Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #1
Rating: 1 star
The three kingdoms of Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia may have been at peace for many years, but tensions are rising. Paelsia struggles with poverty and exploitation from both its neighbours, and when a foolish nobleman from Auranos kills one of their people, Paelsia joins forces with the cruel and cunning king of Limeros, who sees this as an opportunity to take out his rival. The children of these lands are drawn unwillingly into this political battle. Princess Cleo, daughter of the Auranos king, must leave her life of luxury in search of a magic long forgotten. Desperate to avenge his brother, Jonas finds himself leading the Paelsian rebels. Princess Lucia of Limeros discovers that she has supernatural powers her father wants to control, whilst her brother Magnus must choose between ending up like his father or the love that could be his salvation – if it wasn’t forbidden. In these three kingdoms no-one is safe from treachery, politics, or love.
Falling Kingdoms has been praised as “George R.R. Martain for young adults”. Heed my warning, and don’t be fooled by this: A Song of Ice and Fire this book is not. What it is is a predictable and, quite frankly, boring mess that promotes a sexist idea a what a woman should be and is patronising to teen readers. At times it felt like the book was trying to live up to the ASoIaF comparison – there’s even a incestuous unrequited love from Magnus to his sister Lucia. (Only, wait! No, it’s ok, she’s actually adopted so it’s all good. Incest? Eww, don’t you know this books for kids? What’s wrong with you?) Though Magnus began as a very interesting character, grappling with the desire for Lucia he knew was wrong whilst also trying to be a good brother, and son to his evil father, but once Lucia rejects him he becomes ‘cold’ and just as two-dimensional as the rest of the cast. Also, it seems that this means that Lucia must ‘save’ Magnus in the later books from his evil father. (How? By falling in love with him, of course! It’s all women are good for, after all.)
This problem, however, was just the tip of the iceberg compared to the waste that was Princess Cleo. Spoilt, selfish, predictable, but of course beautiful, and oh-so-special, Cleo is a Mary Sue at her worst. The forbidden romance between her and her guard was obvious from the moment she compares him to a drunken lord, and this was the first chapter. Watching her ‘struggle’ with this ‘burden’ of loving someone she shouldn’t was just plain boring to read. But the absolute worst was the scene where Cleo has a moment where she realises she is just a political puppet being used by others if she continues to let them, and that everyone sees her as a spoilt little girl. Yet, instead of standing up for herself, she decides not to interfere or change because ‘she might get in Daddy’s way’. This is unbelievably sexist, yet this series is clearly meant to be the story of how Cleo becomes a strong, brave Queen.
I was not impressed with Falling Kingdoms in the slightest, and will not be reading any this series or anything from this author again.