This book was definitely an interesting read for me. I have so many conflicting thoughts and feelings towards it, that my review might be a little all over the place. But after reading some of the other reviews on Goodreads for Morgan Rhodes’ Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdom, #1), I’m not the only one who had this kind of feelings towards this book.
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 realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….
I didn’t really have a problem with the writing style in this novel. It flowed well and the world-building was good, which is always very hit or miss when it comes to fantasy novels. However, I wouldn’t say it was amazing or anything. It’s a very straightforward style that lacks some of the lyrical quality that you might associate with authors like Laini Taylor or Emily Henry. For me personally, I enjoy this kind sometimes more than the flowery prose and thought it worked well for this story.
But these characters.. *cue eye roll* I had a very hard time connecting with the majority of the characters. The male characters were all kind of terrible people. I’m not sure if Rhodes did that on purpose to really give them some character development throughout the series or what, but I didn’t particularly like that. I like to be able to sympathize with my characters somewhat if you’re going to make them antiheroes and I felt like that connection was lacking here with the guys.
Magnus’ family life has affected his personality causing him to be withdrawn, manipulative, vindictive, and really just an asshole in general. I’m not really sure what to expect from him as the series moves on. Then you have Jonas, who is only after vengeance and is a bit of whiner. He’s that one guy in the group who every time something good happens to someone else, he gets all moody and makes snarky comments because he’s jealous. Yeah, that’s this kid. But luckily, we also get Cleo’s POV in this book and boy, do we need it. She’s feisty, independent, and isn’t afraid to do what she feels needs to be done even if it means going against what she’s told. I really felt like she was the saving grace character and I thoroughly enjoyed her chapters. All hail, Princess Cleo! As for Lucia, I didn’t feel like she was present enough to really get to know her. She was just a puppet being used to move others narratives forward, without really having her own.
I will say that the actual plot is very interesting. There are so many moving pieces and different stories all within one overarching plot, that you can see why people refer to this series as the YA version of Game of Thrones. I love stories that are full of political intrigue and high stakes. I definitely think that that’s where this story really shines. Even though I wasn’t really invested in most of the characters, I didn’t want to put this book down because I had to know what was going to happen next. Just don’t expect much in the ways of the romance, because one is creepy cringey and the other is cheesy cringey. And I wish that I was lying about that too, because I always enjoy some romance in my stories.
Overall, this book definitely has equally good and bad parts to it. I really enjoyed the plot and political intrigue, but I had a hard time enjoying almost all of the characters. However, I’m really hoping that as the series moves along, the characters will develop more and will become easier to connect with. I plan to continue with the series because I’m really interested in seeing where the plot goes from here, as the ending really left us on a cliffhanger and is potentially setting up some interesting interactions in the next book. Here’s hoping at least!
Final Verdict: 3/5 Stars
Have you read Falling Kingdoms? If so, what did you think about it? Did you have as hard of a time connecting with the characters as I did? Does this series get better as it goes along?