BOOK REVIEW: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
“It’s like Game of Thrones but Young Adult.”
That is the exact description my friend uttered as she handed me a copy of the book. There are a lot of similarities to George R.R. Martin’s series, for sure, but not in a bad way. The world and the characters in the book are all very, very different. The world of Falling Kingdoms started with three different territories which had their own kings or rulers. They were not dependent on each other. The main conflict is that Paelsia was dying slowly and they were envious of their neighbor, the Auranos. Limeros had a brutal king who took advantage of this conflict.
Of course, there was magic.
Magic was fading and it was becoming a mere tale to the younger generations among the different kingdoms. Some say the dying lands of Paelsia and Limeros was directly connected to the death of magic.
I admit, it took me a while to really get into this book and it was almost over halfway through the read before it became hard to put the book down. The story mainly focused on the sons and daughters of the kingdom, or in the case of Paelsia, a young boy named Jonas.
Cleo was the youngest daughter of the Auranian king. She is somewhat your typical “strong-minded” princess who rebelled and did what she wanted but out of the goodness of her own heart.
Magnus was the son of the Limerian king . . . and yes, he is in-love with his sister. Talk about similarities to Game of Thrones, this is where the “incest” gets thrown in. Lucky for the more PG readers, his sister, Lucia, is not related to him by blood and was kidnapped when she was a baby for her potential to become the most powerful sorceress in the world.
Jonas wants to change Paelsia for the better but is clouded by his hatred for Auranos and especially for Cleo because he holds her responsible for his older brother’s death.
It’s interesting to see that the story was set into motion by the older characters in the story — the kings declared the war turning the lives of the kingdoms into a chaotic whirlwind. Many were brutally and sadly killed. This first book set up a giant problem and it is clear that the children of the adults would be the ones to fix it. Or at least, they will attempt to.
Each young characters were nicely developed and I like how you can’t really categorize them as heroes or villains. Each one made mistakes and terrible choices but they also made decisions and sacrifices for the people they love. So far, Cleo is established as someone who has a “pure heart” but Magnus and Jonas both walk the fence between good and evil. It would be interesting to see where all they end up at the end of the story.
There are more elements to the story, which includes witches, the Kindred and Watchers but the information thrown at the reader is not as dense as reading Game of Thrones. Despite my preconception that this book was going to be a lot like Game of Thrones, I still found the story to be a lot of fun to read and more unique than I had expected. I definitely recommended this book to readers who enjoy the YA genre and the kingdoms battling each other kind of story.
And no, there are no dragons. Yet.
This book comes out on December 11, 2012. Visit www.fallingkingdoms.com for more information.