Monday, 7 January 2013

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Series: Falling Kingdoms, Book One
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: ARC
Published: In eBook: 11th December 2012
In Paperback: 3rd January 2013
 Number of Pages: 432
Book: For Review*
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Magic, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Thriller, Suspense, Action-Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Blog: Falling Kingdoms

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?

"The time is coming for a reckoning - one a thousand years in the making."
Lost magic.  Three kingdoms on the brink of collapse… 
Welcome to Mytica...
Princess Cleiona of Auranos travels to the rough land of Paelsia.  There, her intended brutally stabs a young man called Tomas in the neck.  Needless to say, this enraged his younger brother, Jonas, who loved Tomas and is determined for revenge - on Cleo and all of Auranos.  To do so, Jonas decides to raise a revolution in his impoverished Paelsia - and strike back against the Auranians...
Prince Magnus of Limeros has perfected his mask of indifference.  He's had to in this family.  And there's the fact that the one he loves, the only one he ever wants, is the one he can never have.  So he decides to help his father and try to forget it all.  Try to freeze his heart...
His sister Lucia is also trying to keep a devastating secret – one that could end her life should anyone find out.  But it becomes harder to conceal.  Especially with all these talks of prophecies flying about...
All the while she is watched by a golden hawk...
Battle is imminent. 
Which side will you choose when kingdoms begin to fall...? 
Now, I've neither read nor seen Game of Thrones, but from the moment I lay eyes on the gorgeous cover and read intriguing blurb of Falling Kingdoms, I knew I simply had to read it.  I love, love, love epic fantasies, so I was super, super excited about this.  There have been some pretty split reviews on it, but I found myself completely hooked.  I read half the book in a single sitting.  It got so much better as time went on – I stormed through, loving every single second to pieces!  I couldn't get enough - I want more, even after all those pages!
The characters were amazing.  They were such a varying bunch, so 3D and complex.  I liked that they all had faults and redeeming qualities – it made them all feel more real, y'know?   I felt like all the characters had light and dark inside, each and every one.  Well, everyone except King Gaius of Limeros.  That man was pure evilness.  But let's forget that for the time being and speak about the characters I did like. 
Like Magnus, who was so brilliant – and really funny!  I felt so sorry for him though.  It was made worse by the fact I loved him from the moment he entered.  I don't know what made me fall in love with him so hard, but fall I did.  I loved his snark and bluntness and that hidden vulnerability beneath the bravado.  My heart broke for his own brokenness - I'd put you back together if I could, Magnus!
His sister Lucia was a sweet girl, stronger than she looked and so loving.  And I liked that she was strong in more than one way...
Now, Cleo was spoilt – a real stereotypical princess, if you know what I mean.  But there were these flashes of a better person, the woman we know she can become.  I absolutely loved seeing her grow – I just can't wait for the Cleo in the next book.  She will be formidable
Jonas, the poor boy, was just drowning in grief.  But he was so determined and loyal.  I loved how strong and sure he was.
As for the minor characters, well, I must say, when I started reading, I was worried about whether or not I'd be able to remember who was who.  But it was surprisingly easy after not long at all.  Plus, Miss Rhodes killed loads off, which helped.  But anyway, I adored sweet Nic, really liked Theon and absolutely loved Cleo's family. 
The relationships - I loved the bond between siblings Magnus and Lucia, even if it was a little, um, unconventional.  But I loved how they were always there for one another and trusted no one more than the other.  I loved the bond between sisters Cleo and Emilia too.  Some of the romantic bonds didn't feel quite as real as I'd like, but maybe that's because we didn't follow every one for every second – their bonds had time to grow when we weren't watching.  
Now, the writing was beautiful – like, seriously.  It was so wonderfully addictive and descriptive - I could see everything in my head.  I will say that at times the dialogue was a little off for the time period - I wouldn't really expect the word "jackass" to exist back then, for example.  But I didn't care.  I loved it all – how we read from Magus, Lucas, Cleo and Jonas' POVs, all in third person.  And the plot was so just rich and twisty.  No one was safe – Rhodes had a bit of a habit of killing people off.  I'd think they'd be a huge part of the story, then, bam!  Bye bye.  Even though I knew how trigger happy she was, one death in particular shocked me to the core - and really, really upset me too!  I loved that she could shock me like that.  I also loved how fast paced it was and how she twisted the stories together so effortlessly.  And near the end, when it REALLY kicked off?  Needless to say, I was just breathless and reading as fast as I possibly could! I NEED more!
The world was brilliantly built up - so beautiful.  I absolutely adored all the myth and legends and origins in the world.  And I loved seeing how all the different lands differed - and not just in religion or people.  The lands themselves.  Lush, green Auranos.  Barren, dying Paelsia.  The icy, frozen Limeros. 
I also loved that it was an epic fantasy that had a breathlessly fast pace, nonstop action and endless intrigue and twists.  It was a fantasy that was fun and didn't give you a headache as you tried to get to know the world.  It was just magical and full of court intrigue and very human problems.  I love it for that – and about a million more reasons. 
An epic fantasy full of magic, treachery, intrigue and power plays, Falling Kingdoms had me hooked start to finish.  Sure, it wasn’t perfect but it was completely addictive and fun to read.  I've been left absolutely stark-ravingly desperate for the next in the series.  I need more of the adrenaline, the pain, the excitement, the magic...  Just more of everything this book was about. 
As for whose side I'm on...  Well, I can’t choose.  I’m torn.  I love and hate people equally from both Limeros and Auranos and feel that I don’t know enough about Paelsia.   So, I guess I'll have to wait til the next book to decide.  Bring it on, Miss Rhodes!

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Throne of Glass by S.J. Maas
The Seven Kingdoms by Kristin Cashashore
The Black Magician Series by Trudi Canavan
Old Kingdoms Series by Garth Nix
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Penguin in exchange for an honest review


Anonymous said...

omg! this looks great!! i love fantasy novels haha! awesome review as usual! XD hope u had a wonderful holida (whatver you celebrate) and a very happy new year!

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