Review: Falling Kingdoms

April 23, 2013 Review 24 ★★★

Review: Falling Kingdoms
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Penguin Australia
Source: Purchased
Pages: 412
Release Date: January 3rd 2013
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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?
bec (2)

If I had to pick an all time favourite genre, it would be fantasy hands down. I’ve loved books set in other worlds for as long as I can remember. I dreamed of magic and unicorns and battles and worlds that weren’t our own. I read as much as I can get my hands on and have developed a superb taste for it. Unfortunately, real, true fantasy seems to be a rare thing in the YA world, and whenever I hear of a new one, especially with magic, I tend to get very excited. And then when they get awesome covers I tend to get even more excited. Most of the times I’m good at picking up books that meet and surpass my high expectations  but FALLING KINGDOMS… Well, it almost didn’t make it.

Right at the very beginning of this book I was underwhelmed. Annoyed. Pissed off. Characters were the main root of this problem, as was the fact that a very sudden abrupt murder occurred for the most ridiculous reason and I just did not agree. I had not bonded with the characters, I did not like their (single) morivations, I just didn’t care. They were selfish and naive, speaking in long convoluted sentences I did not find realistic. The first 100-200 pages of FALLING KINGDOMS annoyed me so much that I was sure I was only going to give it one or two stars, that’s if I even finished. You can guess how disappointing this was for me.

Fortunately, FALLING KINGDOMS did slowly get better. The plot sped up as war plans started to get underway and certain princesses rebelled. Characters started to develop, forming more than a single motivation. We learnt about the myths and legends of the world and saw little bits of magic performed. It became what I had wanted it to be from the beginning. Catastrophically bad things happened to good people, my favourite character (who just so happened to be a secondary character) died, war broke out, and somewhat mediocre and chaotic action scenes arrived. FALLING KINGDOMS was slightly predictable, but still managed to surprise me at points, and things often turned out to be worse than I expected with no foreseeable solution. The ending was also practically the complete opposite of what I thought/wanted it to be, which pleases me for some reason.

Despite the incredibly rocky start, FALLING KINGDOMS had a fairly decent ending. I’m glad I persevered and completed it. Now I’m very much looking forward to REBEL SPRING, which has to be good if the ending of FALLING KINGDOMS is anything to go by.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.9

24 Responses to “Review: Falling Kingdoms”

  1. Kezia D

    Lol, I know how you feel: when a boring book turns out to be better than expected and when a favorite character died. :( The character Magnus reminds me of TMI’s Magnus. Anyway, from the blurb alone this book sounds good. I haven’t read many fantasy books these days. One thing I just happened to notice though, you rated this book 4 stars but you labelled it 3 stars??

    • Bec

      aha, that’s what I thought of when I read Magnus’ names :D

      Oops, didn’t notice that. Thanks.

  2. Esty Nestea

    I think it helps the story when your favorite character dies- it brings out some emotion in you and dramatizes the plot. Except when it’s too heartbreaking to bear. Glad it got better- and great review. But despite it, I actually think I’d like this! :)

    • Bec

      Sometimes it does, but when they’re the best character out of the entire cast not really.

      A lot of people do like this! And if I didn’t go in with such high expectations of a fantasy, I think I might have loved it.


    That’s exactly what I thought!
    The motivations were all over the place, the war praticaly started over and insult, and the characters were impossible to connect too.
    I do agree with you, in that the ending got a bit better with time.

    You favorite character was the sister? I have to say I enjoyed the mysterious watcher better.

    • Bec

      Yes! It was so ugh, so glad it improved. I loved the watchers too, those were some of my favourite chapters in the beginning. I did like the sister, but my favourite was a certain guard…

  4. Kelley

    Yaaaay, so glad it turned out good for you! The beginning was frustrating for me, too, but I started liking it sooner than you did. And yes, that one character’s death really made me sad. I was excited to follow that person throughout more of the series, and then he was gone! Nooo!

    • Bec

      Why did he have to leave?! ;__; ahaha, maybe I’m just harsher with my YA fantasy than most people.

  5. Jessica@a GREAT read

    Bummer that you had a rough start with this one! I have yet to read this one and even have 2 copies now since I won an extra! Really need to get on it. I too enjoy a good fantasy novel every now and then that has magical aspects of course.

    Good review though! I look forward to reading this one myself!

    • Bec

      It did have good fantasy aspects, and ended up actually being decent. It just started off really bad. I definitely think you should read it :)

  6. rivie bleu

    It has happened to me, I thought I wasn’t going to like the book at first but then it gets better and I start thinking, it’s Sci Fi, it’s not supposed to be realistic lol. This seems to me like we’re getting to know the characters that will enter for battle, I don’t know why. I’m tempted to read this one just for that. After reading your review, I know that if I start reading it, if I don’t like it at first, I shouldn’t give up.

    • Bec

      Yes! That is exactly what it feels like. The rest of this series is going to be one big adventure, and we’re only just getting into gear. Definitely stick through it just to be sure.

  7. Sunny Duvall

    I’m SO happy that I read your review! I have it on my shelf, but haven’t gotten around to reading it because of all the mixed reviews and other books getting top priority. However, I might’ve DNFed it if I didn’t read your review because I would’ve been probably just as annoyed as you in the beginning. Yay for it picking up! Great review :)

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

    • Bec

      Yeah, you sort of drag your feet for the first half or so. It’d been sitting on my shelf for a while too before I read it.

      Thanks :D

  8. Wendy Darling

    Uh oh, being annoyed and pissed off with the characters isn’t a good sign at all. My coblogger K gave it a 3 as well; she enjoyed it, but didn’t love it the way she hoped to. It’s too bad this ended up being a bit of a disappointment.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • Bec

      Her feelings about it are the same as mine, it sounds like. It was a slight disappointment, but I have some hope for the sequel. I really want to love this series, but I don’t know if that’ll be possible.

  9. Delaney

    Wow, gosh, I thought i was going to give this a try but the sound of the characters sound so not right for me. Blah!

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