Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

*This review includes some spoilers.* 

“Even in the darkest and most cruel person, there is still a kernel of good. And within the most perfect champion, there is darkness. The question is, will one give in to the dark or the light? It’s something we decide with every choice we make, every day that we exist.”

falling kingdoms

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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. 

Feelings: This book has been sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust for MONTHS. I’m SO glad that I finally picked it up. Ain’t nobody safe, y’all! This book’s hair is full of secrets and betrayal and death and I really enjoyed it. Don’t judge me. If I can survive George R.R. Martin’s books and all the death, I can survive anything. He’s hardened my heart towards fictional characters. I was sad when characters started dying in Falling Kingdoms, but I didn’t mourn them. I was like, “Aww. Theon”…annndddd moving on.

Issues: Honestly, the only issue I had was that some things clicked into place or were solved a little too easily. The first example that comes to mind is when Jonas was super motivated to find the Chieftan and lay down this great plan of revolution, then he just walks in and boom…the Chieftan’s all, “Yep…that’s the plan. Great idea. You should come with me while we conquer Auranos.” WHAT? Just like that? Another example would be when Theon went to save Cleo. Walking down the road…there’s Nic…oh okay that’s where Cleo is? Knocks a few guys out and rescues her. Just. Like. That. Predictability kind of goes in that same vein. While not everything was predictable, most things were.

Okay, maybe I had one more issue. 60% of what the characters said felt like it was coming from a fortune cookie or a motivational calendar. Some phrases kind of had me rolling my eyes and saying, “Really? Really?!” I’m all about characters being philosophical…but I don’t need it that often.

Characters: One thing that was especially interesting was how Rhodes showed the various characters through the POV narrators. In one chapter we saw Cleo’s hatred for Aron and her regret and disgust at how he wronged Tomas, then we turn the page and see Jonas’ POV, seeing Cleo as calculating and cold, reveling in the blood of his brother. These duplicitous points of view make it so that no one is a trustworthy narrator and you’re constantly flipping your opinions of people back and forth. I actually enjoy that!

Marcus has got some serious issues. Yes, he’s in love with his sister, but she’s not his blood relation. But the weirdness remains because they were raised as siblings. Since she doesn’t return those feelings, I really think this is something that’s going to fade away. I don’t think it’s going to turn into a central plot element like the Lannister twins in Game of Thrones. When Lucia rejects Magnus, it drives him to cold, reckless actions moving his character development along. I don’t expect anything to come of his feelings.

Poor Cleo. The healing seeds…SHE HAD THEM THE WHOLE TIME?? Cleo’s suffered the most loss out of all the other characters. She’s about to rise up like a freaking phoenix and SLAY.

Comparisons: Plot-wise, this is a typical high fantasy story. Kingdom against kingdom, plotting, political turmoil, struggling heirs, and serious family drama. At first, as per usual in high fantasy, it was hard to keep track of characters and which kingdom they lived in. But after a little while, each kingdom took on a personality and I could easily remember which royal family (or wronged peasant family) belonged where. It was like something just clicked.

Predictions: I’ve added this new bolded category because this book requires it.  My #1 prediction is that Jonas and Cleo will team up to lead a rebellion and they’ll search for the Kindred. There may even be a bit of love triangle if Magus decides he wants to go after Cleo. #2: Alexius will leave the Sanctuary and fall in love with Lucia.

Final thoughts: This book was fast-paced, unpredictable, and entertaining. I have a few predictions about where the series is going, but I expect I’ll be wrong 5 times over. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next book has in store.

Pick this up if you liked: If you haven’t read a lot of high fantasy, I’d recommend this series to you. It’s easy to get in to and the magical elements are easy to understand.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (read my review here)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Goodreads rating: 3.85/5

Amazon.com rating: 4/5

My rating: 4.25/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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