Book Reviews

Review: Falling Kingdoms By Morgan Rhodes

Published: December 11th 2012 by Razorbill

Source: Local Library                                                                                                                                                

Synopsis: 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, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword…. 

Add to Goodreads.


*I apologize in advance for the Avatar references. I have fangirl issues if you couldn’t tell already.*


This is a very popular series and since I never read a young adult high fantasy before I decided to give it a try. I had high expectations for this book because of all the praise. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy as I wanted it. The beginning was very enticing and a great start. As I continued, my excitement died down to utter disappointment. A few of the characters disappointed me. I liked Princess Cleo alright in the beginning but  slowly started to like her character more. She was very selfless to go find a cure to save her sister. Lucia was also a powerful character being a sorceress and having able to control all four elements. I was especially excited for that since in the television shows, Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, the main characters, Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Korra in The Legend of Korra were both able to control all four elements. Did I expect an epic female bad-ass? Maybe…. Either way, Lucia was not what I expected to be but she was still a very likable character.

In addition to my high expectations, I was really looking forward to Jonas. I really wanted him to be a legendary rebel leader, but that was not the case. He had severe anger issues and when I mean by that is he needs therapy. “Jonas remembered Cleo’ hair, bright as the sun, long and flowing down her slim body. He’d dreamed of tearing that hair out piece at a time while she begged for mercy.” That is the talk of a freakin psychopath in training. I understand that he was mourning his older brother’s Tomas’s death, but I didn’t like he took it. He was in rage, which I understand, I would be too. I did not like that he wanted to “avenge” his brother. First of all, getting vengeance isn’t going to get your brother. I know that’s a lousy cliche but it is so true. Additionally, he wanted to get vengeance on Princess Cleo and kill her. It didn’t make any sense to me why he wanted to kill her of all people. If it were me I would go after Lord Aron, the murderer. 

Then I realized he hated the kingdom, Auranos, Cleo’s kingdom. He wanted justice, which one aspect I liked about him. The vengeance, on the other hand, irritated me as well as creeped me out. “Fury burned inside him. It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to barge into the cottage, wrap his hands around her royal throat, and squeeze until he witnessed the life slowly fade from her eyes. Maybe then he could rest. Maybe then he could feel that his brother’s murder  had been avenged in some small way. Such a moment of pure vengeance would taste so sweet.” 

Magnus, to be honest, I did not like at all either. His childhood reminded me somewhat of the character Prince Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender. Like Zuko he received a scar from his cruel father as a punishment. Instead of having his eye burned, however, he had milder punishment having his face slashed with a dagger. Furthermore, both Zuko and Magnus think of their scar as a remembrance of their father’s cruelty. Unlike Zuko, though Magnus became bitter just like his father. Then again he was bred for aggression and trained to conquer so I did cut him some slack. 

I didn’t like Magnus being in love with Lucia as well. It didn’t really make any sense to me and majority of his point of view was him in love with her and was too afraid to her. He vowed never to tell her but at the same time he didn’t let her be with anyone else. In the end, I was really glad Lucia didn’t return his feelings. That would be really confusing and messed up since their relationship throughout the book was a brotherly sisterly relationship. After Lucia declined him, he was officially heart broken. Soon after that he became so cruel and coldhearted just like his father. He didn’t respect her feelings. I didn’t really like that women in the book were barely respected. I know, it was probably expected at the time. Honestly why didn’t someone strike up a rebellion against that.

One of the main reasons why I did not like this book was because of the romance. Frankly, most of the time I don’t like a book or discontinue a series because of the romance. I hated the romance between Cleo and Theon. They barely got to know each other and BAM we’re madly in love. No it was not exactly “love at first sight” since Cleo didn’t want him to be his guard in the first place. It was insta-love and there was absolutely no chemistry at all. I didn’t understand how exactly they fell in love since they rarely had a conversation until the end. Was I glad Theon died? Yes I was. One annoying love interest gone. I have seen this type of romance far too much in many of the young adult books I’ve read. 

To conclude this rant, I do understand why so many enjoyed this fantasy. The plot is truly interesting and I would like to know what happens next. However, I don’t think I can continue the series mostly because of the romance and a few of the characters. If you’re a fan of high fantasy filled with mystery, romance and politics, then give it try like I did. 🙂


Rating: 2\5


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