Series Name: Falling Kingdoms
Titles in Series: Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring, Gathering Darkness, Frozen Tides, Crystal Storm, Immortal Reign
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Overall Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Caution: This review will contain mild spoilers for the entire series.
I realized too late that I should have reviewed these books as I read them instead of as a whole like this, but by that time I was already three books in and there was no turning back. And sadly, the whole thing was a blur. That means this series review is probably going to be incohesive and jumbled, but I’ll hopefully be able to get my feelings and thoughts about this series out and sorted through.
I binged the Falling Kingdoms series starting at the beginning of this year because I’ve owned the first book for way too long. I was slowly growing my Falling Kingdoms collection without having read any of the books and I thought it was time that I finally change that. So here I am, having read the entire series in the span of 4 months, and I still don’t know what to think.
Maybe I would have liked these more if I had had to wait between books like people who have been reading and loving this series from the beginning. Maybe binging these books led to me having negative feelings toward them. Whatever the case, whatever the cause, in the end I closed the last book feeling like I had wasted a lot of time.
Falling Kingdoms is marketed as Game of Thrones for young adults; I haven’t seen or read Game of Thrones so I can’t say if this is true or not, but it seems to definitely put off a vibe from what I know. This series follows several characters throughout the course of the story, but the main ones would be Cleo, Jonas, Magnus and Lucia. It’s set in the land of Mytica which is divided into 3 kingdoms: Auranos, Limeros and Paelsia.
Cleo is the princess of Auranos, the southernmost kingdom and by far the most plentiful of the three. She finds herself caught in the midst of a scandal when she is seen with Lord Aron Lagaris when he slays a young Paelsian in cold blood. She’s of course devastated by the events that took place and feels guilt-ridden for not doing more to prevent it.
However, the older brother of the murdered Paelsian, Jonas, seeks vengeance for his death and ends up sparking a revolution as Paelsia and Limeros seek to rise up against Auranos.
Magnus and Lucia are brother and sister, and the children of the Limerian King of Blood. Magnus struggles between wanting to do right and wanting to please his cruel, violent father, while Lucia discovers secret and powerful abilities within herself.
The political intrigue and the promise of magic really kept me engaged and interested in this series. For the first several books, I was hooked, even though I didn’t care for many of the characters, including the main ones. I didn’t think they were fleshed out enough and the few traits that they did carry, I did not like.
For instance, Magnus is in love with Lucia, his sister. No matter how much he tries to fight his feelings and his urges, it still creeps me out and it honestly caused me to hate him for at least the first three books. We end up finding out that they’re not actually related, so it doesn’t become a matter of incest anymore; however, I still find the idea pervy and it leaves me with a gross feeling in my gut. It took me a long time to warm up to Magnus’s character after this.
Cleo was probably my favorite character, and she remained strong and decent throughout the entire reading experience. She had her issues as most characters do, but in the end I respected and admired her strength and dedication to her kingdom.
Jonas was attracted to and wanted to make out with every woman he met, it was honestly ridiculous. Throughout the course of this entire series, he “falls in love” with at least 3 women… desperate much? Keep it in your pants, fight your stupid rebellion and just chill.
And Lucia was by far my least favorite main character. She had absolutely no substance to her, no personality, until all of a sudden she’s angry and mean and cruel and horrible out of nowhere. So Lucia starts out sweet and dull, then becomes evil and dull, and by the last book she’s mean and dull. Basically, she was dull, and as a magic user, she should have been one of the more interesting characters. Not the case.
This series also suffered from a bad case of insta-love, on all accounts. There was one slow-burn romance which I very much appreciated, but everyone else was like, “Wow, this person and I had a conversation and we connected, I’m in love,” and then they’re absolutely devastated, destroyed and wrecked when that person dies (because oh yeah, a lot of people die). I’m just here rolling my eyes and thinking, pull yourself together. You knew this person for like a day. Everyone was so dramatic and emotional and it was just so annoying.
Now let’s go back to the “a lot of people die” thing. Yes, this series is full of death and dying and many of the secondary characters bite the dust and you literally won’t care at all. There’s nothing to make you like or become invested in any of these characters, so their deaths are meaningless to you. And of course, everyone who matters is miraculously alive by the end, isn’t that great? Rejoice!
Like I mentioned before, by the time I finally turned the last page of Immortal Reign, I felt like I had wasted all the time I invested into this series. Maybe just stick with Game of Thrones?