Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bit of a downer: FALLING KINGDOM by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdom (Falling Kingdom #1)
by Morgan Rhodes

Published December 11, 2012
2.5 stars

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?

"Falling Kingdoms will gut you emotionally. It will make you ache, cry, and beg for the sequel as you turn the last page. I absolutely loved it." —Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Queen

"This triple-layered tale of bloodshed, heartbreak, and tangled court intrigue kept me turning pages very late into the night." —Lesley Livingston, award-winning author of Wondrous Strange(less)
My rating is lower than others out there in the blogosphere, but I thought this was a homage to wordy explanations. The first half of the book was mostly back history with tiny bits of dialogue thrown in. You know when the author has not just maps but four... yes four... pages of names and relationships in the front of the book that it's going to be rough.

One of my favorite authors, Julie Kawaga, recommended this book. Because of that I should have known to expect tragedy but this was of almost epic proportions. My favorite character was killed off before we could even get to really know the person. Guards were getting killed left and right. It reminded me of the Star Trek fan saying. "You don't want to wear a red shirt on landing-party duty." You never get to know those characters because they get killed off in the first 5 minutes.

I found Cleo terribly annoying and idiotic. Her could not learn from a single mistake. I wanted to ground her myself. Since my favorite character got killed off, Jonas is my next favorite. However, he doesn't get interesting till the last half of the book. Magnus is surprisingly bland for being the "tragic boy turned bad boy". I couldn't help comparing one story line involving him to City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. My opinion: Clare did a much better job with that idea. Lucia is kind of an enigma. The ending left me very curious to how she plays out.

There is some real genius here, but Rhodes needs to find an editor that has a BIG red pen. The next bad boy should be better paced and MUCH less verbose.

If you think you might be interested in this series, I suggest reading the last 130 pages or wait for book two to start the series.