Falling Kingdoms has been touted quite a bit as “Game of Thrones for YA.” And it most certainly has the elements of that genre of fantasy. But it was so much more as well.
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword…
The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
After I first read this I was telling everybody “OH MY GOD MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER WAS STABBED HORRIBLY THROUGH THE CHEST WITH A SWORD!” It was terribly traumatic for me. But now that I’ve had months to reflect I’m pretty sure my favourite character was actually the person standing next to the person who was killed via chest wound. And I was upset more on that person’s behalf.
And this is why I loved this book so much. The person who did the stabbing had previously been my second favourite character. Still might be. I’m not sure. The characters and their relationships and their meetings and how they all react to their different upbringings and worries and troubles and things…I just loved the scope of their different lives. And how complicated everything got as their lives clashed together.
The worlds and the kingdoms and the mythology was this huge epic thing that could have taken over the story but stayed very much as a compliment to the true focus of the novel, the characters. This is something that I loved as well. The way that it was an epic fantasy novel while still retaining the intimacy and character appeal that I have come to expect and love in YA books. It was a very good balance. And the closeness I felt to all the characters made the epic moments all the better.
There were characters that I hated at the beginning that I loved by the end and vice versa. There were characters that I loved to hate and characters that…just…frsutrated and…ugh I just want them DEAD! They are ruining everyone’s lives and why can’t the young people just take over and be friends????
I may have gotten a little upset when certain characters were manipulated by their parents or leaders.
I thought the ending was perfect. It wasn’t quite a cliffhanger but it did leave you needing the rest of the story. I loved that there was a big battle but it didn’t take over the narrative. It was still focused on the characters and their individual goals and journeys.
I especially loved the way we saw Cleo at the end. She was the only character I was consistently happy with, consistently wanted her to succeed and be happy. She basically is going through life swimmingly before it all blows up in her face. I feel she will be forced to become a badass in the next novel. I’m rather looking forward to it.
Falling Kingdoms was a fast paced, epic fantasy full of battles and magic and politics but it was the characters that made me fall in love with the story.