Friday, January 4, 2013

Review: Falling Kingdoms

Falling Kingdoms
By Morgan Rhodes
Published: December 11, 2012

My review:

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?

I wanted to read Falling Kingdoms because it was being promoted as "A Game of Thrones for teens". I knew going in that there was no way that it would match the level of George R.R. Martin's work so I was not disappointed.  There are some characters that would have fit right in at King's Landing, some of the story lines reminded me of A Game of Thrones and the chapters are told from the viewpoint of four main characters. The book also focuses on political themes and the power struggle between kingdoms which is similar but that is where the similarities end. 

The characters are not very likable though they did grow on me (some of them anyway). Cleo starts out as a spoiled princess though she isn't cruel and vindictive. She just lets things happen and allows someone too much control over her life. By the end she has realized her mistakes but it is too little too late. Lucia is kind of bland. I felt sorry for her though as she is a pawn. Jonas is a hothead and I hope he will become a better person in the next book. Magnus was just creepy in a spawn-of-Tywin-Lannister way.

In spite of the flaws, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Falling Kingdoms. It is something of a page turner and I think for those who would be intimidated by longer works of fantasy, it is only 400 pages long. I liked the political intrigue and trying to figure out what was going to happen. I would have enjoyed it more if there was more room for character development and if the characters were more likable but it was entertaining and I do plan to read the sequel. Falling Kingdoms is a darker political fantasy and while the writing and characterization are not on the same level as A Game of Thrones it is more similar in tone to that work than other YA fantasy making it perhaps best suited for more mature teens.

Note: I received an e-arc for review courtesy of Edelweiss


  1. I'm glad to hear it's no GoT as I find it a bit intimidating (I tried the first book but had to put it aside although I might get back to it at some point). I like the shorter page length of this book and feel more confident about tackling it.

  2. Lol! I love the comparison between Game of Thrones! And you're right, no book could live up to George R. R. Martin. Still, very curious about this book, so might end up reading it.

    Great review!


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