"Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
There has been a lot of talk about the “Falling Kingdom”-series by Morgan Rhodes. As a fantasy reader I had my eye on this book for quite some time now. I had a copy since I bought it back in June when I was in Seattle. But for some reason there was always another book I wanted to read more. I felt like I kind of knew what the story would be like and felt no curiosity. Now that “Gathering Darkness” is coming out I decided to finally read the book.
“Falling Kingdoms” is a typical fantasy book that takes place “in the three kingdoms of Mytica,[where] 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. “ (Goodreads)
The cover is very fitting for a fantasy book. It is mysterious enough with a nice cover scheme. I kind of wonder who it is on the cover but little details give hints to the story. I can say, well done to the designer of the cover.
The story itself is not revolutionary. There are three kingdoms, some do better than the other but all kingdoms are reigned by people who want to keep or expand their powers. Nothing new there. The story is very predictable when it comes to the overall outcome: there is going to be war. The world building is also not that exciting because it is not that extraordinary. Imagine earth centuries ago and you have Mystica: castles and horses and simple living. But I am okay with that. I do not need the reinvention of the whole fantasy world in every single book I read. What makes the whole book interesting is the magical aspect. We learn about witches and the magic of Mystica from the very beginning of the prologue until the last page of the book. That magic is what makes the book unique. It sounds like an interesting concept and I am looking forward to seeing how this concept works out.
The main characters are quite likeable. There was not a protagonist I did not sympathize with. Lucia seems kind of bland I disliked that her story was so predictable. I hope it was never meant to be a surprise because it was simply not. There is potential in her character development and I hope to see that in the upcoming books. My favorite character is Magnus. His inner conflict with trying to be good but also feeling the dark pull inside him made him a lot more interesting than the other main characters. Also the feeling he has to a certain person makes him stand out.
What made me cringe a lot was Cleo’s love story. While it started out well, it ended eyeroll-worthy. What is going on with young adult books and their horrible written love stories? Give them time. Why does it always have to be the love of their lives? Why does it always happen in the shortest time possible? Just why? I am also worried about the romances in the upcoming books. I worry how there might be a love triangle and I just do not want to read that. I do not mind a well written romance in a fantasy book. I even enjoy it a lot. But it has to be well written.
Rhodes writing style is easy to read. It did not stand out to me but it was enjoyable. The story pace was perfect. It never felt rushed but also never dragged on.
Besides some minor things I really liked “Falling Kingdoms”. It was a good start to a new series and I will soon pick up the second book. It is a solid fantasy book but heavy in the YA section. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to try a fantasy book that is not dystopian. I would not call this a real high fantasy book since it reminds me too much of a young adult book but it is a good book.