Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Pages: 412 pages
Acquired format: Hardcover
Publisher: Razorbill
Published on: December 11th 2012
Source: Purchased from Fully Booked
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

(Summary from Goodreads)


I think that this counts as one of those times when people tell us not to judge a book by its cover because you have to agree with me, Falling Kingdoms has one really badass cover. Very Assassin's Creed-like, from the hooded cloak  down to the shiny font, it just screams DEATH. CONSPIRACIES. BETRAYAL. And while Falling Kingdoms has a lot of those things, it still doesn't prevent it from having a lot of shortcomings. I honestly thought that I would love this book and I found it so hard to believe that I didn't because I'm an insanely easy person to please so it means that 99.99% of the time I give books high ratings because I don't really ask for a lot (compared to Ms. Drill Sergeant Geraldine. Haha!) So it really came as a shock to me that I didn't enjoy Falling Kingdoms and I feel really because a couple of my blogger friends really enjoyed it and I didn't. Giving low ratings always make me feel guilty afterwards. But moving on...

Once you crack open your copy of Falling Kingdoms, you'll be introduced to Lucia's story and this will come very obviously to you because it's in the book's synopsis that she's a sorceress. Lucia is pretty much the most powerful character in this book and she could basically kill everyone if she wanted to but unfortunately, our lovely little princess isn't like that. Lucia is the princess of Limeros, the Northern Kingdom which is ruled by a very disturbed and very evil king named Gaius aka King of Blood (yaaay!) Suffice to say, King Gaius is a very, very bad man who plans on doing very, very bad things to the Northern Kingdom, Auranos. And this is the part that really pissed me off because while Lucia may have been blessed with insanely awesome powers, she has no backbone whatsoever. I think the only time it grew out was when ..... ...... (no spoilers!) her and she told him off but that's it. She literally just allows people to push her into doing what they want her to do and the worst part is that she's okay with being used like that! Those people ......... you for goodness sake! All that power used to serve a greedy man's purpose. Tsk tsk. I really expected so much from Lucia but she came out flat and all-in-all, very annoying. I can actually imagine her prancing in a field of flowers with birds chirping and animals surrounding her, she's that harmless. When you give this much power to someone, please at least hand it to someone who's a certified badass.

I'll keep Magnus' part short. Magnus, by the way, is Lucia's (fake) older brother. "Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword..." I'll let you ponder on this one because trust me, once you find out what the highlighted part means, you'll just be disturbed... Though I did feel bad for Magnus because being an constant disappointment to your father must be really tiring. I felt that he had it worse compared to his sister because people expect so much from the future king and when it's blatantly obvious that you're own father doesn't approve of you, it really hits you right where it hurts. And I understand that the only way he can protect his true feelings is by being a bigger a-hole than his father (which is already a feat in itself.) I actually found it pretty amusing every time he would run away any of Lucia's suitors because it's a sign of his love for his sister, and she needs someone to protect her since she obviously can't do it herself. Delicate princess that she is. I honestly don't know whether to classify him as a bad guy or not but he's definitely something along those lines, he's a good/bad guy. Hm.

Cleo's story was the easiest one to swallow for me even though it started out all tragic and ended that way too. Behind Cleo's snobbish royal spoilt-brat facade is a girl who is just so misunderstood by the people. That every time she whines or puts on her stubborn hat, she does it because there is something that she's fighting for and she really means well. I honestly though that she'd be a brat throughout the whole book but apparently not (and trust me, she's got a backbone bigger than anything Lucia could ever dream of.) I loved Cleo's relationship with her sister, Emilia, the way she sought her counsel and the fact that even though they both have very different personalities, they still find things that they do agree on. The moments Cleo had with Emilia were definitely one of my most favorite scenes, they were so heartwarming. I feel like the only person Cleo needed to learn to stand up to was Lord Aron the Douche, someone who drinks alcohol like it's water shouldn't even be allowed to leave his house. I mean, seriously. I understand that Cleo has a huge secret that might jeopardize her princessdom but I still think that she should have stood up to him during the countless of times he was being a douchebag towards her. And can I just say? I absolutely adore Theon. I felt like Cleo and Theon had a Elisa/Hector relationship going on and it was very sweet. Hee!

And lastly, there was Jonas. I understand that he had every right to get pissed that his brother was killed but that honestly did not mean that he had to stage a war against another kingdom. I just feel like the death of his brother was blown out of proportion, he could have just killed the guy who murdered his brother and that would've been it but noooo, he just had to start a revolution that killed way more than just one person. Hundreds or maybe thousands of lives were destroyed because of what happened and I just can't but point my finger at Jonas for this. And don't get me started on his obsession with Cleo, it's not even just about loathing her very existence anymore.... I guess the saying "The more you hate, the more you love" really just applies to this. Though I will say Jonas' parts were pretty exciting because of all the death that happened (wheeee, death!) Sometimes, you just really need to listen to your father.

I think I get why people compared this to The Game of Thrones, it's definitely similar to it. From the switching characters POVs and what roles they play in the book and the fact that it's High Fantasy makes sense but I honestly would not compare it's greatness with The Game of Thrones, just no. I felt that there really was something lacking with the story, I really wanted more elaboration regarding the Kindred and what they can really do. I felt that the characters roles weren't played as well as they should have been and since they're all pretty important, they really were the key components of the book. Oh and can I just say, that ending was absolutely horrible it wasn't even because it was cliffhanger (and it sooo was,) it was because of the fact that what happened at the end of the book may be the most annoying I have ever read. I actually thought that it might end in a really cool way, that .... might start a revolt or join a circus or something exciting but noooo, the worst possible thing happened. I don't even know what's going to happen anymore... This book had so much potential and I really wanted to enjoy it but I couldn't. I just really hope that the next book is better than this one because I guarantee you that I will be reading that bad boy to see how Morgan Rhodes redeems herself. Though I have to say kudos to her for not messing up the multiple POVs, they were well-written and I didn't get confused at all so yay! 


1 comment:

  1. Nice honest review! Have been hearing good things on this one and received it for Xmas! Cannot wait to get to it myself! Hopefully it lives up to my expectations!