This is a really complex book. There are three separate kingdoms with three separate cast of characters. Eventually, the characters cross paths, but there is still a ton of people to keep straight. Thank the goddess that there is a breakdown of the cast of characters in the beginning of the book. MARK THIS PAGE! I found myself looking back to it more than I have with any other book.
The book starts out telling you about two witches stealing a baby from her mother because the baby is prophesied to be a sorceress that will save their world when she comes into her power. You then go on to meet all of these characters, but you can narrow it down from the get-go that the baby at the beginning is Princess Lucia. Once you learn more about the characters, you’ll figure it out quickly (it’s not meant to be a secret for the reader). It’s easy to forget about the Prologue, but as the book goes on you realize how important it is (just a heads up).
AURANUS (The Princess)
This kingdom is the richest of the three. It is ran by King Corvin and his two daughters, Princess Emilia and Princess Cleo. Cleo is the main character in this story. You learn the most about her and her personality. Cleo is impulsive, stubborn, and is used to getting what she wants. She has also been coddled all of her life because she is the baby of the family and her sister is the one being groomed to take the throne after her father. When Cleo and her soon-to-be betrothed Lord Aron (who she hates, btw) take a trip to the neighboring country of Paelsia, tragedy strikes. A young man finds his throat at the business end of Aron’s dagger after he threatens Aron and Cleo. Aron feigns self-defense, but this event single handedly gets the ball rolling for everything else in the book. After the death of the young man in Paelsia, Cleo is heavy with grief. Things go from bad to worse for her quickly. Cleo has to find her inner strength and humbleness as she fights for the one she loves, her family, and her kingdom.
PAELSIA (The Rebel)
Paelsia is the middle country between Limeros and Auranus. This is also the poorest country. The people make their meager ages by growing grapes that are said to be grown using earth magic in the otherwise barren soil. The other countries look at Paelsians as savages because of the poverty they live in. The country is ran by a chieftan who claims to possess the magic that is long gone from the rest of the country. His magic is the only hope that the country has that better times are to come. Jonas and Tomas are two young men who live to keep their family alive in Paelsia. When Tomas is killed by Lord Aron of Auranus, Jonas vows to stop at nothing until he seeks revenge from the arrogant Lord Aron who killed his brother and the smug Princess Cleo who stood by with her guard and did nothing. Jonas must choose between brute force and using his cunningness to avenge his brother. Street smarts and common sense win out and Jonas finds himself on the brim of a revolution in his small, poor country. How far is he will to go for his brother? At what point does it stop being about his own grief and becomes about the country itself?
LIMEROS (The Heir and The Sorceress)
Limeros is the northern most country. The climate (and the people) is frigid and always seems to have a bitter chill. Limeros is ran by King of Blood, King Gaius and his family: Queen Althea, Prince Magnus, and Princess Lucia. There is also the king’s mistress, Sabina, who is his most trusted advisor and his rumored bastard son, Tobias, who has his eye on the throne. King Gaius has never had any interest in Magnus (except for beating him). In his eyes, Magnus is weak and soft hearted and embarrasses the family. King Gaius runs his country with a strong, bloody hand and even if someone is thought to be a witch, they are punished by death. King Gaius wants his country to stay devout to their goddess and will not hear anything of any sort of magic. When a revolution begins in the neighboring Paelsia, King Gaius sees this as a way to seek the ultimate power and take over the entire continent of Mytica. With the country on the edge of war, Prince Magnus finally find himself useful to the king. Magnus has a lot of secrets, though, and some of those secrets could ostracize him from his family and kingdom completely. Magnus has to learn to put his feelings behind him and harden his heart for the good of the country… But how far will he go? Can he ever live up to the King of Blood?
So there is also this subplot going on through this whole thing about these Watches who live in a paradise called the Sanctuary in another realm. They can take the form of a hawk and travel to the mortal realm to see what’s going on, but if they ever venture out in their human form then they can’t ever go back. They are looking for these ancient crystal things.. It’s hard to explain (because I don’t 100% understand it myself. I think there will be way more detail in the sequels). It all goes back to the Prologue with the witches and the baby sorceress.
So that is the watered down, dumbed down synopsis of everything that is going on. I didn’t even touch half of everything, because you know, spoilers. Like I said before, there are SO many characters and SO many POVs and you really have a tough time picking sides… especially when everyone starts becoming involved in each other’s life. Eventually ALL of the characters become intertwined and it is just nuts.
There is so much action. SO MUCH ACTION. If I could really only describe this book with one word, it would be death. Oh, you like that character? DEAD. What about that one? DEAD. That one over there? TORTURED THEN DEAD. I found myself gasping and wanting to rip the book in half because every time I really started to get attached… DEAD. This is a book that will certainly keep you on your toes. Rhodes really channeled her inner George R.R. Martin for this one.
There is also a lot of love stories going on. You know that Aron and Cleo are supposed to get married even though she hates him. You can guess that Nic is in love with Cleo. Theon sounds like a hottie and Cleo is definitely giving him the sexy eye. Jonas would rather die than be around Cleo (except to kill her for revenge), but fingers crossed this is actual just sexual tension because he has it bad for her too. Then there is Jonas and Lailah. King Gaius and his sidechick Sabina. All the boys in the yard and Princess Lucia. And I can’t leave out the Mortal Instruments thing Magnus and Lucia have going on (and because of this, in my head I have Jamie Campbell Bower as Prince Magnus even though he looks NOTHING like Magnus is described as. Oh well the heart wants what the heart wants). From all of the YA lit that I have read, I am pretty desensitized to the incest thing (after reading Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, I will never judge again), so I was rooting for them. Regardless, pretty much everyone in the book sounds like a hottie. The girls are all raven haired and fair skin or sun kissed with golden hair. My favorite hotties were Jonas, Theon, and Magnus.
Falling Kingdoms was amazing. Beyond amazing. It is for sure one of my favorite books I have read this year. If you take Game of Thrones, Kiss of Deception, and Throne of Glass and mash them all up, then you have an idea of what this book is about. It is literally taking all the will in my body to stop myself from running to the book store and buying the sequel. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. I feel like this is one of those books that you either REALLY REALLY LOVE or you absolutely hate. If you read other reviews, they’re fairly mixed and divided. I think if you like any of the books listed above as comparison then you will enjoy this one. I couldn’t get enough.