Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Genre: YA, High Fantasy
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…
I’d heard a lot of good things about this series. I went into this book wanting to like it, no, wanting to love it. I ended up… well, I liked some parts, others made me fell very meh, and a few made my eyes roll all the way into the back of my head.
The author does not shy away from dark topics without going fully into (boring) “grimdark” territory, even when the book was filled with death. Honestly, more than once I thought the book was not going to go there and it surprised by actually going. The darkness mostly felt earned, although there were a few characters that were basically there to die.
It was so readable. I could read it for hours and not feel bored. It had enough things happening that I just wanted to keep going. Even though how they were executed wasn’t perfect, the plot points were always intriguing enough to keep on reading (and I was really busy when I read this).
It was clearly setting up for future books so a lot happened without being fully resolved. It was an interesting prologue, but a prologue all the same.
I have to say I loved Magnus and Cleo as characters. They were a big reason why I’m giving this book 3.5 stars instead of less.
When I read the blurb, I thought Jonas’s chapters would be my favorite. Once I started reading… they were so boring. The character never stopped feeling paper-thin and his role kind of forced. Same with Lucia, although I felt she had slightly more depth than Jonas (like a puddle’s). I really, really hope these two characters get better in the next books because they have so much potential.
The dialogue was pretty wooden. Most of the characters just exchanged stock phrases and exposition. It did advanced the plot and all, but I felt none of the characters had their own voice. They were just there to say what the plot needed them to say, no care to how they said it. Also the book tended to go into clumsy infodumps that made cringe every time. They felt so inorganic within the narrative. I know it’s hard, but a little more showing and less telling would have helped a lot.
Most character dynamics were also kind of clumsy, which is disappointing because I live for them. Some of them felt super rushed, Cleo and Theon (also random sidetone: I couldn’t help picturing him as Alfie Allen from Game of Thrones), others underdeveloped, Cleo and Nic, others made no sense, Jonas and Cleo. Sensing a pattern here?
Why is everyone in love with Cleo? Why, book? Why?
I think I will pick up the next book in the series because, don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy reading it. I flew through this book. I got invested in some threads. Hopefully, some of my issues will get fixed in the next books. If you’re looking for an easy-to-follow, fast-paced high fantasy YA series this could be for you!