Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

18 September, 2015 Reviews 10 comments

I received this book for free from Library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan RhodesFalling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Published by Razorbill Books on 11th December 2012
Pages: 412
Genres: High Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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....

I should have known there’d be trouble in paradise when I found out that Morgan Rhodes was a non de plume for Michelle Rowen, who wrote that terrible Dark Kiss novel that I couldn’t even finish.

I buddy read Falling Kingdom with ItsJaneLindsey who was my beloved BookBuddyAthon Buddy. And I think both of us suffered greatly as we read it together.

Falling Kingdoms is really Fantasy Lite with scarcely enough world building and concepts to skate by. If it asked me to witness it I’d be all like:

Madmax mediocre

Because who hasn’t pictured me as the megalomaniac god-figure of a desert dieselpunk cult?

To be honest, I was reading this book kind of like:

fury rd

Things are happening but I do not relate…

Things happened but it was hard to relate to anything through the cookie-cutter, 2 Dimensional characters and lacklustre plot.

Consider for a moment that you have three supposedly very different kingdoms. Though they are situationally VERY close (I mean like, a couple of days travel, it would seem, between them) everyone seems to speak the exact same language with the same inflections and manner of speaking. Whether it be princess of Auranos or poor peasant boy of Paelsia. Consider if you will, the fabulous ‘Enry ‘Iggins of Pygmalion glory who could guess a person’s birth place and where they were raised just by listening to their accent. Now of course, you can’t add accents very well into the book, but a little diversity in how people spoke and some slang would have been nice!

There’s this thing called a Cultural Iceberg. It’s a concept by Edward T Hall from all the way back in 1976, but he theorised that like an iceberg, culture has a small, visible surface, and a much larger, invisible mass, and that to truly know a culture, you have to participate in it. It’s just a theory, but I like to use models like this when I’m looking at cultural construct of fantasy novels.

Cultural Iceberg opengecko_thumb[7]

So little of what Rhodes wrote breached the depths of the cultural iceberg in terms of character and world building these three cultures. I didn’t even walk away with a solid concept of how people on Auranus dressed or what kind of homes the people in Limeros lived in. How did they raise their children? What did they think was beautiful? What did honour look like to them? What was proper etiquette in Paelsia? What did they take for granted? How did they treat their elderly? Damn it I want to know these things!

The characters were essentially very basic. One never truly got to know any of of them. The story follows the tales of Magnus, Lucia, Cleo and Jonah as they navigate this crumbling world.

Ah characters of Falling Kingdoms. If only I’d given three fifths of a fuck for any of you then this book might have turned out better.

In my opinion the writing was the worst culprit in this novel. Taking a cheese grater to my forehead might have been kinder. At one point, Magnus’s widdle heart turned to ice… because he was so heartbroken. It. Turned. To. Ice. The writing was enough to make purple prose embarrassed.

The one okay thing about this novel was that the plotting itself was at least reasonably consistent. There was always something happening, even if that something was ridiculous. Or poorly written. I felt the novel was fairly well paced.

Over all a sloppy attempt at fantasy. One that almost made me look upon Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson with some measure of warmth and longing.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

10 Responses to “Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes”

  1. Anna Flasza-Szydlik

    I listen to the audiobook and narrator tries to make difference, so Jonah sounds a bit Scottish. But it reads (listens?) like a watered down version of “Game of thrones”, (Magnus and Lucia and their father are so Lannister and Cleo sounds like an Arya-ed Sansa) but without intrigue that make GoT so interesting.

  2. April Books & Wine

    ???????????????? Bless this post. All of the praise hands for it because I am not alone in disliking this books. I felt like maybe I was missing something for awhile there because it seemed like I was the only one. So yes yay. Lol.

    Also these characters were so boring and cookie cutter. They were basic B’s pretty much.
    April Books & Wine recently posted…Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy | Book ReviewMy Profile

  3. Briana @ Pages Unbound

    I wasn’t a huge fan of this one either, though I was looking forward to it after all the hype. One of my problems was exactly what you mentioned: these kingdoms are ridiculously close together. To me, “epic” fantasy usually needs epic geographical scope. This book was like, “Hey, it’s going to take about two hours to sneak over the border and it’s not really going to be that hard. Want to come with?”
    Briana @ Pages Unbound recently posted…Discussion Post: Why I Don’t Watch BooktubeMy Profile

  4. Hannah

    I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while… but I think I may save myself the trouble. The cultural thing in fantasy really bothers me – so many authors pay so little attention to making the cultures distinct, or they just do it with obvious things like food and dress, but with identical values, ways of living, etc.

  5. Jane

    You are my favorite. You witnessed my loathing for this book first hand, but I’m glad we could hate-read this together ????

    Also that Cultural Iceberg is amazing and represents all of my world building dreams.

  6. Carina Olsen

    Aw, sniffs. So sad that you didn’t like this book sweet girl 🙁 I gave it five stars.. but that was when it came out some years ago. You have made me worry that I won’t love it when I re-read it. Ack. So nervous 🙂 I remember that I liked the writing.. but now I’m doubting myself a bit, lol. But anyway. Your review is stunning Kat 😀 I’m glad you tried this book. Despite it being so so so bad for you 🙁 I’m so sorry about that. Sigh. But yeah. You are awesome 🙂 Thank you for sharing about it. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…In My Mailbox #203My Profile

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