Review: Falling Kingdoms

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Over the weekend I finished reading the much-talked about first installment of the Falling Kingdom series by Morgan Rhodes.

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Continue on if you’d like to hear my thoughts!

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(From Goodreads)

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 realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

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The magic was very interesting in this novel. Essentially witches exist in this world and there is a witch so powerful that he/she is termed a sorceress and has the ability to control the Kindred – which is, well frankly I never got a clear understanding of it, four magic elemental stones that when put together is some all-powerful object that can do who knows what. This vague description of the Kindred is probably the most intriguing thing about this novel because it allows the author to expand upon it as they continue the series. A personal preference of mine is not knowing everything in a fantasy novel because it leaves me wanting more and holding my breath for the next installment.

Also, I loved how there were opposite religions for the countries. One believed in one “good” Goddess and an “evil” Goddess. Valoria as good and Cleiona as evil in Limeros and the opposite for Auranos.

But then it was later revealed that neither women were gods and neither were purely good or purely evil. They were human and their human greed for power inevitably destroyed them both and sent their world into destruction: freezing weather, crops dying and people starving due to the division of the Kindred.

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However, these major religious differences didn’t seem to be a very big issue in the story. None of the POV characters seemed to be strongly religious so one can assume the people in the countries weren’t either. So why did the author give us this religious perspective when they weren’t even going to use it to create cultural differences and tension? (For instance, tension between Christians and Muslims today.)

In addition, the writing style was lacking. It was told as a multi-perspective, in a similar way to George R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones.” (I’m assuming this is the only reason why this novel is compared to ASOIAF series?) But what wasn’t similar to that amazing series, is that whenever a chapter for a particular character came to end, I was never left with any great anticipation for what would happen to them next; knowing that I wouldn’t find out until a few chapters later when the story was being told from their perspective again. For instance, in Game of Thrones when Daenerys’ chapter ends, I groan knowing I won’t get to know what happens to her next for several more pages. But when Cleo’s chapter ends, I could easily skip to the next character because I did not feel any connection towards her or her problems.

Not to mention the god-awful teen romances that were being slapped across your head with every page you turned. There were several guys falling for both Cleo and Lucia as they were constantly described as the most beautiful beings to walk the earth with their long blonde/raven hair. It seems looks were very important in this story because neither girl was given any real positive attributes except for their appearance. And even Jonas, the seemingly human rights rebel who hated royals, still got a hard-on for Cleo who he blamed for his brother’s death. You’ve got to be joking, right? No character was safe from these half-baked romances. Even Emilia, Cleo’s older sister, literally died from a broken heart. Gag me.

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In the end I was left not entirely satisfied in my connection to these characters. Their ambitions, desires, and hopes never convinced me that they were important. However, the mysterious Kindred and the Watcher cult left me intrigued enough to rate it as I did.

If I do end up continuing with this series, I will pick it up from my local library rather than buying myself a copy.

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What are your thoughts on this book
and also the future installments!

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