Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Book Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms

Written by Morgan Rhodes
(Razorbill - 12/11/2012)
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover (412 pages)
Source: Library of Magan Bagan
Rating: 4 Stars

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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?

My Thoughts

What a ride this book has given me! As has become my practice these days, I did not refresh my memory on the book’s description before diving in. I trust that I was interested enough to acquire the book, so I open the book and go! While that works well for some books, in this case, I think it might have helped me with Falling Kingdoms. The first several chapters all focus on different people in different kingdoms and I was feeling quite lost, which was disappointing. However, as soon as things started circling back around to characters I’d been introduced to, I settled in more comfortably.

As I got to know each character better, I began really rooting for some more than others, even though I could clearly see each one’s point of view. There is a lot going on in Falling Kingdoms, but each main character is very thoroughly fleshed out, with his or her own strengths, flaws, and vices. Morgan Rhodes is adept at making each character real; even the side characters felt like real people to me, and it really helped me to immerse myself into this world and its many struggles.

I was fascinated by the amount of political intrigue in this book. I always think that politics are boring, but I guess in fantasy novels politics are super interesting! The depth in this book was surprising and very welcome. I like that we get to see so many different sides of the conflict because it makes it much harder to take sides! Being an outside observer in a world like this was a truly fascinating experience, and I found it difficult to decide whose viewpoints were most “right” a lot of the time.

I have two complaints about this book, and they’re both pretty minor. First, I really wanted to see more of Lucia. As the only one with magical abilities, she was one of the most interesting, and of course I wanted to know more of how she thought and felt about the things that were happening to her and around her. Maybe in the next book(s)? Second, the romance that arises for Cleo just felt a little to quick for me. I mean, I could see that a romance was budding, and I was looking forward to watching them slowly realize their feelings for each other. But then all of a sudden it was like BAM, I love you, I love you too, instantly intense. I just wish it was a bit smoother, I guess.

All in all, I freaking devoured Falling Kingdoms. I read it way faster than I expected to, and when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about reading it and telling my husband how interesting it is! Falling Kingdoms is highly recommended for fans of fantasy and political intrigue. I absolutely can’t WAIT (is December here yet?) for the next book.

Read 22 comments

  1. GAH! I need to read this book!

    And I know what you mean… real life politics = BORING. Fictional book politics = FASCINATING. lol And I love what you said about the characters feeling real. I dig good character development. :) And insta-love = Blergh, but unless it’s super ridiculous, I can deal. lol Great review, Kelley!

  2. I always have a hard time with books that follow multiple characters. It always takes me until like halfway through the story to sort everyone out in my mind and really start getting attached. It’s good that the characters are so developed, but I’m not sure if I’d want to read it just for that one reason. I’m not sure why I have such difficulty with that. ><

    • Yeah, for some reason this book just made it extra difficult! It’s like, you’re just barely figuring out who these people are, and then it switches over to a whole different group of people. Like 3 times! It’s the first book I’ve had this problem with. It might just be because I’d been reading a lot of first-person books or something? I don’t know. Even reading Through the Ever Night after this one, I sometimes got confused on whether I was reading a Perry chapter or an Aria chapter.

  3. I have a copy of this book and I’m glad to read you liked it so much! It’s been on the backburner but perhaps I should read it soon. It sounds like a solid fantasy novel! Wonderful review. :)

    • Indeed, it was kinda similar for me. I remember really wanting to read it, but I kept looking at it and thinking “whatever, I’ll read it later.” I’m glad I decided to finally dive in, though, as you can see. I hope you get a chance to read it soon, too. :)

  4. I’ve heard this is the Game of Thrones of the YA world, so I should definitely read this. I’m a huge fan of political-magical fantasy novels. Another one that does something different is the Skin Hunger series by Kathleen Duey. Those books are amaaazing because they take place in different times, but somehow meet up in the end. I still need to read Falling Kingdoms though. Excited!!

  5. Fantasy books always throw me for a loop at the beginning. There is so much to take in I also get confused sometimes. (That is why I am intimidated by Game of Thrones!) I am very interested in this book though and I will definitely keep your thoughts in mind when reading! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  6. I love going into books without re-reading the blurb and not really knowing what you’re getting into. I like finding out along with the characters. I’m not much of a fantasy reader so not sure this one is for me. The politics is not something I’ve very often found intriguing >.< Glad you enjoyed it chickie!

  7. I almost never read the blurb before starting a book..lol Normally I think the same, I must have bought it for a reason! So I dive in. Sometimes I will find myself reading it if things are starting off slow because I get confused and start wondering what the heck I’m reading.

    This one sounds very interesting! I love a good fantasy. Seems kind of like A Game of Thrones in the narration? Just jumping around to different characters? I kind of like that because I like to know everyone’s PoV.

    • Hehe, we definitely think alike when it comes to the book blurb! I love it. :)

      Yeah, the narration is like Game of Thrones — according to what other people have said. Jumping around from character to character, also much like the Wheel of Time series. Only that series began with most of the main characters all together, so I had time to get to know them before they split up. Very much not the case in Falling Kingdoms.

  8. Politics in fantasy is my #1 weakness. If there are no politics and just a bunch of battle scenes or quest type deals, I will most likely not be interested. I hadn’t paid much attention to Falling Kingdoms previously, but “political intrigue” are my buzzwords.

    It’s also nice to hear that, even though there are so many characters, they are fully fleshed out. I do really dislike the multiple POV tactic, but I can live with it in most cases.

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  10. I’ve been wanting to read a review for this book for sooo long. None of my GR friends have read it, so I was hesitant. It’s good to know that you liked it. I agree, politics in fantasy is much more interesting! The GR summary also says “Game of Thrones for Teenagers” so I’m sold. It’s about time I bumped this up my TBR list :)

    Great review, Kelley!

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