Thursday, January 16, 2014

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes #review

Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill, 2012

Touted as young adult fantasy’s answer to George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones, Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes promises all the political intrigue, warfare and whiffs of magic in Martin’s saga, but toned down for a younger readership.

Cleo is a pampered princess of the kingdom of Auranos, whose visit to a wineseller in the impoverished kingdom of Paelsia inadvertently results in an incident that acts as a catalyst for a war between the three kingdoms of the land of Mytica.

Jonas, a wineseller’s son, understandably has an axe to grind with Cleo, since she’s essentially responsible for his brother being killed. He makes sure he’s in the frontline when the kingdoms of Paelsia and Limeros become allies in order to invade prosperous Auranos and divide the kingdom between them.

Prince Magnus of Limeros has been raised in an austere, cut-throat court, and harbours a terrible secret – his infatuation with his sister Lucia. Lucia discovers she’s a prophesised sorceress, capable of wielding magic her father will want to use for nefarious ends.

This all plays out against the backdrop of eons-old enmity between two so-called goddesses who’d come to blows over the control of magical artefacts known only as the Kindred, and it’s clear the rest of the books in this series will include how these items are retrieved to return magic to Mytica.

While Rhodes certainly does a good job creating solid characters, she still left me wondering sometimes at how these characters behaved illogically – as if they were purposely ignoring obvious facts so that the author could progress a particular story arc. At times, some of the scenes felt a little rushed and the world-building on a whole a touch on the contrived side – I felt like I wanted more depth.

On the whole, I suspect the book’s comparison to A Game of Thrones might not have been for the best, because there’s a chance it might be a bit of a let-down for the die-hard GRRM fans who’re looking for their fix while we continue to wait anxiously for The Winds of Winter.

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