Format ~ ARC
Publisher ~ Razorbill
Source ~ Publisher for 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:Morgan Rhodes' high fantasy debut, Falling Kingdoms, as stated on the back cover, is perfect for younger fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga. The plots are very similar and there are characters that play practically the same role as characters play in Martin's novels. So in short, if you love Game of Thrones but maybe don't love all the violence, sex, and language, Falling Kingdoms is definitely the book for you. Regardless of similarities to Martin, Falling Kingdoms wasn't a half-bad read for me either.
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?
(taken from Goodreads)
The book is told through the eyes of four different young people in from three different kingdoms, Auranos, Paelisa, and Limeros. Having different characters narrate the story is definitely something I want to see more of in YA. However, Rhodes gives us four equally lovable characters from three different sides in a war, which makes it hard for you to choose sides. From the reader's point of view, it's just very goddamn annoying when you don't know who to root for. I understand if the author wants to mess with our minds, but when the book is having a massive showdown between sides, in my opinion, you want us readers to have someone they want to lose and someone they want to win. None of the narrators were people I strongly didn't like, so it just ends up with you wondering how to choose your side. Because when all I feel as a reader is indifference, I'm not very enthralled.
The settings in Rhodes' story and the words she used to describe them were one of the highlights for me. Every scene was a beautifully painted canvas with lush describing words to enhance the story and make you feel like you were there, seeing, hearing, smelling, and even tasting the scene for yourself.
Though it may of been hard to make up your mind of which of the kids you liked, the adults are pretty easy to form an opinion on, and that opinion for me was they were all utter bastards. A bunch of manipulative, lying, self-serving, blood thirsty rulers who didn't care about anyone but themselves and their quest for land and power.
The action is written in a very high-stakes format with lots of (non-gory) violence and adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat and blood pumping through your vanes. Action scenes in books and movies often bore me, but Rhodes does an excellent job of keeping things entertaining.
Though there was some romance, Falling Kingdoms was a bit of a breathe of fresh air in the young adult genre, as romance was not a huge part of the story and didn't take up that much of our time. Though I have no problem with romance, it's nice when it's not always forefront. Interesting relationships did develop though.
In short, Falling Kingdoms will be eaten up by the bucket-load for high fantasy addicts. As for the rest of us, it's does make for a fun, somewhat-enjoyable read.
This cover is one of my favorite released this year! I love the use of blues, grays, and blacks, along with the hooded figure. Nice job, Razorbill design team!