Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Published on December 11, 2012 by Razorbill
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.Okay, so in a way this book managed to keep its promise, which is the promise of every book: to be entertainment and make me want to keep reading it. But fantasy books have a little bit more than this to achieve, like great world building, complicated political games, develop a magical system complex and believable enough and the characters of course - Falling Kingdoms sets out to do all of these, but unfortunately ends up falling short on its premise.
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....
The factor that keep me reading this and made me want to continue with the series is definitely the writing, it was really easy to get sucked into the story and read over 100 pages on one sitting (keep in mind I'm not a fast reader). Other factor was the "wow" factor (is this a thing? now is gonna be), this story takes a lot of turns and twists, fair enough most of them are easily seem a mile away but still was fun seeing all of this unravel, also Rhodes is ruthless with her characters, she doesn't shy away of killing them off - even named ones.
But taking that away I don't really have much more good to say, the rest of this book can be summed up on one word: shallow. The world building is shallow, we basically have a map, divided on three parts, each with one different name and a different geography and that's it - I'm sorry but that is easily done on paint in 5 minutes or less, if a book wants to be pitched as high fantasy it needs to try harder. Other thing that really bothered me was the political stuff on this book, specially the leaders of these kingdoms - they are suppose to lead an entire kingdom but 3 out of 3 can't take their nose out of their own buts to look outside their palaces and see what the reality of their kingdom and the other are! Like seriously, there was times when I would be like "HOW THE FUCK YOU DIDN'T KNEW THAT? EVEN I KNEW THAT AND I'M ON THIS WORLD FOR LIKE 5 SECONDS" so yeah, and what pisses me more is that this was used a LOT to make characterization and/or move the plot.
Let's just not even get started on the magical system it just no, is the political games but worse because it doesn't even try. The characters on the other hand I do want to talk about, so they're shallow too, like don't come here expecting great character arcs because ain't gonna be there to find. Our main characters are: Cleo, the princess, starts off as just a pretty face and them passes through some hard stuff and has to grown up, that is fine but she also gets into a instalove that made want to puke; Jonas, the rebel, who could use a little bit more of character tropes, expect not, seriously imagine all the qualities necessary for the noble hero of a fantasy series, that is Jonas; Lucia, the sorceress, who is supposed to be super magical special snow flake but is actually boring as hell; and Magnus, the heir to one of the kingdoms, which is a slight more fascinating character, predictable and too much daddy issues but still out of the bunch him and Cleo are my favorites.
I wouldn't recommend this book for lovers of high fantasy and/or people looking for something like Game of thrones and the likes, but I do think that people new to fantasy and younger readers could enjoy this one it could work as an initiation ritual you know, to get used to what fantasy is like without the possibility of being confused.