Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes
Summary (via 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.
The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.
Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.
Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...."
My Spoiler-Free Review (also on Goodreads):
First off, I have to say: it's been two weeks since I read this book and I still can't get it out of my mind. There were so many aspects of this book that made it hard for me to stop thinking about it! Twists and turns, surprises around every corner. Several of them I did not see coming. And let me tell you this: in the land of Mytica, no one, not even your favorite characters, are safe...
In Falling Kingdoms, we follow several different character perspectives. I thought this would get confusing, since I don't read too many books with multiple perspectives, but I had no problem at all distinguishing the separate character voices and plots.
The characters we follow are:
Cleiona Bellos: The feisty youngest princess of the land of Auranos. I really enjoyed reading from her point of view, and I have to say she was one of my favorite characters! I liked how if she wanted something done, she would get it done, and wouldn't let anyone stop her or get in her way. Although she could be selfish and reckless at times, I have a feeling she will really get a lot of character development in future books.
Jonas Agallon: The rebel from the land of Paelsia. Oh, Jonas. I should have loved you, but I just felt no connection. His chapters were probably my least favorite, but his determination and dedication were extremely admirable. Hopefully in the future I will grow to love him!
Magnus Damora: The crown prince and heir to the land of Limeros. So many people love him. I liked him, but there was a certain (slightly spoiler-y so I won't include it here) aspect that I just found to be slightly creepy. I did like his character though and I think I might have liked his chapters the best. It's hard to say whether I liked his or Cleo's better.
Lucia Damora: The princess of the land of Limeros and younger sister to Magnus. Lucia was an interesting character. She was the only one of the core four who didn't have any desire to fight. She was young and innocent and I very much liked her. But just because she didn't want to fight didn't mean she didn't lose her temper and blast people out of her way when angry. I have a feeling she too will change vastly in the next books.
There were a couple other point of view's that we got glimpses of, but we never really got into their heads like we did with the "core four".
As for the plot of this book? I loved it. It was exactly what I love in a good fantasy novel. Although I've never read or watched anything Game of Thrones, I've heard Falling Kingdoms compared to it many times, and I think, based off what I do know, that it's a worthy comparison. There's multiple point of views, there's romance, there's war, there's brewing tensions, and there's definitely plenty of bloodshed.
The bloodshed was part of what made this book stand out from the other dozens of YA Fantasy that I've read this year. Sometimes, to me, it feels like characters in books are invincible. In this book, that's not the case.
I've begun rambling, I can feel it, so I'll make a few last, quick, points about this book. The worldbuilding was done so well that it felt like I could be transported to Mytica if I just closed my eyes. This is a world that's falling apart, that's for sure (hence the title of the series), and I honestly have no idea in what direction the series will go. No matter what happens, it'll be a surprise to me, I'm sure!
Despite it's decent size (412 pages), Falling Kingdoms was a book I devoured in just two days. It was full of action, and each new revelation had me turning the pages eagerly. I was so sad when I came to the end of this book. Luckily for me, it's going to be a six-book series, so I will have plenty of chance to return to this world in the future!
Short and Sweet Thoughts: Probably one of my favorite books of the year, Falling Kingdoms was the first in a YA Fantasy series, full of fleshed-out, interesting characters, and surprises that kept me turning the pages deep into the night.
My Rating: 5/5 stars