with the destiny they are essentially being called too, yet each destiny intertwines with the other. I love how we get both sides with the main characters: good and evil. I won’t tell you who’s who–but the way Rhodes writes, as the reader we are left to choose who we want to believe and fall in love with. For instance, I sort of fell for Magnus. He’s not the greatest of the bunch, but there’s a side to him that just pulls you in. Rhodes has created these characters with enough history and backstory, that I feel like we really know them not just by their actions in the present story. Granted, there isn’t much room for development in this first novel as we’re just getting to know them,  but since the series is slotted for at least four books (according to Goodreads) then I’m assuming there will be plenty of time to watch these main characters grow.

As a fantasy novel, wow! Rhodes lays major groundwork for the world of Mytica. As we’re getting to know each character, we’re also getting to know this world they live in. We discover the folklore of the multiple kingdoms (Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia) the history and  culture of each, even the climate and civil struggles. There is also a map in the front of the novel as well as handy list of the characters: who they are in the story and how they connect to each other ( i.e. family line and such).
Basically, the world building of this fantasy, since it is set in an entirely different world than present day, is phenominal. I also love the magic in the story. We only get bits and pieces of it in this first novel, and a lot of it is told through the folklore and myth of how it came to be in the country, but it’s really interesting and I’m excited to see where Rhodes takes it.

Overall, this is a punch-in-the-gut kind of story, and you just need to be prepared for a lot of death. But it’s a fantasy world in the midst of a power struggle. Of course there is going to be death. Brace yourselves, don’t get too too attached, and pick up this book. You’ll love the escape to a fantastical and phenomenal world, and when it’s over you’ll really wish you had book two in your hands.

Pick this read up if you like…

Fantasy, ASOIAF, world building“Game of Thrones,” ALL. THE. FEELS., secondary world fantasy, heroic quests, sword fights, can handle lots of death,

Then when you’re finished, try….

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

  

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Book Talk: Have you read Falling Kingdoms? Did you have a lot of feels? Have you read ASOIAF or watch “Game of Thrones”? Do you think it compares?

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