Dec 25, 2012

Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher:  Razorbill
Publication Date: 12.11.2012
Pages: 412
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Yes (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Source: ARC from BEA

Rating: A

Summary (from Goodreads):
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?

I felt like I had to mentally prepare myself before delving into the epic fantasy that is Falling Kingdoms. As you can clearly tell from the blurb, there are a lot of characters, each with their own agenda that at times intersect. I knew this wasn’t a book I could sit down and finish in an afternoon; I knew I would have to think when I read this. Falling Kingdoms isn’t a spectator book—you cannot sit idly by and enjoy the scenery. Morgan Rhodes crafts such an intricate tale that you must be prepared to fully surrender yourself to her world.

And I feel so much richer for doing just that.

This book is so grand and large, I’m sort of at a loss for where to start. Let’s begin with the writing:

Rhodes is a genius. Her world building skill are phenomenal. She created not only a fantasy world, full of magic and folklore, but also her own countries. She created back stories and histories for these countries, but never once did I feel like I was being preached at. She has perfected the art of revealing through storytelling. Her settings are lush and rich, making me feel like I was walking through the barren lands of Limeros or the meadows of Auranos.

But the characters are what drive this story. These complicated, emotional, and brilliant characters that bring the story to life. Usually when given several prominent characters who each get a turn telling “their” story by alternating chapters (but not alternating POV’s—this one is solely third person, thank God), I find myself attached more to one character than the others, so I will occasionally skip ahead to get to the parts I care about. Not true at all with this story. I loved Cleo’s spirit, Jonas’s determination, Lucia’s innocence, and Magnus’s brooding equally.

I’m not a girl who goes out of her way to read fantasy. I tried reading Game of Thrones when the show came out and found myself hopelessly lost by the third chapter. Same with Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind (again, loved the tv show Legend of the Seeker), but once more found myself confused and overwhelmed. But there is something magical about Falling Kingdoms that sucked me in. I could have spent another month immersed in this world and not tire of it.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, even in the smallest measure, this is your book. If you’re like me—somewhat intimidated by fantasy and the sweeping magnitude of it, this is also your book. Falling Kingdoms is a book that I can easily see wowing a variety of audiences and readers for years to come.


  1. I have heard such great things about Falling Kingdoms! I got a copy at BEA but I have yet to read it..hopefully soon :)

  2. I do love a good fantasy novel. I have seen this book, but regarded it as "not really for me". I think I will have to give that a rethink and take a serious look at it. Thanks for the review.

  3. I'm not usually into fantasy books, but might give this one a spin. Thanks for the review!

  4. Fabulous review! I have this one at the top of my TBR pile.
    I am not usually a fan of fantasy, but I read Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Fire and really enjoyed them. I saw somewhere that Falling Kingdoms was along the same lines and added it to my TBR.
    Have you read Graceling or Fire?
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Hannah!

  5. I'm a fan of fantasy, but *only* in the smallest measure. I'm really excited to read this now, since it sounds like it takes care of the plot and characters as well as having a fantastic setting.

  6. I like fantasy, but so often the series are just overwhelming. There have been times when I needed to go back to the beginning and make a chart so I can keep track of everyone. That does dampen the enjoyment of the story. I like the sound of this series to be. I usually wait until a series is complete and I have all the books before I read them. Especially with a complex plot and interwoven characters, it keeps both the story line and the characters fresh (and straight) in my mind. Makes for a richer reading experience.

    Thanks for the review.

    1. That was one of the perks of this book - Morgan Rhodes has a section in the front that breaks down the players by the country they're affiliated with. By the end I was golden, but in the beginning I referenced it several times to keep everyone straight.

  7. Sounds amazing! Lots of characters, but they sound good too. Doesn't hurt that I'm a fantasy fan :)

  8. LEGEND OF THE SEEKER! *high five* I was OBSESSED with that show, and it may or may not have been because Richard (I think that's his name, it's been a while) was frequently sans shirt. Awesome.

    I've read so many mixed reviews for this one Hannah, and I have to say that has me even more curious about it. I love when a book inspires so many conflicting opinions, it makes me want to immediately pick it up to see what I'll think. I'm glad you loved it so much!!

    1. You loved Legend of the Seeker, too?! I knew you rocked!!!! And yes, Richard was yummy. I loved him and Kahlan.

      Read this one ASAP. I love it.

  9. Fantasy is a genre that is new for me. I have enjoyed the few that I have read. Thanks for the review.


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