Book Review: Falling Kingdoms

Falling Kingdoms
(Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Published By: Razorbill
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Page Count: 412 pages
Source:  Purchased by Reviewer
Audience:  Young Adult Fantasy

What a pleasant surprise I found in Falling Kingdoms.  I don't really know what I was expecting but this has become a favourite.  I’ve met the author, Morgan Rhodes (aka Michelle Rowan), at a few author events, and it was at the last one when I first learned of this series of hers and picked it up.  And then it sat on my shelf for a time until two weeks ago when I found I was really in the mood for some high fantasy.  Was my craving quenched!  I've heard this series described as sort of like The Game of Thrones for the YA audience.  I think that is a pretty accurate description.  Three lands, each ruled by kings/chieftans of varying degrees of corruptness, and their successors coming of age while a pretty big conflict is brewing following a seemingly innocuous trip to one of the lands by one of the major characters and her entourage that ended in an incident that set the wheels in motion for an all-out-war.

Lots and lots of scheming, tenuous alliances, betrayals, conflicts, romance and magic make up this intriguing first installment.  It hooked me pretty much from the start and kept my interest throughout.

Falling Kingdoms was told from various points of view (third person), but it was clear by the end of this first book there were to be four major players in this story…Princess Cleo, Princess Lucia, Prince Magnus and Jonas Agallon.

For me, what makes a really good story, is watching characters evolve and each one did just that.  Princess Cleo started off as a privileged and naive royal, without a real clue as to what was going on outside the palace walls.  She was ignorant but that was not entirely her fault as she was sheltered quite a bit by her father, King Corvin of Auranos.  Her transformation following a very cathartic incident however, and that transformation was impressive.  I loved who she became by the end of this installment.

Princess Lucia has her own awakening…in more ways than one.  However, I cannot divulge too much because she was very integral to the story’s plot and mentioning specifics would give a lot away.  Although she was intentionally kept in the dark throughout much of the story so far, I suspect she will become a force to be reckoned with as the story progresses...and I bet she toughens up as well.

Prince Magnus was Lucia’s brother, confident, and…  Well, again, I cannot really go there without divulging a major plot point.  Suffice it to say here, Magnus and Lucia were very close.  Magnus was the conflicted son of King Gaius of Limeros, a rather violent, blood thirsty monarch, who ruled by fear and intimidation.  Magnus half hated him and half wanted to please him.  He was brought up under an iron fist, but found that the best persona to serve him was one of indifference.  But that was a hard mask for him to keep up all the time as he really was quite passionate underneath.  Magnus was a boy with many layers…and I quite liked him despite his faults.  I’m anxious to see how he evolves.

Jonas hailed from the very oppressed land of Paelsia.  He was also a passionate young man, but his passion was one of hate.  He hated what had happened to his family and those who he believed to be responsible.  He set out to avenge a terrible wrong and invariably became another spoke in the churning wheels of war.  But I see in him potential to rise above all that hate as we saw glimpses of an awakening in him too.  Once he set off on his journey, his eyes were opened as well…things were not necessarily how he thought they always were.  Again, another character I can’t wait to see develop more.

And the author had no trouble sacrificing some characters that I thought were going to be major players...just like in Game of Thrones.  One especially broke my heart.  Some were shocking and some I saw coming.  There was also a large magical element present that added wonderfully to this high fantasy story.

Thankfully, the next couple of books are already out, so I don’t have to wait for the next installment.  I will most definitely be carrying on with this series!  Loved it!

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.

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....




  1. I don't know why, but I keep putting this one off. I am sooo intrigued and want to read it so badly, but I always end up having to take it back to the library. I'm still not sure I'll love it, though, so I don't want to spend the money on it. *le sigh* Anyway - I love what you said about Magnus, that he has a hard mask on but he is passionate underneath. Those kinds of characters are often my favorites! Also the fact that two of the MCs are brother and sister...this excites me! So you've definitely raised my interest level...maybe I will be more keen on reading it when I next get it from the library.

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

    1. Sierra, I was the same. I've had it on my shelf for ages! I think, when the mood strikes, you will enjoy it most. The first book was an awesome read and I'm enjoying book 2 just as much so far! Let me know what you think once you do start reading it!

    2. I actually bought it the other day because your review was so awesome!! Like, now I'm *really* excited to get to it soon. Maybe I will start it next week!! I'll leave a link to my review here (hopefully I'll remember) once I read it/write one. :)

    3. That would be awesome! Have fun reading!

      P.S. Book two is good so far as well!

  2. I just bought this for my kindle! Great review Michele, you've won me over to give it a try!

    1. Hey!! Awesome! Anxious to hear what you think! It's not the best fantasy I've read but it's good (IMO).


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