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Fall of a Kingdom

(The Farsala Trilogy #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  5,327 ratings  ·  235 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)

Community Reviews

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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,327 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Whitley Birks
Sep 08, 2012 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
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in Hilari Bell's Farsala Trilogy. We're introduced to Jiaan--a peasant-born bastard son of a noble taken into the Commander's household as a page, Soraya--the Commander's fiery, willful daughter and Kavi--a spy perhaps, but who knew where his loyalties truly ran? Each chapter follows from a third person viewpoint of one of those three young people--who's lives are intertwined together no matter what the distance (of land or experience) forces upon them. Additionally there ...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 &
Mar 18, 2010 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
Mar 21, 2015 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
Mar 02, 2011 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
Dec 15, 2013 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
Brandy Painter
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
Jan 12, 2011 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 14, 2013 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
Krista Ivy
three young people work to live thru the day and achieve what they can as individuals.

a girl of royal blood who is spoiled, but a good tracker. she is trained by magic wielders when her family has to leave her to survive with another family in the desert. She learns some humility and to learn of the unknown and not simply fear it.

a boy of half-royal blood. he is deserved of the full title, but the others treat him as if a peasant. his father knows that he is more and expects it of him. He give
Cathleen Ash
Jan 29, 2014 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
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read, ya, 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
It was okay.

I found it a little heavy-handed to be honest. It sounds like it might get better in the sequels, but with so many other books out there, I really need to be convinced in the first to continue on to the second.
Sarai Howard
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think the most interesting thing about this book was the setting. The Persian influence is what drew me to it in the first place, and ultimately was what kept me reading it. It certainly wasn't the characters.

Soraya struck me as unsympathetic and uncaring from the beginning, and I mostly skimmed her chapters. Jiaan was alright, but I couldn't quite pin down his motives. Who was he? What did he want? I mean, it's obvious he wants his father's acceptance, but there were times where he seemed to
Yoru || ~Cyanide Latte~
Revisiting this book after a handful of years is a delight, I must say. For fellow lovers of world history, particularly any ancient world history centered on the Persian and Roman empires, this fantasy should likely be on your TBR list. The kingdom of Farsala and their enemy empire of Hrum are deadringers for Persia and Rome. This book opens the first part of the story, starting with the fateful Hrum invasion of Farsala, and the Farsalan attempts at defending themselves.

We have three points of
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 18, 2011 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
Aug 26, 2009 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?
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!
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, signed
4.5 stars
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite series. Complex and diverse characters, engrossing story, poignant mythology, and no romance!
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Series review here.
Jan 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Not bad for a kiddie fantasy book. Far better than the romance I read last. =)
Mycal Stewart
I had high hopes for this book, but sadly it fell flat. This book started off very promising. It was so intriguing and I was looking forward for this book. However, as the story progressed, it almost seemed to get less eventful. The author started to tell more of what happened than show it. Every point in the story that I was looking forward was never shown. For example, a character starts to learn magic, but you never really see them learn it. The character is just suddenly able to control wate ...more
D.L. Morrese
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Traditional high fantasy often involves a war between two kingdoms/countries, one of them good and one of them evil (or at least one that's clearly ethically worse than the other). This first book of the Farsala trilogy is different. Yes, it's high fantasy and two countries are going to war, but neither is 'good' or 'evil.' They simply have different customs and languages. (The author modeled the two sides or Rome and Persia.) High fantasy tales also often rely on magic as a major plot device. N ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow - what a fantastic, exhilarating story - it took me awhile to really get into this book - I was reading another so it was hard to concentrate. When I returned to this book I became griped by the characters and their personality, struggles, life styles and problems. I have to admit, I had to write their names down and who they were to keep them straight. There are 3 main characters that we learn about and follow. The author is great on her description of things, felt like I was right there. W ...more
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lacks any originality or excitement.

All three protagonists all defined by a couple traits. There's the haughty, adventurous noble's daughter; the capable-yet-ashamed bastard; and the bitter, hapless merchant. Supporting characters are likewise flat, and dialogue flows predictably as each party acts out their chosen cliché.

Both warring nations are similarly unimaginative. Faux-Romans are invading the Middle-East- themed Farsala. And while corruption and predjudice run rampant in Farsala, the Rom
Kirsten Simkiss
I refused to finish this one. While I did not in any way find it offensive, I did find it very boring. I could not bring myself to enjoy any of the characters or the aspects of the world. The characters were insubstantial at best, and while they were said to be ages fifteen and nineteen, they all acted as if they were around twelve years old. Not only that, but the vocabulary was incredibly simple for a young adult novel, even though it encompassed much more adult realities of fictional life. Fu ...more
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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

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)