“A fantastic series written in my favorite format - that of multiple viewpoints - with excellent characters. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.”see full review » see other reviews »
“This is a book that I started out liking but at the end, skimmed to the final page only to discover that it is not a stand alone novel but the beginning of a series or trilogy - darn. Anyway, the princess Cleo has promise, maybe in subsequent books she will get some backbone and become a stronger character. Maybe Jonas will grow beyond a character driven by revenge. Maybe Lucia will defy her nasty blood thirsty father. And maybe Mangus will grow a heart. And a final maybe - maybe the author will work on world building a bit and dialogue some too. ”Susie V wrote this review Friday, September 6, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“this is a fantasy book.”Claudia wrote this review Monday, August 12, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A fantastic series written in my favorite format - that of multiple viewpoints - with excellent characters. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.”Lyddz wrote this review Wednesday, July 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“was a really good book.”Chelsey Nichols wrote this review Monday, July 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Good book.”Scarlet (aka Taylor)- I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG TO COME OUT!!!! wrote this review Wednesday, June 19, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“It was slow at first but had a good plot and a good ending.”Billy Parrish wrote this review Tuesday, May 28, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Find my full review on my blog: http://thereadinghedgehog.blogspot.com/
Characters: There are a ton of characters, so let's take them one at a time. Cleo: younger princess of Auranos. At first, I thought that maybe she would be a spoilt brat, and I was prepared to dislike her. But she quickly established herself as a sympathetic character, who is genuinely sorry for her mistakes, and while she doesn't always make decisions before thinking things through, her actions are done with the best intentions. She's a loyal sister, blames herself for a lot of things that actually aren't her fault, and tries to do her best. She's immature, but she grows as the story goes on, and I think that by the end of the series, she'll be a very mature young woman. Jonas: the son of a peasant grape farmer in poverty-stricken Paelsia. I approved of Jonas' strong family loyalty and his overwhelming hatred for Cleo and (especially) Aron was understandable. But his personality was so black-and-white that I had a difficult time really liking him. He's one of those characters that I don't have a strong emotional attachment to, but I understand his purpose for the story, and I appreciate him for that reason. Magnus: crown prince of Limeros. Magnus is, perhaps, the most complicated character - and also the most difficult for me to sort out my feelings. Unlike a lot of Readers, I liked Magnus right off, and even after all he did, I still like him. He's a young man who has lived a very hard life, under his father's cruel thumb, and really is deep down a very good person, but needs someone to help him see who he could be. Magnus, unfortunately, gives in to his hurt feelings and anger and begins to go down the path of his father, King Gaius, but I know he'll be redeemed by the end of the series, and he is very obviously not all bad. And that brings me to Lucia: Magnus' adopted sister. Poor girl is a victim of circumstance, and yet she has the potential of becoming a very strong character. Despite what Magnus is becoming, Lucia still has faith in him, and that just makes me love her all the more, because like her, I too have faith in him as well.
The Romance: There isn't much, but the romance that is in it is complicated. First, there's Cleo's fiance Aron, who is the sort of drunken jerk that is an absolute blast to hate. I can't wait to see him get what he deserves. There's Theon, Cleo's bodyguard, who I did like, but he's not in the story much, so I didn't become very emotional invested in his and Cleo's romance. It's so sudden and so irrelevant that I honestly kind of have to wonder the purpose to it. And then there's Nicolo - Cleo's best friend who is sweet on her. I love Nicolo - he's funny and a great guy, and I hope that he and Cleo don't become too emotional involved at any point, because I don't want Nicolo's character ruined by jealousy. And finally, there's Magnus' love interest. This is the complicated one. Magnus loves his sister Lucia. As the back of the book states, Lucia is actually not Magnus' sister by blood, but only by adoption, so Magnus' infatuation isn't as creepy as it could be. But, Magnus doesn't know that Lucia isn't his sister, so as far as he is concerned, it's incest. It's the one aspect of Magnus that made me cringe, but I'll give Magnus credit: he does know that he shouldn't be in love with his sister, and he keeps his feelings to himself.
Plot: When Cleo and Aron visit neighboring Paelsia to purchase Paelsia's finest wine, Aron insights a fight between himself and Jonas' older brother, Tomas. When Aron kills Tomas, Jonas swears revenge, and Paelsia is thrown into a state of unrest when King Colvin of Auranos does nothing to punish Aron, but paints him a hero instead. Furious, the chieftain of Paelsia joins forces with its other neighbor, Limeros, whose king has been looking for a reason to invade Auranos, where it is rumored the fabled Kindred - four magical crystals said to promise untold power to any who possess them - are hidden. But King Gaius of Limeros is greedy, and with a powerful "secret weapon" in his possession, Paelsia may just become this viper's next target after Auranos has been conquered. Cleo, Jonas, Magnus, and Lucia's different storylines begin far apart, and then slowly interweave together as the story progresses in unexpected and cunning ways, making for a very engaging story filled with politics and battles and an amazing amount of character growth. It's all balanced perfectly; not too much politics, no long, dragged-out battles, and the characters still have plenty of areas in which to grow as the series progresses.
Believability: Not applicable.
Writing Style: The dialogue at times is too modern for a medieval-based fantasy world; it jerks the Reader out of the atmosphere the world is supposed to have. But it's not too often, and the writing in general is surprisingly good. Not amazingly good, but definitely better than average.
Content: Trysts are mentioned and suggested, but never in detail, and always in a very matter-of-fact "so-and-so spent time with so-and-so last night" way. It's done in such a straightforward manner that it keeps the sexual undertone from feeling constant. The violence at times is a little meaty, but never horribly graphic.
Conclusion: A battle is, naturally, a great way to bring about a story's climax, and the Author wraps everyone's storylines up well, while setting things up for the next book. It doesn't end on a killer of a cliffhanger, but I'm definitely interested to see what happens next. Falling Kingdoms surprised me in how much I loved all of the characters, and the world of Mytica. I'm not really a high fantasy Reader, but I really, really liked this one; I was hooked as soon as I began reading it.
Recommended Audience: Guy-and-girl read, seventeen-and-up, fantasy fans.”
“Great start to a series. I really enjoyed seeing the world come together.”TK & the Elves wrote this review Monday, April 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.
Quick & Dirty: A high fantasy for young adults, perfect for those who are looking for a daring adventure.
Opening Sentence: She’d never killed before tonight.
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes is a high fantasy for young adults. Similar to the writing style of George R.R. Martin or even R.A. Salvatore, I was quickly intrigued by the story line and the world that Rhodes created. The cover is gorgeous, promising so much content relayed through imagery and a beautiful font face. I had high expectations for Falling Kingdoms, and Rhodes did not disappoint.
In a land made up of three kingdoms, power and belief over two goddesses fuel the need for control. Peace is no longer a part of their lives and war is upon them. Lies, betrayal, and impending war is up on the horizon. One princess raised in privilege and riches must go on a journey in search of something long forgotten. Another princess discovers unyielding power, and with that discovers the truth. A prince who fights love so forbidden, it haunts him. And a young brother, who is fueled by ugly revenge.
Falling Kingdoms is a lot to get through. The story follows four different story lines introducing many characters to the reader. There are four main characters who the story highlights, each one an integral part of uncovering pieces of the puzzle. It took a little bit of undivided attention to get through the first ten chapters or so. Setting up a story like how Rhodes did must have been difficult for her, but it’s also difficult for the reader. I, for example, am used to single or dual point of view narrations, with a touch of third person here and there. But even with a third person perspective, it usually focuses on one or two characters.
Cleo is a princess from Auranos, the southern kingdom. She is the youngest Auranian princess and is also the one that is a little too headstrong. I didn’t love her instantaneously, but she quickly warmed my heart after a few chapters of getting to know her. Lucia and Magnus are from Limeros, the northern kingdom. They follow a different goddess from Auranos and believe in different things. Magnus is constantly disappointing his father, the king. He loves Lucia dearly, and will do anything to protect her. Jonas is from Palesia, the middle kingdom. His brother was murdered by the hand of a royal. He is fueled by revenge and will stop at nothing to make sure the royals pay for what they did. And lastly, Ioannes is a young watcher. He observes a young princess to see if she has what they prophesied about. He keeps an eye on the mortals from afar.
In the world set in Falling Kingdoms, nothing is beautiful and rich. Rhodes has made it clear that the world is filled with power-hungry kingdoms who will lie, cheat, and betray to gain what they want. But deep within all of that hunger, there are little moments of love and tenderness. It’s these moments that allow me to grasp on and continue reading.
Filled with mythology and cultural references, Falling Kingdoms is built on foundations of two goddesses. I wish Rhodes spoke more about these goddesses and early on. It wasn’t until near the last half of the book where everything started to piece together. Maybe it was on purpose, but I think it could have kept me connected to the story from the start. While the prologue talked about prophecies, it wasn’t enough to satisfy my hunger.
The overall plot was quick, and for me, sometimes too quick. There wasn’t enough time for me to absorb the world, the characters, and the details. I found myself marking pages to reference later on, or going back to see what was said or done. I wished the females were stronger throughout the book. I wanted to see more character growth from them, as much as Magnus and even Jonas.
But I will say that Rhodes’ way of writing fantasy was fun to read. Addictive even. I can’t wait to read Rebel Spring.
“This is what your sister once said.”
His heart gave a sharp twist. “She made a mistake.”
“Perhaps. Do you ever visit her?”
“No. She made her choice. I don’t need to witness the result. I prefer to remember her as she was — young forever. She would be an old woman now, fading away just as the land she loved more than this one fades away with only her precious seeds to keep her company.”
With that, Ioannes laid his head back against the soft, warm grass, closed his eyes, and transformed, returning by air to the cold and unforgiving world of mortals.
FTC Advisory: Razorbill/Penguin provided me with a copy of Falling Kingdoms. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.”