Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Date: December 11th 2012
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?
Falling Kingdoms was the first book picked for the new YA Book Club I am now a part of and I couldn’t be happier that this one became a part of my life!
Right off the bat I was incredibly nervous and overwhelmed heading into it due to the large cast of characters listed at the beginning of the novel. Luckily, I was completely able to keep up with who was who and though I did use the guide a few times, I found it only helped me rather than deter me.
Princess Cleo has traveled from her prosperous kingdom of Auranos to the much poorer land of the middle kingdom, Paelsia, with the nobleman and one-time friend Aron, so he could buy some of their famously delicious wine. When Aron does not get his way he ends up in an argument with a local that soon escalates and leads to a murder. This starts a downward spiral between the kingdoms and ultimately leads to war. That’s the gist of it without getting into too many details.
Rhodes has given us the perspective of this war and the characters from all sides. This worked tremendously because it allowed us to see the good and bad in all the characters. Someone who is a villain in certain regards is also more personable, seen as someone at war with themselves and dealing with horrible personal struggles, allowing for us to connect with them in a way too and perhaps rooting for them to make a turnaround. I fell in love with so many of the characters and I was easily able to follow along with the world building. There were moments of complete shock that left my jaw dropped and moments of anguish, leaving me a mess with tears flowing down my face. And I loved every minute of it!
I am so thankful I gave this book a chance because I fell in love with its fantasy elements and cast of characters. There’s love, heartache, strife and even some magic. This is one I absolutely recommend!
“I never said she was evil. Nor was she good. Even in the darkest and most cruel person, there is still a kernel of good. And within the most perfect champion, there is also darkness. The question is, will one give in to the dark or the light? It’s something we decide with every choice we make, every day that we exist. What might not be evil to you could be evil to someone else. Knowing this makes us powerful even without magic.”