Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Source: Borrowed from fellow blogger
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?
Though I tend to enjoy it when I read it, I don't actually read all that much high fantasy. There's not real reason why, it's just not something that I will go and pick up on my own. But with how much I had heard about Morgan Rhodes' Falling Kingdoms, I figured I should probably read it. And I turned out to be just as good as everything I had heard about it.
For thousands of years, the three kingdoms of Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros have lived side by side without much conflict. But that doesn't mean that everyone is happy with the way things are. The Auranians have had no shortage of riches while the Paelsians are struggling to put food on the table and the Limerians are in the cold lands in the north. But things are about to change. Jonas wants to avenge his brother's death and take back what Auranos has been taking from Paelsia for hundreds of years. Prince Magnus has been trained to fight and wants nothing more than to help his father take over Auranos. And through it all Princess Cleo has to find a way to escape an arrange marriage all the while helping protect the fate of Auranos.
LIke I've said, high fantasy doesn't really tend to be my cup of tea. Typically it's not something I will pick up on my own but when it's recommended to me enough times I will pick up a high fantasy book. And Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes had come highly recommended by a number of people. And so I started reading, and it didn't take too long for me to get wrapped up in the story. Fantasy stories rely heavily on world building, and with Falling Kingdoms I could see it. All the time while reading, I could picture the world Morgan Rhodes was describing, whether it was the trend lawns of Auranos, the dry lands of Paelsia or the frozen ones of Limeros. The focus of the story itself was war but it felt like there was a lot more to it. There was also a strong focus on family and loyalty, even a little bit of romance, no matter how disturbing that romance could be at times. But primarily, this story was about the characters.
Like I've said this story was primarily about all the characters. At least those who didn't get killed. Because let me warn you if you plan on reading Falling Kingdoms there are characters dying left, right and center. Usually right as I started getting attached to a character, it got killed off, it almost got to the point where I started expecting characters to die. But for the characters that actually stayed alive for the duration of the book. They all had something that they were willing to fight for, whether it was their family, love or just something bigger and that was what kind of brought them all together in my mind. Though there were no clear alliances and the main characters by far did not all like each other, they were still all connected by what they were going through, and each of them was more than they let on. Jonas was more than just a young man trying to avenge his brother's death. Cleo was more than just a princess looking for love, and Magnus was more than the fighter his father had trained him to be. But no one really realized there was more to the people they were so dead set on hating and that just made the story more interesting for me.
Overall, Morgan Rhodes' Falling Kingdoms ended up being a fantastic read. Though I am not typically a big fantasy reader, you can be sure that I will be picking up the sequel, if only to see what happens to everyone after the major events of this first installment.