Series Review – Falling Kingdoms #1-3 by Morgan Rhodes

book-review-falling-kingdoms-1-3

Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring and Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Publication: December 11th 2012, December 3rd 2013 and December 9th 2014

Publisher: Razorbill

Format: Kindle Edition 400 pages, Kindle Edition 416 pages and Kindle Edition 416 pages

Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: January, June and July 2016

Morgan RhodesGoodreads

Falling Kingdoms Cover Falling Kingdoms

4 Stars

Synopsis
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 realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
boring in the beginning, different elements like lots of fucking death, magic, mystery, betrayals, and war, there are a lot of local folktales and legends that kind of set up the magic system and the conflict, the ending for me was predictable but I still ended up enjoying myself while reading.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
easy to read, flies by, engaging, mysterious, lots of different and distinct POVs, really visual and descriptive, but has a tendency to repeat phrases

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Everyone knows this series has a lot of characters so I’m going to talk about each of them.
Cleo annoyed me at first. She’s really petulant and spoiled which makes sense because of her life. However, she’s fierce and protective of her family, she loves them so much and she’s determined to get her life back.
Magnus is kind of a douche. I did not like him because he’s super arrogant and cold. He’s a bit self-centered and has some questionable desires but he also has a sensitive soul. And he doubts his decisions constantly which I have to say made me feel a little bad for him.
Lucia is kind of bland. She’s really sweet and caring but extremely sheltered. She’s neglected a bit by her family and when things start changing for her, she doesn’t really have anyone to turn to. Her emotions are all over the place and she’s pretty powerful but we’ll see how she handles it.
Jonas is just lost. Poor guy. His life is turned upside down after the death of his brother and his desire for revenge pulls him into this half-ass attempted at revolution that doesn’t end up turning out like he hoped. I really want him to catch a break.

Rebel Spring Cover

Rebel Spring

4.5 Stars

Synopsis
The road to power…is paved with blood and magic.
Cleo
is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people.
Magnus stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia.
Lucia is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms.
Jonas watched at the palace gates a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius.
After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over….
At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas’s hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia’s, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus’s, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.
When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius’s road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
much more exciting than the first one but still boring beginning, it’s full of action, betrayals, magic, violence and death, the folklore and legends are developed and expanded on, this one is also much darker than the first book, the world building is also much greater in this one

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
multiple and distinct POVs, visual, descriptive, engaging, easy to read, more fast paced though the beginning is still slow, the author tends to use declarations of love/romance and deaths as shock factors which become sort of predictable after awhile

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Cleo is definitely getting a bit of backbone in this book. She’s got her vengeful spirit on and she’s fierce against the people she does not like. However, she can get easily distracted from her goal by other things and she gets easily persuaded by other people. Yet I loved her determination and I hope she succeeds.
Oh Magnus. He’s still a little arrogant douche but he has a vulnerable side that is slowly coming out. He kind of gets kicked around a lot and he has a wounded pride. But he’s still fierce and determined to be a badass. But I don’t know how I feel about him completely.
Lucia just makes me want to give her a poor hug. She’s lost and vulnerable and doesn’t really have anyone to talk to. Her powers are beyond her control and there isn’t anyone around who can explain things to her but I feel like she will become a force to be reckoned with.
Jonas just can’t catch a break. He lets his emotions get the better of him and is always angry. He makes decisions and jumps into dangerous situations without thinking them through rationally. He’s definitely not the smartest rebel leader but his heart is in the right place.

Gathering Darkness Cover

Gathering Darkness

4.5 Stars

Synopsis
In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:
Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred – the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic…
• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.
• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic – all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.
• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.
The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
boring/slow in the beginning, picks up a lot in the second half, full of action, death (though not as much as usual), violence and magic, the plot is full of twists and turns that I didn’t expect, there’s alliances, betrayals, but I still felt like some things were predictable

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I have to repeat myself but that’s okay, multiply POVs, visual, descriptive, detailed, engaging, easy to read, but the many POVs also give a lot of plots points away

Characters – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Cleo is taking some backward steps in this book. I loved her tenacity in RS but in this book she’s a bit too trusting with the people around her. She’s getting desperate and making mistakes in what she says and who she confides in. She’s still determined but I feel like she’ll need more power before being able to get what she wants.
Magnus started to win me over a bit in this book. He’s still super arrogant but now it feels more like a front to get ahead. He’s a lot more emotional and vulnerable, at least to himself. But he’s smart and cunning and has a lot more power.
Lucia is annoying the crap out of me. Here’s this chick with more power than anyone else and she’s pretty much wasting it. She’s naive and easily manipulated by everyone around her and I mean everyone. It’s almost pathetic to be honest.
Jonas just does not have any luck whatsoever. He has the best intentions, he’s doing everything he to save his people from slavery basically. But his plans are too outrageous, he doesn’t think them through and the executions always end up biting him in the ass.

Emotionally

There is so much hype for this series that I expected a lot more. The first book was underwhelming, the second one was a bit better and by the third one I realized I have a love/hate relationship with this series.

The first book was supposed to be much more exciting in my opinion. The plot is solid. We follow a group of characters as their lives turned upside down because of poverty, a looming war and the search for magic. The beginning of this book was a bit boring to be quite honest. I wanted to be automatically swept away into this world and that did not happen at all. I feel like the world building was done well. I could clearly picture the three different kingdoms in this world with their similarities and differences. Though at times, it felt like there was a lot of emphasis placed on the contrast of them to be able to describe them so well. All of them are really different but there is something that is intriguing about all of them specially because of their connections to each other and the criss crossed political lines they weave. Slowly but surely the pace picked up and toward the middle and beyond there was more action and intrigue, magic and death. I was pretty much warned about the constant deaths in this book but honestly, some still caught me completely off guard. From the middle point on to the end, the story was more fast paced and I enjoyed it a lot more. Then there were the characters and I have to say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of any of them in this book. Cleo is the character that you get when a princess isn’t in line for the throne. She’s petulant and spoiled and even her biggest problems aren’t that big of a deal in the beginning. I was not a fan of how she threw herself into dangerous situations without thinking them through or the fact that she fell in insta love really freaking quickly, but she managed to win me over with her love and devotion to her friends and family. I was definitely not Magnus’ fan in this book either. He’s really arrogant, distasteful and kind of a douche. But it doesn’t even come from a genuine rudeness. He just wants to suck up to his Dad and I feel like he could’ve had better motivations to be the way he is. Jonas is probably the smartest character in this first book. Because of his circumstances, he catches trickery and lies much faster than the rest of them. He knows what’s up but is not that good at stopping it. And then there’s Lucia, who I believe is way too clueless, naive and sweet to be a part of this series. From what I saw in this first book, she needs a freaking backbone and some glasses because not only do other people walk all over her but they manipulate her quite easily as well. That was a bit disappointing but those last few chapters blew the away.

After not really loving the first book, I didn’t know what to expect from the second book but I’m glad I enjoyed it a lot more. The plot is dark. We’re back in Mytica with our eclectic cast of characters. Each are in different stages within the plot but they’re all constantly in danger. There are so many different things going on all at once that it almost became too much to keep up with. The rebel cause has started growing but they don’t have the man power or the courage to start making any real difference in their situations. The world itself and how the author built it in this book was a lot more in depth. We are traveling deeper into each kingdom so we get to see more of the lives of the people who aren’t directly in the plot. We’re also given a lot more insight into the magic system. The prophecy, what certain things are used for and how much each character knows about it all comes together and it’s really interesting to see how far apart but close they all are. Even with all of that, the plot was still slow in the beginning and I’m not completely sold on the story. The tension and high stakes are missing for me. There are so many different POVs that as a reader, I feel all knowing and that makes it so not even the plot twists surprise me anymore. I know there’s going to be a lot of deaths, I know things won’t happen the way they’re planned and it takes away from my overall enjoyment of the book. Yet I’m still intrigued and interested to see how things will play out in the next book. Cleo is definitely much more tolerable in this book. She’s kind of between a rock and a hard place considering she’s basically a prisoner of war. She’s not as annoying because she is more focused on vengeance and getting her throne back but she gets easily distracted and lets boys cloud her judgement too easily. Magnus is still an arrogant little shit head but we get to know a lot more of his personality and intentions in this book. He has a softer, kinder soul than he lets people see and I liked that contrast about him. But I’m still not sold. Jonas is turning out to be a stupid hothead and that makes me kind of mad. I really liked him in the first book because I thought he had his shit together and was the smartest but this book destroyed that idea. He’s getting reckless, not thinking his plans through and it definitely costs him a lot. It makes him vulnerable to the evil he’s fighting which is not good. I consider Lucia to be officially a crazy lady. The girl is turning out to be a psycho. She’s super powerful and everything but I think the power is controlling her instead of visa versa. And even with all of that, she’s still the most easily manipulated character in the entire series. And. It’s. So. Frustrating. Girl needs to get her act together and something needs to pop off with all these people.

This third book has cemented my belief that I have a love/hate relationship with this series. It drives me mad because I still don’t know if I like it. The plot is intricate. The characters in Mytica are all mixing and things are getting more freaking complicated as everyone is trying to find the Kindred to keep them for themselves. I get so angry at these books because in the beginning, I always find myself super bored and not really interested in what’s going on. But then we reach the halfway point and then the last few chapters where shit hits the fan and everything gets turned on its head and it’s interesting and then I catch myself being invested into the story again. And it happens in every freaking book! In the review for the second book, I mentioned that I felt like a lot of things were predictable. I knew a lot of people were going to die, and I knew that things weren’t what they seemed, so it stopped being surprising when plot twists happened. BUT this book changed all of that! The alliance, betrayals and deaths kept me on my toes the entire time. I honestly could not have guessed any of them at all. All the relationships between the characters is what really pushes the plot forward and it’s really interesting to read from all the perspectives. However, I still have a hard time connecting deeper with the characters. I like them all in general but they don’t bring out any particularly strong emotions in me. Also, there are no real solid romances. Most of them are instalove on crack with the exception of one and they don’t really last for more than one book. That point makes it really hard for my shipper self to fall in love with the series. Cleo is getting so much better! Honestly, I am loving her strength and determination. I think she’s in the most precarious spot in the series but she’s managed to keep herself alive throughout (obviously but still) and I enjoy that. She still has an awful habit of trusting a few too many people and it tends to come back and bite her in the ass. Magnus is really starting to annoy me. We all know your tough exterior is just a front right now dude, let it go! He tries too hard to be this badass, cold hearted person when as soon as you read from his POV, you know is all a bunch of bullshit. It was an interesting contrast in the beginning but I am now tired of the wounded boy routine. I now don’t like Lucia. It’s official. This bitch is way too naive and easily manipulated for this series. All her power is going to waste and it’s frustrating how I’ve said this about her the entire time. Jonas, the poor boy, is just useless. Honestly, he can’t do revolution to save his life. It’s a bit pathetic at this point and I’m pretty sure he’s only alive because of higher intervention because he can’t keep himself alive even if he wanted to. There are two new POVs in this book which I want to mention before I finish. I love Lysandra. She’s a freaking badass and the kind of girl this series really needed. She’s a take no shit, I can do anything just as well as a guy can type of character and considering the soft kinds of girls this series has, she’s a breath of fresh air. And then there’s Felix. I love him. He’s the kind of character Magnus should’ve been. You can tell his dark persona isn’t a front and he walks with an air of mystery that still intrigues me, specially after that ending.

Overall, I was hoping this series would be an instant favorite for me but it wasn’t. It took me a long time to be really invested in the story and into the characters. I wish it was more action packed because that’s how I like my fantasy but there is a lot of potential in the last few books to make it an explosive ending which I hope happens. I am thinking of trying to read the Book Of Spirits And Thieves trilogy as well since it feels like it has more elements than this one.

So that’s it for this review! I’ve actually already read the fourth book in this series AND I LOVED IT! So I’m kind of a fan now, sue me. I am going to be doing another series review for the last three books in the series but considering that the fifth book hasn’t come out yet, you can expect that review in 2017 or even 2018. Let me know what your thoughts on this series are! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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11 thoughts on “Series Review – Falling Kingdoms #1-3 by Morgan Rhodes

  1. Great reviews! I find it really interesting how your view of the series changed with each book. I also thought book 1 was a bit underwhelming. It was fine, but I didn’t feel really engaged with it. There were a lot of characters, which can make it hard to care about them, and I never felt there was an epic scope because the geographical area seemed small. I love fantasy and I see so many fantasy fans obsessed with this series, but I just stopped after book 1. It was enjoyable, but not enough for me to keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

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