Falling Kingdoms #2
by Morgan Rhodes
Published on December 3, 2013 by Razorbill
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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The road to power... is paved with blood and magic.
Cleo is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people.
Magnus stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia.
Lucia is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms.
Jonas watched at the palace gates a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius.
After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over...
At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas's hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia's, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus's, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.
When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius's road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.
We return to the three kingdoms of Auranos, Paelsia, and Limeros to follow the four heroes set forth in the previous book, Falling Kingdoms. A lot has changed since the start of book 1, including total disruption of order in Auranos and the king of Limeros taking over the continent. But if I’m being completely honest, I finished this book in record time but I couldn’t give you a detailed report of what happened because it wasn’t memorable.
From what I’ve seen of this book and the last is that the plot has been done time and time again. Everything that happened in Rebel Spring I could predict to the point that I stopped caring about what happened but instead who it happened to. The strength of these books lies in the characters, but even those weren’t as strong as the first book.
I hated Princess Cleo in Falling Kingdoms. She was a spoiled brat who cared little for anything (or anyone) but herself. Yet of the protagonists in Rebel Spring, I liked her the most. She’s becoming more of an independent thinker who doesn’t just flit around doing whatever she pleases with no concern for the consequences. Jonas held promise but didn’t live up to it. He constantly complained about the gaps between the rich and poor which is fine on its own if it hadn’t become all his character lived for. Quickly growing on my nerves, I had hope for the last two protagonists, Lucia and Magnus. Lucia reminds me of an obnoxious younger sister. Despite being the foretold sorceress who would save the world, her powers are strictly elemental and out of control. And I couldn’t care less about her.
Which is weird, because I usually love the magic users in a book (like Kell from A Darker Shade of Magic).
Magnus could be so great if he would just stick it to his father and stop pretending to be the biggest asshat in Auranos (aside from the king). Instead of making him stronger by living these two roles, he turned into a depressed and defensive kid who’s in love with his sister.
Speaking of, WTF with the romance in this series? We’re see how incest plays out on a much more vulgar level with A Game of Thrones — though Jaime and Cersei are on the same page in those books whereas Magnus is living the unrequited life. I don’t mind Magnus/Lucia nearly as much as the new Cleo/Jonas affair. For a book and a half we’re told they hate each other and not in the “I hate you but secretly am falling in love with you” way. In fact, there’s absolutely no indication of this turn of events but suddenly they’re kissing?! And in the same insta-love realm, Lucia and her dream(boat) Alexius who’s well over a hundred times her age yet he swoons over this bratty teenager. No. Thank. You.
But in ALL of this, I still really enjoyed the book… and I’m not entirely sure why. I would have to peg it on the writing style and my reader’s hope that everything will magically fix itself in the next book as those are the only two consistent elements from these first two books. So maybe, just maybe, things will improve with Gathering Darkness.