Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.
This book didn’t exactly meet my expectations, but my hopes weren’t too high and so I wasn’t too disappointed when Falling Kingdoms failed to please. First of all, I read this book because of frequent recommendations on Goodreads, and seeing it on other blogs matched with some of my favorite books, such as Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima.
Series: Falling Kingdoms, Book 1
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance, Adventure, War
Rating: 3 stars
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….
This book didn’t exactly meet my expectations, but my hopes weren’t too high and so I wasn’t too disappointed when Falling Kingdoms failed to please. First of all, I read this book because of frequent recommendations on Goodreads, and seeing it on other blogs matched with some of my favorite books, such as Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. I agree that those books are very similar, and highly recommend them in general, but I found that Falling Kingdoms didn’t quite reach their level.
I know you shouldn’t judge books by their cover — and I did read the book anyway, but the cover of this book always confuses me. I couldn’t stop seeing it as a beheaded person when I just glance at it, instead of a bent over hooded figure holding a knife in a strange way that would have no effect at all.
This book is one of those that proves why I normally (although lately there have been many exceptions) dislike changing perspectives — because I tend to form favorites and least favorites, and then stop reading for a while when I get to a character I don’t like so much, in this case Jonas and Alexius. In addition, I kept getting the two kings mixed up while reading: King Corvin Bellos of Auranos, and King Gaius Damora of Limeros. At least the author provides list of the cast of characters at the beginning of the book — although it is sometimes hard to use and understand because character’s roles change so much in a book (which is good!), but the list shouldn’t have any spoilers either.
Some parts of this book were well written, but I found most of it typical and predictable. In addition, I found it hard to love any of the characters, and certainly didn’t grieve any of their deaths (and saw them coming from a mile off, too). I did like how this book had so many deaths of major characters, though. Although it sounds gory, that is one thing I like about the young adult genre — that authors aren’t afraid to kill off main characters, instead of having them predictably and miraculously survive any death or injury. For me that is one of the main differences between middle grade and young adult books.
My final problem with this book is that the romance was quite strange. First of all (spoilers for the first few pages only), one boy begins to fall in love with his sister, who we know (but he doesn’t) is actually adopted. Secondly, another girl falls in love with a guard in only a few days, and the guard’s father was previously romantically involved with her older sister. Also, the romances felt weak and sudden and not very realistic or believable, but I suppose there was good reason for that…
All things considered, Falling Kingdoms was a weak fantasy book that kept me reading but only because of my genre challenge. I will not be reading the rest of this series, but think I can easily find a similar and better written series to quench my fantasy thirst, such as Eon by Allison Goodman, next on my fantasy genre challenge list.
Genre Review: Fantasy
Fantasy is one of my favorite genres. After reading Falling Kingdoms, I see that it fits better into the more precise genre of High Fantasy, with lots of world building, a large cast of characters with multiple main characters, romance, and often war. I think the genre was one of the only reasons I gave this book 3 stars. Although the writing and plot were weak, the characters and their relationships were strange, and the book in general slow and boring, I love fantasy on principle and enjoyed the fantasy world Morgan Rhodes concocted for us.