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Fall of a Kingdom (The Farsala Trilogy #1)

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,634 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
Ages 12 & up

Who was Sorahb?

Stories are told of a hero who will come to Farsala's aid when the need is greatest. But for thousands of years the prosperous land of Farsala has felt no such need, as it has enjoyed the peace that comes from being both respected and feared.

Now a new enemy approaches Farsala's borders, one that neither fears nor respects its name and legen
Mass Market Paperback, 422 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Simon Pulse (first published October 2003)
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Kereesa Yes. There is some violence (it is war after all), but nothing gory or too detailed. The writing is clear and concise in its plot, characterization,…moreYes. There is some violence (it is war after all), but nothing gory or too detailed. The writing is clear and concise in its plot, characterization, and moral compass. I would definitely recommend it to the 12-14 crowd.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Whitley Birks
Sep 08, 2012 Whitley Birks rated it it was ok
For all this book's good points (and there are many), it still fails because of one thing: I was rooting for the 'bad' guys the whole time.

Bell created a kingdom, Farsala, which has no redeeming qualities. The peasants are treated like shit, their technology is stale, their legal system is so corrupt it has more holes in it than swiss cheese. Every part of every facet of every system they have is flawed.

On the other side, we have the Hrum. More commonly known as the Romans. They have a fair ever
Jan 19, 2013 Hallie rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Have just lost the *second* review of this book, and this one was finished and just getting tweaked, so is most frustrating.

Briefly, I had gone on at length about the major problem I had with this book, which was an anachronistic presentation of the way one of the three main characters reacted to slavery. The kingdom of the title is Farsala (lightly fictionalised and fantasized ancient Persia), and it's a pretty rotten one, unless you're a deghan (noble). Farsala is about to be attacked by the
Mar 18, 2010 Trish rated it liked it
The vocabulary was a little bit of a hindrance in getting into this book, but once the definitions with their cultural understandings are in place, this book was hard to put down. The biggest benefit -- from a parent's perspective -- a youth could get out of reading this book is an understanding of politics. Hearing the thoughts of a cunning peasant peddler while being taught along with him the ways of a foreign people he has agreed to spy for is the easiest way to comprehend the waxing and wani ...more
Aurora Dimitre
Re-read April 2015, rated 5/5 stars
You know how I put this under shelves 'dramatic music necessary' and also 'liferuiners'? May or may not be totally connected. I'm just sayin'. Everything is so much more depressing when it's set to sad instrumental music. (view spoiler)

But I love these books. I love these books more than anything else in the world, probably. I mean, I go on and on about Knight &
Jan 12, 2011 Ithlilian rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I have to admit that I am a fan of fantasy books that take place in desert settings. I've yet to read one that I don't like, and Fall of a Kingdom is no exception. The book is decent, but I had some issues with it. First, the characters. Soraya is basically a spoiled daddy's girl, until she strikes out on her own and one event makes her completely change. I found her transformation sudden and a bit unbelievable. Jiaan, the illegitamate son of a king is treated very well for his position and is p ...more
Apr 15, 2013 Miko rated it it was amazing
The Farsala Trilogy is brilliant, well written and captivating. The magic that isn’t really magic is one of the most realistic, creative well crafted interpretations that I have ever come across. Instead of magic it’s more like an affinity, a connection and telekinesis all rolled into one. The “magic” is a skill instead of a craft or revered position. Like riding a bike, painting or dancing it is an essential yet overlooked skill that, though it may need practice, is something that you never rea ...more
Feb 01, 2016 wishforagiraffe rated it really liked it
Definitely a YA book (the line spacing and the font were both huge), it was still enjoyable. Three main protagonists, 1 female who is actually pretty unsympathetic and 2 male, all with very different views on their world and the war that their country is involved in. Based on real world Persian mythology (I'm pretty sure that is what it said in the back of the book), the invaders are Roman analogues. Definitely plan to continue the series, as the political side of the story had very interesting ...more
This book was really okay. It wasn't a stay up all night read for me and it didn't especially capture me. The different points of views left me confused about what this was all towards and there didn't especially seem to be a storyline (although this is probably because this is the first book in the series.) I also didn't connect with Kavi or Soraya at all until the very end when they actually resolved to do something. So far, I'm only interested in Jiaan. I don't understand why Bell chose to ha ...more
Amy Umlah
Apr 20, 2015 Amy Umlah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ya high-fantasy lovers
First off I loved this book!! The first time I read this book, when I was 10 or 11, I will honestly say that I had no idea what was going on. I realize now that the problem wasn’t the book, but my maturity when I read it. I had difficulty with the different POVs and the intricate politics and tactics. Now however, at the age of 21, I found those same parts to be my favorite bits in the novel. I fell in love with the characters and how they each changed, whether it was for the better or the wors ...more
Brandy Painter
Jun 28, 2011 Brandy Painter rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Review originally posted here.

Yay for a fantasy trilogy not set in a pseudo medieval Europe type place! Farsala is an ancient Persian type country about to be smacked down by a Greco-Roman type empire. The Farsalan nobility are haughty and arrogant. Everything in Farsala works to the benefit of the deghans (nobility). If as a peasant you serve a generous deghan so much the better for you. If not your life is misery. The religious system of the country is exploited by and used to benefit the degh
Oct 10, 2015 Robin rated it it was amazing
Inspired by a Persian legend and originally titled Flame, this is the first book of the Farsala Trilogy. The new and improved title, while dramatically distinctive, has the drawback of giving away the ending. But since the story is only getting started, that's probably all right.

The kingdom that falls in this book is called Farsala, a society that has held its own for many centuries against hostile neighbors on both sides. Its strength is also its vulnerability: an aristocratic class of cavalry
Cathleen Ash
Jan 29, 2014 Cathleen Ash rated it it was amazing
Hilari Bell continues to amaze me with her ability to capture a reader immediately, and keep them hooked until the very last page (and beyond!). In this new trilogy, she introduces us to a cast of characters from two very different backgrounds (the indigenous and the invading army). Soraya and Jiann, who have the same father but were raised very differently. We also begin to get the history of Farsala and Sorahb's tale from many many years ago. All of it starts us on a journey, a quest to keep F ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Deirdre rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, re-read, fantasy
I love this series!

And I'm adding re-reads to this year's reading challenge -- just to make sure I'll be able to re-read some of my favorites.

Definitely, this series is one of my favorites. What I love most about it is precisely what some people hate about it -- that our "heroes" are not always right. It's really interesting to see the conflicts that develop when the "bad" side has so much good to offer. And I love how Hilari Bell incorporates the ancient Persian myths! I also love her depiction
Jul 19, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it
Fall of a Kingdom was a title I picked up for its cover art. I had the book for about three months before I actually got into the story. I found the story a bit slow in the beginning, but then what story isn't? Once I got to know the characters the story took off I couldn't wait to read what happened next to each of the characters. I loved how Bell wrote each chapter from the view of one of her three main characters, Jiann, Soraya, and Kavi. Honestly the story only gets better and more interesti ...more
Sarah Maddaford
I picked this book up solely because the cover was fascinating to me. I love fantasy books anyway and one set in a Persian/Middle Eastern type culture was even more fascinating for being slightly different than traditional fantasy. I really enjoyed the three main characters and the pacing was excellent. The world was expansive and intricate without having to stop and slow down for explanations every few minutes. This definitely read like a first book in a fantasy trilogy, but it wasn't quite as ...more
Apr 06, 2016 Eskana rated it liked it
Plot Summary: Jiaan, Kavi, and Soraya live in the Persian-like land of Farsala, but they live very different lives. Jiaan is the bastard son of a "deghan" or lord, and he tries desperately to prove that he's a worthy soldier and son of his father, not just a peasant. Soraya is his half-sister, a spoiled "deghass" who is accustomed to being treated as her station demands. And Kavi is a peasant, a bit of a con artist and thief just trying to get by in an unjust system that favors the nobility and ...more
Aug 26, 2009 Becky rated it really liked it
It had all the feel of ancient Rome mixed with perhaps a little bit of China and Native American culture. It was a great beginning to a larger tale and I'm excited to continue the trilogy. These are real and imperfect characters who are not always predictable. How in the world are they going to get out of this predicament?
Oct 27, 2014 Aelvana rated it it was amazing
It has a unique style of fantasy (or perhaps historical fiction; it's hard to tell), drawing on Middle Eastern myths and legends rather than the more familiar European or American ones. The only real complaint I have with the book is that it hardly ties anything up, but since it's marked on the spine as book 1, I don't think I need to worry about whether or not there'll be a sequel. I did have problems with Soraya being a huge brat, but thankfully the story is split between her, her half-brother ...more
May 13, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
After reading the Raven Duet, I noticed that the author was listed as "the author of the Farsala Trilogy" on the cover. I did a little research, and decided to read the series of books that actually made this author famous. I wasn't disappointed.

This book was really good. While it had a gripping storyline, and was pretty decent as a stand alone, you can tell the author was really setting the stage for the story to come. Definitely looking forward to reading the rest of this series. I love it whe
I just couldn't get myself interested in this book! There are great stories similar to this that enticed me right off the bat but for some reason, I felt disconnected from this one. Maybe one day it will catch my eye again!
I enjoyed the descriptions of everyday life, the cultural differences (including in worldview) between the Farsalans, the Hrum and the Suud tribe. Farsala is based on Persia and the Hrum are based on the Romans. The story is told thru the eyes of three main characters- Kavi- a sly peddler, Soraya- a haughty deghass (noblewoman) and Jiaan, the unacknowledged son of Soraya's military commander father. I like that these three perspectives were shown, as all too often in fantasy we get *only a noble ...more
May 13, 2014 mercy rated it it was amazing
I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a couple of years before I decided it was time that I read it. I bought it because I thought that it sounded interesting and the cover looked pretty cool, and now that I've gotten the chance to read it, my only regret is that I did not read it earlier. I thought that it was such a good book. The entire series was amazing to me. I love that there wasn't really a "romantic" plot like you'd see in most of the current stories out today. I thought that the p ...more
Aug 30, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
Series review here.
ACS Librarian
The Farsala Trilogy is an excellent adventure/magic/action series, but most of all it's a great story of war. Not just fighting, but all the intrigue and negotiation and logistics that go along with the fighting. There are no fantasy creatures in this series - just various groups of people with different talents and motives. The first book, 'Fall of a Kingdom', takes a lot of time to introduce the characters and conflict, before any battle is fought. You have to be patient to reach the hacking a ...more
Jan 27, 2012 Bradley rated it liked it
Not bad for a kiddie fantasy book. Far better than the romance I read last. =)
Debby Zigenis-Lowery
Oct 12, 2014 Debby Zigenis-Lowery rated it it was amazing
This was a great start to a fantasy trilogy. With three intriguing main characters, a noblewoman, an itinerant peddler, and the loved, illegitimate son of a lord, it follows the events leading up to a devastating attack on the kingdom of Farsala by an empire-building nation that reminds me a great deal of Rome. Exploring questions of social status and morality, I ended up caring for each of the main protagonists in spite of some bad choices and initial off-putting character traits. I am now eage ...more
Jun 05, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Complex, gritty, and beautifully written. The approach of "three teenagers who want to fix things" could be cliche, but instead is fresh and fascinating. I also appreciate the growth and change of the characters, the way each of them has flaws and admirable qualities, and the way the main conflict is set up. The author makes you root for both sides, and creates a dilemma that is difficult to solve.

The only drawback to this book for me would be the occasional mild swearing. Overall, I loved it an
Apr 18, 2015 Laura rated it liked it
I really liked this book so why the 3 stars? Soraya for one. And Jiann for another. That's two of the three main characters in the book. Soraya was just...annoying. But I get it. She starts off as this haughty princess like character and she has to learn humility. And Jiann was just too noble and pious. Plus I was afraid that there was a love interest growing between Soraya and Jiann for the first half of the book. Oh and did I mention they are half brother and sister? Gross!

But luckily one was
Nov 23, 2009 Meredith rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-reads
This trilogy came highly recommended by Tamora Pierce, who is one of my all-time favorite authors, and my brother, who I almost always listen to in the area of books. Tamora Pierce has listed this book on one of her recommended reading lists (and yes, I do stalk those when I'm bored). I was a little hesitant when I read the excerpt because, while I do love fantasy, I don't always enjoy worlds where the author makes up half of the worlds and the culture is just so out there. With all the 'Time's ...more
Lou Rocama
I quite enjoyed this, and still have fond memories of it. I have a fondness for arid climates in fantasy books, and they were much rarer in 2004.

However, the most interesting thing about this book is that it taught me that I'm a title snob. Proof?

I get this from the library, in the original edition (title: Flame). I adore it, and even look into buying the sequel as an arc (title: Wheel).

Three years later, I buy the new edition in paperback from a thrift shop (title: Fall of a Kingdom). I find i
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: Fantasy novel with desert setting? [s] 2 21 May 22, 2015 05:40PM  
Inspiration for Rostam/Sorahb 1 2 Nov 28, 2014 08:17AM  
depth 4 21 Nov 27, 2014 09:20AM  
What's The Name o...: Fantasy book (invading country, water steel, more in post) [s] 4 25 Jun 22, 2014 03:12PM  
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As far as writing is concerned, I call myself the poster child for persistence. Songs of Power, the first novel I sold, was the 5th novel I'd written. When it sold I was working on novel #13. The next to sell, Navohar, was #12, and the next, A Matter of Profit, was #9. The Goblin Wood was #6, and the first Sorahb book, Flame (later renamed Farsala: Fall of a Kingdom), will be #15. You get the pict ...more
More about Hilari Bell...

Other Books in the Series

The Farsala Trilogy (3 books)
  • Rise of a Hero (The Farsala Trilogy, #2)
  • Forging the Sword (The Farsala Trilogy, #3)

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