Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Release Date: 11 December 2012
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult (YA)
Source: Borrowed from the Public Library
Goodreads | Amazon
The gripping New York Times bestseller that is Game of Thrones for teens
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?
*sigh* Book, why must you disappoint me?
I wanted to like this book. No, scratch that. I wanted to LOVE this book. Y’all, I have been staring at this beautiful cover in the YA aisle of Barnes & Noble for a year. But I refrained, and have been waiting for my library system to get a copy. On the surface, this book has everything going for it. Cool name? Check. Awesome, dramatic looking cover? Check PLUS. Warring kingdoms? Check. Elemental magic? Check.
Problem #1 – Cleo is ridiculously stupid. I mean seriously, girl is an idiot. Her fiance kills a guy in the street, and she doesn’t even think that *maybe* a princess being involved in a street murder in a neighboring country might have unpleasant political ramifications. Then, she and Nic go on a secret mission, but they’re really bad at secret missions because they use their own names, Cleo wears their entire bag of money on her belt and it almost immediately gets stolen, and they’re not that careful about talking about their true identities in the middle of crowded streets. She gets kidnapped multiple times, and doesn’t even have the good sense to run away very far and then shocker, she gets rekidnapped but not necessarily by the same people. To top it off, she’s selfish. Her sister is dying and she says, “No, I don’t want you to die because then I’d have to be queen. Also I love you.” So glad you remembered that since your perfect sister is actually nice to you and you get along.
Problem #2 – Magnus. DUDE. I don’t care how pretty your sister is, you should not be creeping on her. You were raised as blood siblings and that’s how she views you: as her overprotective older brother. You are family. This lust is EXTREMELY CREEPY. I will never ship it. NOT EVER. Magnus’ sister, who bears a little of the blame because she is constantly touching his face (harmless) and even kisses him on the mouth (NOT OKAY!!!) is grossed out, and then Magnus pouts at her and ignores her for the rest of the book. You know, because he’s so deeply in love with her. This is how super villains are born. Broken heart + vindictive personality = CRAZYTOWN.
Problem #3 – the writing style was just … missing something. The dialogue especially bothered me. You know how sometimes characters will have a conversation leading up to a big piece of information, and then in the narrative it will say “And they realized … it was the butler all along.” In this novel, the characters tell you everything. Before you have had the chance to digest any of the dialogue, they explain it all. The general style of the novel was simplistic, and since the story was riddled with every high-fantasy cliche in the book, I came away from it wholly dissatisfied.
Honestly, I don’t even want to get into the cliches. They’re everywhere, and they’re bland and vague and seemingly only put into the plot to remind the reader that this is a high fantasy novel and the author really really really really liked Game of Thrones. If you want more criticism, The Book Smugglers wrote a really great critical review which you can get here, where Thea addresses some of the more bland cliches and why the novel didn’t work for her.
Now I have a sad from this book so I’m going to reread “Under the Never Sky” instead of starting something new.