Summary (via book flap):
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, Joas, Lucia and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.
I love the world that Rhodes has created. She shares just enough details of the history of the land and the people to grab my interest but not so much I feel bogged down by it. I didn’t find myself skimming over descriptions or back-story. I love that she pulls four stories and intertwines them with each other and the land’s history. I’ve read reviews that say this is Game of Thrones by George RR Martin for an YA audience. I’ve read Martin’s books and I love them. I think that description is accurate in that this is high fantasy with a sweeping story that bridges over many people and places. Its not nearly as large as Martin’s world or as complicated but Rhodes is successful in creating a rich history and a lot of character depth.
Cleo, Jonas, Magnus and Lucia are the primary characters. Each is drawn out and are very dimensional. I found things to like and hate about each. Cleo is your stereo-typical princess in that she gets what she wants and tends toward being selfish. Her character had the most growth to me. I went from not really caring much for her to really liking who she was. Jonas plays such a pivotal part in the story yet we don’t see much of him. By how Falling Kingdoms concludes there is a promise of a lot more of him in the later books. Magnus is the most torn character, he struggles deeply with his nature vs. nurture. I’ll be curious to see which side wins in the end. I love for characters to be pulled in all sorts of directions and to struggle internally, Rhodes pulls this off with Magnus very well. Lucia was probably my least favorite character of the bunch, though I’m still eager to learn where the sequel takes her. Rhodes doesn’t forget her secondary cast either. I found myself intrigued with them and wanting to see more of them. My only small complaint was some of the relationship development between characters felt a bit glossed over.
Falling Kingdoms has political intrigue, castle gossip, adventure, war and a dash of love. Rhodes is not squeamish in pushing her characters into directions you might not expect or want. This is the first of a series and doesn’t disappoint in opening the door to so much more depth in the following books. I can’t wait to see where Rhodes takes us next.
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