This is brilliant. This is brilliant. This is brilliant.
That thought just bounced around in my head the whole time I was reading this. Even as it ripped my heart out and ripped it to shreds. Falling Kingdoms is one of the biggest surprise reads of the year. A tale of deceit, oppression, magic and love intricately woven, Falling Kingdoms will make you want to turn the page faster than you can read them.
Mytica is slowly giving in to rot, the magic of the land disappearing more and more each generation. The brutal death of a Paelsian causes unrest and outrage to the weak alliance between the kingdoms of Paelsia, Auranos and Limeros. War is on the horizon and blood will be spilled.
Princess Cleo of Auranos visited Paelsia with Lord Aron in search of best wine in Mytica. Spoiled and vain, she just wanted to leave Paelsia and return to the comfort of the Auranos castle. The faster she could leave, the faster she could ignore the poverty and strife her neighboring kingdom, Paelsia, suffers through. She stood by and did nothing, while Lord Aron murders the son of the wine seller. I didn't think I was going to like Cleo. How could I after what she did? But you know what, Cleo is kick-ass. She's stubborn and she won't take no for an answer. If she wants something, she is going to do whatever it takes to get it. She's had to loose so much to grow and mature, and I have no doubt that by the end of this series, she'll be one hell of a heroine.
Jonas Agallon just watched his brother die in the hands of a douchebag lord while the princess herself did nothing to stop it. He wants revenge. For the death of his brother. For the death and suffering he and his fellow Paelsians had to go through because Auranians choose turn a blind eye on the poverty that eats his kingdom. He's smart, cunning and brave. He's clearly the underdog but he will fight his ass off to give his family, and his people, a better life. Jonas didn't have as big of a presence as the other characters did but he made an impression. It looks like he's going to play a major role in the next. I cannot freaking wait.
Prince Magnus is the heir to the throne of Limeros. He stands next to his father, the King of Blood, as they surge into war against Auranos. Most see Magnus like the ruthless, uncaring royal his father, the King of Blood is. But he's not. He may have done bad things, made bad decisions but he's not a bad person. I found myself looking forward to his narrative the most. He loves his sister, Lucia, more than anything in the world. More than what a brother should feel for his sister. I look forward to seeing how their relationship move forward in the series.
I was worried at first because of the amount of the characters Rhodes focused on. Four major characters, four switching perspectives. That's a lot. I thought the narrative would bore me and I'd end up detached being detached from the characters. But the complete opposite happened. I can't even pick a favourite character because I love every single one of them. Everyone is so very flawed. They each have their own shortcomings, their own weaknesses and they've made their own mistakes. But they are good people, with emotions, thoughts and intentions unique to anyone else. Their character growth, just in this book alone, is unbelievable. Rhodes demonstrated what it means to have well-rounded, developed characters.
The romance never overpowered the core of the story. Apart from the one I mentioned between Magnus and Lucia, the other relationship was Cleo's. I admit, it was a tad insta-love but at that point, I didn't really care because, like I said, I loved everyone and I was crying and this is so good. Although it would have been nice to see more interaction between Cleo and her man. They were so cute together. Oh, I don't even know what to think of the romance that's suggested to brew in the second one. I have no doubt it'll be a good one but right now, everything is just a bit fresh and raw.
There is a good amount of action, blood and gore to satisfy readers. It escalated to a thrilling climax and the ending just left me wanting for more but it wasn't exactly a real cliffhanger. I mean, it was an end but I want the next book now.
I highly recommend this book to high fantasy fans. Falling Kingdoms is one new series I can add to my favourites and I am going to be the first in line for the next book in 2013. If I have to give an arm to get it, I will.
A copy from Penguin Books Australia was received in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms (1)
Release Date: 11 Dec 2012
Date Read: December 2012