Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Falling Kingdoms

Falling Kingdoms #1

 by Morgan Rhodes

Release Date: December 11, 2012

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?

"Falling Kingdoms will gut you emotionally. It will make you ache, cry, and beg for the sequel as you turn the last page. I absolutely loved it."--Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Queen

"This triple-layered tale of bloodshed, heartbreak, and tangled court intrigue kept me turning pages very late into the night."--Lesley Livingston, award-winning author of Wondrous Strange

Rating: 3 Stars

Doesn't the summary just sound amazing? Oh it sound just like my kinda book! It has such promise. And the cover? Beautiful isn't it?
I coveted this book, from the moment I had discovered about it online sometime in July or August. I decided that I NEEDED to read this. It promised to have EVERYTHING I love about fantasy books. So I signed up at Netgalley… I was declined. (Nevertheless this book was of the reasons I started reading ARCs)
So I waited patently anticipating its release.
Finally the day came- and I was supposed to do read it with Katy.. but for some reason or the other I didn't manage to. So when I saw two of my GR friends, whose opinion I greatly value, were not that impressed with it… I was worried. (Katy & MitchReviews)
I really wanted to like this book! I REALLY did. After all, it could be so good and I had waited so long, hoping so long. It took me another week to finally start reading and another 8days to finish it!

The first 50pages were so incredibly disappointing. Really shattered my hopes for this book. It didn't look good at all. And only with the nagging encouragement of certain friends did I bother pressing on. Thankfully the second half of the book was better- but only due to the plot something was actually happening...

The story line is straight forward. It goes from A to B to D. NO surprises anywhere to be found or any twists. It's utterly predictable.
There was something off with the pacing of the story line thought and I can't really put my finger on it exactly. But somehow, we were told how time had passed but it didn't feel the same from the story being told.

Most of the characters were totally flat. The villain was the picture book evil blood thirsty king. His counter part Cleo's dad the loving supporting hopeful king. There was the evil sorceress, the nasty unwanted fiancé, a girl dying from a broken heart and an old woman who gave up paradise for love.
Yet none of them really moved me!
"Falling Kingdoms will gut you emotionally. It will make you ache, cry, and beg for the sequel as you turn the last page" J.Kagawa
Sadly this was in no way the case for me, since I struggled to emotionally connect to nearly all of the characters.

Theon seemed to just be there for Cleo to make a connection to what had happened to her sister. And then conveniently falls out of the picture, when Cleo is needed to move on… When did they fall in love? HOW on earth did that happen? There was no emotion to the whole thing

Cleo is probably one of the best developed characters. Though I still find her a bit flat and cardboard like. Her role in the book is very quickly established. She is rather naive, very childish and totally spoilt. Towards the end she does pull herself together and grow a bit of a backbone- there is hope for that her character will grow into a more likable one in the next book

To be honest I know not much about Jonas other than his desperate desire for revenge and that he seems to have a chip on his shoulder. Towards the end of the book, he just like Cloe seems to change his focus and become a slight bit more interesting. His sudden new love interest was more than predictable.. and its clear where that will be going as well.

Lucia is the loving loyal sister/daughter who could not have been more naive. How could she end up like that in the environment she was brought up in? Which made her quite annoying and totally unbelievable. It was very clear who she was, the so-called mystery around her, was non what so ever, I would have really appreciated it if Rhodes would have at least tried to disguise it a little

Magnus was my favorite character. I like angry and broody. I actually was most touched by his emotions and believed his reactions most.

I can see the Game of Throne similarities that many have brought up- but honestly it fell so short trying to do a YA version of it. While some friends think this is because maybe it doesn't translate well into YA, I strongly disagree. I believe it can be done. And emotional engaging politicly charged fantasy does not have to be adult. Sadly this one did fail mostly in its character building. And character building is what makes this kind of book great.
There are multiple POV and Rhodes did a really good job at them. They all had different voices and it was easy to keep up with them. I think this shows that Rhodes can do much better and there is hope for the sequel.

For me this was one of the most disappointing reads in 2012. Admitetly because I had way to high expectations. And after ranting so much about it, I should finish off with saying that I still like the idea and that it has great potential.
Will I read the next one? Hell, yes! But I won't be anticipating its release for moths or expect a brilliant piece of work…hopefully I will be positively surprised.

 2.5 Stars-rounded up, because to be fair, I probably would have liked it better without my ridiculous expectations for this book

View all my reviews

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