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Author: Morgan Rhodes [F] [T] [W]
Publisher: Razorbill [W]
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover; 412 pages
Series: Falling Kingdoms (Book 1)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
Avg. Rating: ★★★★✩
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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?
War and politics in a book? Fantasy is sometimes very hit or miss for me - especially when these two themes are prevalent. War? Well, I have to admit that I like a good war story every now and then. Politics? Yeah, not so much. Thankfully, this book has both - so any qualms that I may have about politics is somewhat muted out by the war in the book. Add to this a few minor elements that may have rubbed me the wrong way, and I'll admit that I wasn't sure about this novel as I was reading. However, once I was finished, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the ample amounts of intrigue that I had with this book.
Let's start with the not-so-good. As I said before, I'm not too keen on politics. Even with series that I absolutely adore like The Hunger Games, the politics sometimes makes me roll my eyes and wish for a little more of anything BUT politics. There is also the matter of dialogue. This book is categorized as historical fiction and definitely has the feel of something that happened in a different time. However, the dialogue sometimes contradicted that as it felt a little too.. modern. There was just some use of words and phrases uttered that didn't feel as if they were part of the same time period as the setting of the story.
Aside from those two things, any issues that I may have had with the story were resolved as I was actually reading. The narrative switching perspectives for several characters was a little confusing but got easier as the story progressed. As a matter of fact, I don't think the story would have been as good without the switch of characters. Speaking of characters, I have to say that the four main characters really grated my best, most patient nerves at the very beginning - especially Cleo. However, like the switching around with the points of view, this annoyance disappeared as I delved deeper into the story. These characters actually grew on me quite a bit - all of them, including Cleo.
The plot of this story was a little unoriginal as I have seen the premise taken on by other authors. HOWEVER, this story can definitely stand on its own two feet (or ends, as it is) quite well. The ending of this story was a bit of a cliffhanger, but in a very good way that keeps the appeal to find out more at an all-time high for me. Overall, this turned out to be a very interesting start to a series that I plan on staying with until the end.