Series: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
First book: Falling Kingdoms
Genre: High fantasy, romance, magic, YA
In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface. As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love. The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed? It's the eve of war.... Choose your side. Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct. Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
I finally read this series after coming across it for about 5 months. At first I wasn't all that interested because I wasn't sure about the high fantasy settings and the multi-switching perspectives, but after Empire of Storms (sobs), I had cravings for books like Throne of Glass.
And Falling Kingdoms fell onto my lap (literally) and said 'here you go!'.
My lesson to my peeps (you can thank me later): If you have a book that you're not sure about reading, hold on to it. Wait onto you have a craving for that genre (or books like that), and then when you read it, you will not regret it.
When I bought the five books series with each book costing about 7 dollars and they did not suck and disappoint:
I offer my soul up in gratitude for Morgan Rhodes not making my $47.31 crash, burn and explode like the nuclear bombs during World War II.
I am very suspicious that I enjoyed this series more than expected because I read on my high fantasy cravings after Empire of Storms. But again, I am not complaining.
There is no doubt that Morgan Rhodes is capable of writing a high fantasy series with an in-depth storyline, character developments, and some damn good world building. But there is just one little tiny itchy thing (such a shame).
Morgan Rhodes can write fantasy, but it is obvious she does not know how to write and develop relationships, more specifically hate-love relationships.
I'm not saying Morgan is incapable of developing characters, since we can clearly see how that is just absolute BS from how Lucia developed throughout the series (I'll get to that later). But it just gets more obvious to me throughout the series she does not know how to write a good standard hate-love relationship, and that she hasn't mastered the formula for it yet.
It's not so bad that it ruins the series for me. I still totally love, adore, and fricking luxuriate that cruise of Cleo and Magnus, but it is Morgan doesn't know how hate-love relationship work through them
The beauty (and overall fundamental roots) of a good hate-love relationship is not when the boy and the girl first met 'wrongly' and ended up hating each other on first sight, or when they finally fall in love.
But the process of how their view of the other person changes and develops throughout the book, and how they can't help but fall in love with the other person (despite their desperate attempts not to). It's the scenes where the girl (or the guy) looks at the other person and finds them attractive, and they just mentally slap themselves repeatedly over the face thinking 'what the hell is wrong with me'. It's how they so involuntarily fall in love (fall in love against their will), and the process of them falling in love.
That did not happen here (dang it).
If, if the author managed to perfect the relationship between Magnus and Cleo, this would legit skyrocket into one of my favorite series of all time.
They had every potential to be the best and absolutely amazing hate-love couple. But the author completely blew it. At book two when their relationship barely progressed, I just thought it's a slow romance (which is great). But by book three there is still barely any scenes between them, I start to be a little bit wary. And when Magnus out of the nowhere (literally) said 'he has fallen in love with her', I'm just like:
It's like, wait they're already in love?
The thing is that if it was a good hate-love relationship, that point of the book should be where he finally admits to himself. The readers should not be surprised at all because we should've been there to see how he slowly falls for her (and her for him), just that they haven't admitted to it yet. But in this case, it seems like it's there not as a state where the character finally admit to his/her feelings, but serves more to let the reader know they are enough. And that's not good.
I personally still manage to enjoy the story, but many other readers (looking at the reviews), this cause them to dislike the couple and say how the romance is shallow, and 'there is something missing between them'.
But that does not mean Morgan doesn't know how to develop characters. Lucia I think would've made an excellent villain later on in the series, despite being one of the main characters (and the chosen one of the story) spoke volumes. This is also one of the most unique factors in the story, which is how a high fantasy book with many perspectives can still have the 'Chosen One' character.
Overall, even if the series definitely has rooms for improvement (especially in relationship area), it is still very enjoyable, and is generally a well-written series. I give this four and a half stars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Morgan Rhodes lives in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she always wanted to be a princess -- the kind that knows how to wield a sharp sword to help save both kingdoms and princes from fire-breathing dragons and dark wizards. Instead, she became a writer, which is just as good and much less dangerous. Along with writing, Morgan enjoys photography, travel, reality TV, and is an extremely picky, yet voracious reader of all kinds of books. Under another pen name, she’s a national bestselling author of many paranormal novels. Falling Kingdoms is her first high fantasy.