Lauren's Reviews > Falling Kingdoms

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
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's review
Apr 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: december-2012

Rounded up to 4 stars, but this is probably a 3.5 for me as it is now in its unfinished state. It certainly felt unfinished, which was disappointing because I now find myself wondering how much better it will be upon release as it has the potential to be SO much better.

The good: I enjoyed it! It took a while to get into due to the switching POVs and large cast of characters, but overall it was entertaining and fast-paced, and I found myself eager to know how it would all unfold, which kingdoms would fall, etc. I loved trying to figure out how all the characters would meet and interact. While I wouldn't compare this to A Game of Thrones or even Kristin Cashore like it's been marketed, it was light fantasy that felt appropriate for its intended audience without being too dumbed-down.

Rhodes clearly made an effort to add complexity to her characters, and she really succeeded in this regard. The only other book I've read by her is her angel YA novel Dark Kiss, where I found the characters painfully one-dimensional, and the contrast between these two books is astounding.

In Falling Kingdoms, I was surprised to find myself switching loyalties as often as the point of views did; completely convinced by their different motivations and backstories. The many POVs allows you an omniscience that makes you painfully aware of the way prejudice and misunderstandings have clouded the characters' judgement as tensions build between them. There is a lot of painful miscommunication here, and with the exception of Princess Cleo, who came across as a generic YA heroine, they all read like real people, and this really saved the story for me.

The bad: As is too often seen in YA novels these days, there's a crazy amount of overwhelming beauty amongst the characters. Literally all the main female characters are stunningly beautiful or sweetly pretty, and it did get a bit frustrating at times. While I'm entertained by the intrigues of a bunch of beautiful people as much as the next person, a little bit of diversity wouldn't hurt, and after all that great character development this was really a big step back for me.

Second, the writing. As some other reviewers have mentioned, the dialogue was at times so modern and out of place that it became distracting. There was noticeable repetition of certain phrases - "The lie slid smoothly" comes to mind - and while this wouldn't normally be a huge problem for me, because it was used for effect its repetition was obvious and the phrase lost its impact. However, given that my copy is an ARC and Falling Kingdoms still has a good half a year before its release, these are all things that I'm sure (or hope) will be edited.

Overall: I'm giving this the benefit of the doubt and awarding it 4 stars for pure potential, in anticipation of the writing being cleaned up. If you're wondering whether to check this out, I would say, quite confidently, YES. But wait till December!
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Lauren Sam wrote: "I was looking forward to seeing what you thought of this. Great review! I can't wait to pick up my copy once it's released. :)"

Thank you! Really hope you like it! :) I might re-read it upon release to see if/how it's changed.

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