Monday, March 11, 2013

Mini-Review: FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes

Author: Morgan Rhodes (aka, Michelle Rowen)
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Published: December 11th, 2012
Pages: 412
POV: 3rd (alternating)
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Advanced Readers Copy
Source: Unsolicited from Publisher
"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 had such high hopes for FALLING KINGDOMS after reading the summary, but it ended up falling short of my expectations. This was not a terrible story, because it was highly entertaining and completely capable of capturing and holding my attention. However, the main characters were utterly unlikable, bland, and clichéd. Whenever they were in danger, I could not summon any sympathy or concern for them, let alone enjoy their successes. Fortunately, the world these underwhelming characters live in fascinated me to no end. There was plenty of action interspersed throughout the novel to keep the story exciting and addictive. In the end, FALLING KINGDOMS is a good story to devour if you're in the mood for a vivid and thrilling YA high fantasy, but the action and worldbuilding (unfortunately) do not compensate for what is lacking in character development. 

Highlights: The world itself in FALLING KINGDOMS is fascinating, and I enjoyed the pacing. Strangely enough (and despite the disconnect between myself and the characters), I became completely wrapped up in the story and the world. This is an easy story to get lost in for a few hours, and every concluding chapter left me eager for the next. 

Lowlights: I could not connect with a single character in this book. I can love flawed characters, but these main characters had barely any or even no redeeming qualities. The only "good" character, Lucia, was so stereotypical, I was tempted to skip ahead whenever her chapters arrived. The sort-of-but-not-really-but-still-kind-of-like incest thing was strange and I wish it had not been a plot point, since it served no purpose in the end but to make Magnus appear incredibly creepy. Cleo's instalove was off-putting and unrealistic. A few predictable moments.

Final Thoughts: The writing was not as strong as I hoped it would be, but FALLING KINGDOMS did have quite a few enjoyable moments. I would recommend checking this out at your local library first to see if it is your type of story, especially if you're a YA fantasy.



  1. Your review is spot-on, especially when it comes to the characters! I think the author was trying to imitate A Game of Thrones especially with the Magnus storyline.

    1. This book could have been fantastic if the characters were written differently. Was Magnus's storyline very similar to GoT?

  2. I couldn't connect with any of these characters either! Drove me insane. The pacing and worldbuilding were great but with no connection and some rather annoying characters, I was not a fan of this book.

    1. Glad I wasn't the only one who didn't connect! I usually find one character to love and root for, but nobody stood out in a good way in this story. Except maybe Cleo's redhead friend, but I can't remember his name. I hope you at least enjoyed the world/setting as much as I did!

  3. Sorry it fell short of what you wanted. The lack of character develpment would probably bother me too.

    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    1. It was fun at some points, but those characters were so frustrating. I'm sure plenty of readers will love this book, but I just couldn't connect.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Replies
    1. It's probably my fault. I had very high hopes for this story, so I was even more disappointed when it failed to meet my expectations.

      Thanks for commenting, Carrie!

  5. Hm... no redeeming qualities? Sometimes I can connect with a character like that, but I'm not so sure. And that whole incest thing... that sounds odd. I might put it on my to rent list for the next time I go to the library. Thanks for the review :)

    1. Other people may disagree, but I just couldn't like any of the characters. Some were bratty and obnoxious, or too cliched to take seriously. Still, you should absolutely check it out. The world and action were enjoyable, and you might love FALLING KINGDOMS more than I did!

      Thank you for stopping by :)

  6. Thanks for this review, it was really helpful. It's always a bummer when characters become way too cliched, it distracts from the rest of the story. I look forward to more reviews from you!

    1. Cookie-cutter characters are always frustrating. I like reading about realistic characters - with flaws and positive qualities. It's more fun and interesting to read about realistic characters with flaws and positive qualities in their personalities. But, I'm sure some people will disagree and find the characters of FK to be dynamic.

      Thanks for stopping by!