Publisher: Penguin Australia
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?
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.