Friday, December 27, 2013

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes [Review]

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1) 4 out of 5 Robots!

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release: December 11, 2012
Hardcover: 412 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
The gripping New York Times bestseller that is Game of Thrones for teens

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?
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I've heard this described as "Game of Thrones Lite" and I think that's a pretty accurate description - there's even an incestuous plot line! (Although, don't let that put you off.  It is handled well and there is no actual incest, just some...misguided feelings).  I loved the level of complexity in the world building.  The tensions and maneuverings between the kingdoms was my favorite party.  I also liked the different characters and their storylines and that they span across the kingdoms, giving us a large worldview.  I liked how certain events were viewed differently by different characters.  Perhaps my favorite part was when the storylines start to converge and the pieces start to fit together.

The only thing is I didn't feel especially connected to the characters.  I didn't particularly like them nor did I completely dislike them.   I felt the characters took a back seat to the world building and it felt me feeling ambivalent about their fates.  But I think it is also hard to create so many storylines, characters, plots and world building in 400 pages without something giving.  I do think the sequel will alleviate some of the lack of character development because we will already know the characters and the world they inhabit and can spend more time in their back stories.  I think this is a great induction to high fantasy for teens, especially those who are hesitant to invest in a 900 page book.  I will definitely be back for the rest of the series!

Other books in this series in the order that they should be read:
1. Falling Kingdoms
2. Rebel Spring
3. Untitled (expected publication 2014)
4. Untitled (unknown publication)

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