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...
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Source: Owned (Won a Signed Copy; Purchased a copy from Kobo)
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Purchase:This is ASoIaF for YA and I loved it so much. It had so much intrigue and was clearly well thought out. I was loving every second of it...ish. I liked the pacing, I thought that enough time had passed between point of views that it made sense while still ensuring that the reader knew what was happening. I liked that time passage was done by switching povs because it didn't feel like it was dragging then.
I liked that this didn't feel like a "First Book" where characters get introduced -- and that's it. Things happened, events occurred. The characters started off one way and grew and changed into someone new throughout this book. It didn't take them too long to do so, but it also felt natural. This book is very heavily character driven (which I love) but it still had really good world building and plot development too. I also really loved that there was such high stakes! You get this huge cast of characters in the beginning and I was overwhelmed, but tbh people die. So you can cross those names off all the time.
So onto those lovely characters...
Jonas: I thought Jonas's quest for vengeance was well directed. I think he let that burning fire guide every single action he did, until the very end. I feel like he was too much act first, think later and that irked me because he seemed to be very intelligent in his actions. It was as if he could think three steps ahead if it meant he would be closer to his getting revenge -- but didn't think about what the consequences of these actions may be. I am excited to see where his character and story will go from here. I think it was left on a good ending for him, but I would have liked a bit more planning on his and Cleo's part.
Cleo: Out of all the characters, I liked Cleo the best. She made rash decisions and went with her heart instead of her head for a lot of things, but she was still the most well-rounded character. She had believable character development that was extremely well-paced. I liked that out of the karass, she was the one who seems to be the one that will keep the group together and on track for what should happen. I think her familial relationships were so well written -- I loved her and her sister's interactions. I loved that while Cleo was a little immature and irresponsible, she would also go to the end's of the earth for her family. The only thing with Cleo is I would have liked a little more interaction between her and Theon before I could completely buy that they were in love. I just needed like maybe three more scenes to get to love. Like: yes, that was there. But not love for me. I am more than excited to see where she goes from here since she is a prisoner in her own home.
Magnus: *sighs* I kind of feel bad for Magnus. He has all this love to give but he's just directing it in the wrong place. I am glad that it wasn't actually his sister but it was still a little off to me. I think it was because it was clear to me that Lucia idolized Magnus and really looked up to him. I feel like I would have been more chill with it had they had a different dynamic as a brother-sister relationship. Idk. Poor Magnus. I do, however, think he is the character to watch in this series. I think he will go through the most change and have the best story line since he is trying to be his own person while living in his father's shadow. I really hope that he steps out and shines at some point.
Lucia: I feel like we didn't spend much time with her per say, since a lot of the time if we saw her it was through Magnus's pov. But I would have liked to see her more since I thought she was pretty integral to this part of the story. I think she will be the one of the karass that branches out to learn more before coming back to the centre. I do hope there is more from her to come. But I did like that she had to really learn and train herself with magic before she was able to do anything too large. And that when she did do something large, it took a lot out of her. REALISTIC MAGIC IS MY FAVOURITE THING EVER.
And the plot and worldbuilding?
It was well paced, with seamless transitions of time and location -- as well as between characters. I liked that it was spread out over the course of about 3-4 months because it made it really believable to the reader. I also feel like there is more to the story than just finding the Kindred. It was too heavily talked about in this one to be the only thing that the characters have to deal with and search for. I also think that King Gaius isn't the only big bad in the series. I feel like he is just one of them and the other is going to be 10x worse than him.
I loved that there weren't any infodumps. Everything was told through different povs and from different perspectives of things. There were some times that we got more information than others, but it wasn't pages and pages of information, it was catching up certain characters on events and what was to happen next.
This one was actually really good. I think I may have been a really harsh critic of it because it was so heavily recommended to me and had such good reviews that I wanted to see the other side of it. I also read a LOT of high fantasy so I have a lot to compare it to, but this one was just so good. I am definitely picking up the next one and reading it as soon as possible.
Here's a quote:
"If you want something, you have to take it. Because nobody's ever going to give it to you. So we're going to take back what's been taken from us. And then we'll create a better future for Paelsia. A better future for us all."