Narrator: Fred Berman
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Published by Razorbill on December 11th 2012
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 realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword....
Where to start? I don’t even know. This book was kind of -blah- for me. For so many reasons.
Falling Kingdoms felt like one massive prologue.
I get the definite sense that the actually interesting plot bits are still TBD. The crux of the plot in Falling Kingdoms is basically the idea that one stupid, awful thing leads to a ridiculous snowball effect. And maybe it’s potentially realistic? But it didn’t really feel REAL. It kind of felt like the author had a Point A and a Point B and drew a scribble in between to figure out how to motivate the next steps. It was a fairly logical scribble, but it felt like it was a little bit forced, in a way. Too many things just happened to go one way or the other. And so much of it was motivated by characters doing stupid senseless things rather than having any real motive.
And really, the stage is decently set for potentially interesting things to happen in the future. I like the potential I see for future books. But I almost feel like this entire book should have just been summarized in backstory rather than being a whole book.
There were WAY too many “main” characters. And POV changes.
There were at least 4 main characters who had their own POVs at some point in this book. And for the most part I didn’t struggle with the changes too much, but at the beginning? I was hella confused. And honestly? The individual characters’ voices weren’t strong enough to stand on their own. Everybody kind of had the same -blah- voice.
The most frustrating part, however, was when random side characters that we don’t know ANYTHING ABOUT got their own POVs. I get why, but there wasn’t nearly enough fleshed out about them to care. I kind of went “Oh, this person is interested in things. Cute. Back to the main bits please?”
The characters were plagued with a severe lack of intelligence and interestingness.
(Which is totally a word).
Most of the characters were just boring. In their own narrative thoughts, they moped about the same things all the time (which, yes, I completely get, but DEAR GOD MOVE ON).
Cleo, one of the main characters, had a decent amount of potential to be interesting. But she was blindly headstrong (which I don’t ALWAYS mind) and honestly did some really stupid stuff. On top of that, she flipped a switch from completely not believing in magic her whole life to being 100% certain that it exists just because of one story her sister tells her.
And there’s a “twist” at the end that one of the “main” (? — he has his own POV chapters, but is he really a main character? I don’t know) characters actually predicts earlier on. And the side character/leader just goes with the original plan and is shocked when this prediction comes true. I mean, REALLY? Use your BRAINS please?
Really, the most interesting character is the only one that didn’t get any spotlight.
The Worldbuilding barely scratched the surface.
Here’s what I can tell you about the three countries referenced:
- One is lush and green
- One is dying (but makes great wine by some kind of magic)
- One is apparently basically frozen over
They all had basically the same culture. Travel is apparently surprisingly simple. But there are supposedly some (apparently minimal) border restrictions. The kings of the lush green country and the frozen country hate each other because, legend has it, that the goddess of one country effed up the goddess of the other country an incredibly long time ago.
That’s about it.
Some of the Deaths, and ALL of the Love Interests, were completely pointless.
There were an insane amount of deaths. I mean, we’re not talking anything grossly astronomical, but there were deaths that didn’t really even do anything. And then some of the deaths were completely blown out of proportion. “I’m a poor peasant and this rich guy killed my brother” turned into a complete blow-out world-freaking-war. Please — I’m amazed as many people even heard of the affront, let alone cared. But maybe I’m just callous. *shrugs*
There was some kind of almost insta-love thing going on between one of the princesses and her guard. It was weird … I think? It would have been fine, but it was never really developed, so I personally didn’t care. Like, there were absolutely ZERO FEELS there.