Hey guys! Last month I read Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes and I wrote a review on it, describing my conflicted feelings and why I was disappointed. You can check it out on Goodreads here and see the cover here:
Rating: 3.75 stars.
I think one reason why I was let down by this book is because it sounds like everything I want in a high fantasy. I heard, before reading, that it had numerous plot twists, amazing characters and plot, etc. etc. So going into it I expected to love it. (I’ll be discussing spoilers, so if you haven’t read this book yet, do so now.)
Now, despite the fact that the book certainly was super fast paced and easy to read–it was also entertaining–I was…let down. It feels like The Kiss of Deception all over again: I thought I would love it, and I didn’t hate it, but it was just okay. I did enjoy this one more than TKOD, but ultimately there were a lot of things that bothered me.
First of all, none of the characters pulled me in. They just didn’t have that spark that I usually like in my fantasy characters. I hated reading from Cleo’s point of view basically until the last page when she finally decided to become badass. She wasn’t strong, and not in the physically strong sense. She literally could NOT stand up to the asshole Aron, and she needed someone to save her from every situation. Look, I don’t mind if a character is whiny. If she gets her stuff done by the end and uses her brain. When she got into trouble, she started thinking of her dear Theon and would wish for him.
“There was nothing easy about this. But Cleo was confident that Theon was going to win. He was her hero. He’d saved her once. He would save her again.”
An example from pg. 294.
My favorite POV I read from was Magnus’, but there was something that put me off. His feelings for Lucia. This did not add ANYTHING to the story besides me being put off by Magnus, while I would have liked him much more. I get that they’re not really siblings, but it doesn’t work that way. Magnus has known Lucia his whole life as a sister and the fact that he is attracted to her romantically is sick. It doesn’t matter if they’re not really siblings, or if Magnus is a morally ambiguous character. I like Magnus, okay? But you can’t sugarcoat that he’s normal.
I found Lucia to be way too perfect. If she had shown some type of flaw I would have liked her better, but she didn’t. Aron I hated. And Theon? I didn’t know him enough to be able to develop a solid opinion. He was only used as a tool to rage Cleo on, and their “romance” felt too pushed for me. Frankly, I didn’t care at all that he died. I also did like reading from Jonas’ point of view and I am curious as to see how his plans with Cleo are going to work out in the future.
Now onto some more positive things: this book was incredibly easy to read and although I was quite annoyed at times, I did enjoy it. As I was reading it I didn’t realize how quickly time flew and I finished it really quickly–less than 3 days. I feel like the world wasn’t as complex as I would have liked, but maybe it will be touched more upon in the next few books. I feel like I’m being harsh right now because I had expected so much.
I did like the plot twist that Eirene was the exiled Watcher, but, I knew that Emilia was going to die from the start. And I expected there to be many more plot twists besides this one. In future books I predict that the Watchers will become a bigger part of the story and I am much more interested in the magic of this world.
All in all, I did really enjoy this book. But, I think I read it at the wrong time. If I had read it a year or more ago, I know I would have fallen in love with it as I wanted to now. However, my reading tastes have changed and since I am now a more critical reader, I didn’t find this to be as complex and intriguing as other high fantasies I’ve read. The characters fell flat, and so did the world. That being said, I do want to continue on with this series just because I know it will improve, based on the ending.
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