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Falling Kingdoms

Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes, Michelle Rowen Originally posted at Gypsy ReviewsDubbed as the YA version of Game of Thrones, Falling Kingdoms gave me much to expect out of a high fantasy series and indeed, Falling Kingdom did interest me with the world it presented to me. However, the inconsistencies in how the story was told and how it was executed was not well done. The romance in the story did not impress me at all, rather it made me quite disgusted as it portrayed a princess in a stereotypical damsel-in-distress role and I didn’t feel the issues were addressed enough.Falling Kingdoms is about three kingdoms – Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros and the crumbling economy of Paelsia who is bound to Auranos with a tax bill and a land that is dying. Cleo, the Princess of Auranos, goes on a trip to Paelsia one day with Lord Aron, a boy who she will be engaged to but who is addicted to wine and is anything but a gentleman, who wishes to purchase some wine from a wine merchant. However Aron falls into disagreement with the wine merchant’s son and in a bid to protect himself, kills the son and unknowingly sparks a war against Auranos. Jonas, the wine merchant’s other son, is furious and seeks revenge for his fallen brother and appeals to the Chief of Paelsia to fight a war against Auranos. In Limeros, Prince Magnus struggles with his heart as he fights the feelings he has for his sister, Lucia. Lucia on the other hand discovers a hidden ability about herself, not knowing that she plays a huge part in the fate of the three kingdoms.Let’s talk about the good things first, I really enjoyed the fantasy aspect of Falling Kingdoms and I love high fantasy. Finding out about each of the different kingdoms and getting involved in their customs and culture was really interesting. I did enjoy the book for most of the parts so it wasn’t a hard read. The bad things are actually really more things that bothered me and they didn’t impair the whole storytelling aspect too much.I did find there was some inconsistency and repetition in the storytelling because sometimes I would read about a fact and then a few pages later, it would somehow be contradicted. For example, one part Magnus is musing about how even of his father was to acknowledge his illegitimate son, Tobias, Magnus would still be accepted in Limeros as the rightful heir to the throne and Tobias would not. Then a few pages later, Magnus is worried that his father would acknowledge Tobias. Where was his previous optimism? To me, it felt like the novel hadn’t been proofread enough because this did happen a few times. Continuation is always an important aspect of a story. The execution of the story didn’t work too well with me because it’s supposed to be this epic high fantasy story and the impending war. But the strategies felt very childish to me and very unlikely to actually be considered in an actual war. There were a few technicalities that were missed out too, I didn’t get how Jonas could rise so fast in the ranks to be so close to the Chief, even if it was through his daughter, it didn’t feel plausible to me enough. Also, did Jonas get any training to fight in the army at all?Also I didn’t feel that knowing from the beginning that Lucia was going to be the prophecised sorceress was a good tactic to use in the book because it was just too predictable and it stifled some of the mystery around her powers. I would have preferred not knowing who it was at all and then trying to guess who it would be. It’s an old and frequently used tactic but I felt it would have been more preferrable to this method.The aspect that bothered me the most was the romance between two of the characters because they barely knew each other and here we have Cleo going, “I’m waiting for you to come rescue me.” I’m sorry, are we trying to teach young girls to wait and be rescued? That to be a damsel-in-distress is romantic? That you want to objectify girls as weak and need to be rescued by a strong man? These romances don’t work guys, they just don’t and here we have a case of instalove again. No, please, no with the instalove. How many times have we seen them together? Is it even enough for them to have such strong emotions about each other?Falling Kingdom does deal with incest and incest is never an easy topic to write about. What I didn’t like though was how it seemed it was going to be easy because we knew Lucia wasn’t really related to Magnus and it seems likely that they could potentially be endgame. Lucia may or may not begin to reciprocate that love Magnus feels for her but if she does, it wouldn’t be bad at all because they aren’t blood related. It seemed like an easy way out and less of addressing the issue. I feel if you’re going to write about a difficult topic, you should utilise what you have and try to make the most out of it instead of trying to find an easy way out of it.I enjoyed Falling Kingdom but it just didn’t live up to the expectations of a good high fantasy book as it was underdeveloped. It might suit people who would enjoy a more simplified version of Game of Thrones and might be comfortable with the instalove and technicalities in the story. But for someone like me who expects much from a high fantasy book, this just didn’t live up to expectations. I’m not expecting too much to be honest because I have read good high fantasy YA novels but Falling Kingdoms was not on par. I will be reading the sequel, Rebel Spring, when it comes out though because I am curious to see what happens next and hopefully it might have improved in these aspects. It’s not a bad story so it is worth a read and I do recommend it.