Steph Sinclair's Reviews > Falling Kingdoms

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
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This marks the second book I've read of the Breathless Reads collection from PenguinTeen and so far, I have not been disappointed. And now, I'm making it my personal mission to check out the others in the collection. With Origin I had edge-of-my-seat suspense, but with Falling Kingdoms I had conspiracies, action, war... blood. :D

Falling Kingdoms follows the story of four young people from different kingdoms whose destinies become intertwined during the strain of peace between the lands. We have Cleo, a princess of Auranos; Jonas, a peasant from Paelsia; and Lucia & Magnus from Limeros. At first I was a little overwhelmed with remembering who was who, because besides the main characters, there are also quite a few important secondary characters to keep track of. Thankfully, the plot picks up rather quickly and kept me interested long enough to focus. Since Falling Kingdoms essentially has four storylines built into one and is very character driven, it's probably easier to review by analyzing the book by each character.


I struggled to like Cleo and most of the characters involved in her story arc. Much of the time I generally found her to be incredibly frustrating and immature. She's also spoiled, stubborn and selfish. But she does have a good amount of character growth by the end of the novel. The sad part is that it comes at a really high price for her. I also disliked most of her storyline. The entirety of the events in Falling Kingdoms begins with her friend Aron (also known as the most infuriating character ever) murdering a Paelsian peasant after trying to cheat the family out of money for wine. Dude just claims his life as if he owned the place. Then somewhere along the way there is a bit of insta-love between her and another character that I REALLY didn't care for. In fact, I thought that whole love story was poorly executed given the novel's fast pace. Even given those dislikes, I feel like I will enjoy her character much more in book two.


Jonas is the brother of the murdered peasant and through his thirst for vengeance, a revolution begins. He helps rally his people and forms and alliance with the King of Limeros to siege Auranos. I enjoyed his story arc much more than Cleo's because he is clearly the under dog of the four. But I do feel he received the least amount of page time than the other main characters. However, based on the ending, it looks like he will play a much larger role in the next book.

Lucia and Magnus:

Ah, those two. Let's just call them Luke and Leia for now, minus actually being blood relatives. Or better yet Clary and Jace from The Mortal Instruments series. Okay, so this was the storyline that really drove this novel since the prologue is about Lucia's past. Their arc had the most plot twists and turns along with shocking revelations. Or perhaps, not so shocking if you have read similar character situations. Magnus hides his feelings from Lucia and with their story I sat on the edge of my seat just waiting for when the secret was bound to come out. All the while, war on Auranos approaches. What's interesting is that even though it's clear (at least, right now) Limeros is the bad guy, they don't seem to be bad characters. But considering how they had large roles in the conquering of Auranos, it'll be interesting to see how their characters, especially Magnus, redeems their selves.

I really think Rhodes applied the right amount of anticipation throughout the novel. I never felt bored and at times I stayed up late into the night reading. And while each main character did seem to incite moments of great frustration, I liked them because they are all so flawed and do a lot of growing. It's one thing to be plagued with an annoying character for the duration of the novel, but to see genuine progress really makes the difference. These characters are young and virtually "play things of the gods" used as pawns for bigger purposes unbeknownst to them. Rhodes pushes her characters to make really difficult decisions, causing them to step up to the plate and face their fates or destinies. I have to commend her for taking their individual arcs and weaving them together so flawlessly as if it were always ment to be that way.

The biggest thing that felt off to me was the pacing. Time passes very swiftly from one PoV change to the next and the reader is just told how much time has passed in the beginning of the chapter. This didn't work too much for me because I didn't necessarily feel or see the change myself. This led to small incidents of confusion like with the above insta-love I mentioned.

Though despite my small issues, that are just that, small, I really enjoyed Falling Kingdoms. So much so that I found myself thinking about the story long after I finished. It looks like the next book is shaping up to be even better than it's processor and I can't wait! If you are still on the fence, you could try checking out a sample of the first few chapters on the Breathless Reads Facebook page. But I really think those few, short chapters doesn't even come close to doing the book justice.

Big thank you to Anna from Literary Exploration for lending me her ARC! 

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
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Quotes Steph Liked

Morgan Rhodes
“Even in the darkest and most cruel person, there is still a kernel of good. And within the most perfect champion, there is darkness. The question is, will one give in to the dark or the light? It's something we decide with every choice we make, every day that we exist. What might not be evil to you could be evil to someone else. Knowing this makes us powerful even without magic.”
Morgan Rhodes, Falling Kingdoms

Reading Progress

May 22, 2012 – Shelved
May 22, 2012 – Shelved as: young-adult
May 22, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012-release
May 22, 2012 – Shelved as: penguin
August 8, 2012 – Started Reading
August 29, 2012 –
page 15
3.64% "There are a lot of characters to keep up with in this book."
September 4, 2012 –
page 50
12.14% "Okay, this is getting interesting. :D Planning on really digging into this one tonight."
September 5, 2012 –
page 100
September 6, 2012 –
page 163
September 7, 2012 –
page 216
52.43% "I'm really enjoying the storyline, but I dislike the romance between Cleo and Theon. Ugh. Insta-love and a love triangle on the horizon."
September 8, 2012 –
page 300
72.82% "That was unexpected. O.O"
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012-reads
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: action-packed
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: alternating-povs
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: high-fantasy
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: i-liked-it
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: i-really-enjoyed-it
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: original-and-creative
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: serve-me-up-insta-love
September 9, 2012 – Shelved as: superb-world-building
September 9, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 14, 2013 – Shelved as: gave-away

Comments Showing 1-49 of 49 (49 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa The cover is kickass, yo.

Steph Sinclair Lisa wrote: "The cover is kickass, yo."

I know. I'm dying to read this!

message 3: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Same here!

message 4: by MLE (new) - added it

MLE  Yes please! I want to read this desperately.

message 5: by Blythe (new) - added it

Blythe In case you didn't already know, this is on Edelweiss!

Steph Sinclair Yeah, but I think I was declined. Lol. Or ignored.

message 7: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Same here :(

Although I have no idea why they deny you at all, Steph.

I mean, your reviews are totally kick-ass. They should actually be begging you to read their books. lol.

Or maybe they're scared the book sucks and you'll tear it to shreds? hehe

Steph Sinclair Thanks, Lisa! I'm sure they get tons of requests, but Penguin, Bloomsbury and Simon & Schuster have always been hit or miss with me. Which is totally fine. I'm a proud owner of a library card and I'm not afraid to use it! Lol.

message 9: by Blythe (last edited Jul 09, 2012 07:55PM) (new) - added it

Blythe I just got many of declines from Penguin today. Apparently they were out of copies, and I was really looking forward to the books they declined me for (Lucid, Venom, and Through To You).

Steph Sinclair Yeah, I was declined for Lucid and Origin, but they approved my for Origin on Netgalley.

message 11: by Blythe (new) - added it

Blythe I was also declined for Breathe, but that hasn't gotten the best reviews so far so I don't care about that anymore. But I was really looking forward to Lucid and Through to You.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I was declined for Venom and Origin but got Origin on NetGalley. Strange.

message 13: by Blythe (new) - added it

Blythe NetGalley accepts me much more often than Edelweiss.

Steph Sinclair Blythe wrote: "NetGalley accepts me much more often than Edelweiss."

Yeah, they are a lot more choosy on there.

message 15: by Experiment BL626 (new)

Experiment BL626 Maybe 'cause Edelweiss has a higher premium or something.

message 16: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Ugh, Penguin is SO picky. Their criteria is also whack.
I read at one point they preferred bloggers who had AT LEAST 1K followers.

IDK IDK, but sometimes they do let go of at least 1 galley every couple of months to the little bloggers. :/

Steph Sinclair 1k followers? Well, I'm out. Lol. That's harder for non-blogger blogs because we don't have google friend connect to show off numbers. Thought I guess if I count our feedburner subscribers with email subscribers and networked blogs, we have around 800. Too bad they don't count goodreads!! Gah!

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I have over 1700 followers through GFC and Feedburner and email and I was declined.

Steph Sinclair Kara wrote: "I have over 1700 followers through GFC and Feedburner and email and I was declined."

Well, there goes that theory!

message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I list all of my stats in my request too. Unless they are just counting GFC, which is really shitty on their part. I have no idea.

Christina (A Reader of Fictions) I've been accepted for things on NG but not Edelweiss too. They hate me on there. I def don't have the best stats, though. Sigh.

message 22: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Penguin just approved me for three galleys (all part of a series they're re-releasing). So, maybe it's just hit or miss? And believe me, I'm a tiny speck in the book blogger world.

Steph Sinclair I think it depends on the popularity of the galley on how generous they'll be with the galley.

message 24: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Yeah I just got declined but they included the message: "Thank you for your interest in this e-galley. Unfortunately, we have met our quota for free copies of this title at this time."

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I got that message too. Which is bullshit because I sent my request the first day those books went up on Edelweiss.

message 26: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Again, Penguin is a picky pub.

You never know with them.

message 27: by Blythe (last edited Jul 10, 2012 08:35AM) (new) - added it

Blythe Funny thing is that I was just approved for a Penguin book on NetGalley.

Steph Sinclair Kara wrote: "I got that message too. Which is bullshit because I sent my request the first day those books went up on Edelweiss."

Lol, same. I applied as soon as it went up. Oh well. I'm sure they get tons of requests.

message 29: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle So jealous that you get to read this now! ;)

Steph Sinclair Rochelle wrote: "So jealous that you get to read this now! ;)"

A blogging friend lent to me. :)

Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner Damn you USA/UK bloggers! I am so jealous!

Steph Sinclair Zemira wrote: "Damn you USA/UK bloggers! I am so jealous!"

Lol, oh no. Canada is where it's at! They get all the books. :)

Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner I don't care! I just know I am not getting them! Not even begging helps me snag an ARC! xD

message 34: by RIN ಠ_ಠ (new) - added it

RIN ಠ_ಠ Please be good! *A*

message 35: by Lisa (new) - added it


Deniz so jealous right now! enjoy it!!

message 37: by Purcheria (new)

Purcheria Ooo. Can't wait to hear your review on this one. It looks so good and "dayum" that cover is crazy hot!!

Jason "A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey" sounds like Arya.

"Supernatural legacy she is destined to wield" sounds like Dany.

But 4 narrators is fewer than...dozens, including many who are not at all interesting. So that's a leg up on Game of Thrones.

message 39: by MLE (new) - added it

MLE  Jason wrote: ""A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey" sounds like Arya.

"Supernatural legacy she is destined to wield" sounds like Dany.

But 4 narrators is fewer than...doz..."

I read a couple of those, and got to the point I was skipping the characters I cared nothing about. That's why the names are at the beginning of the chapters?

message 40: by LeeLou (new) - added it

LeeLou I can't wait to see what you think about this book!

Steph Sinclair Oh, it was good! There was a few things that bothered me, but overall it was very addicting and had a ton of action.

message 42: by Eva Rose (new)

Eva Rose OMG, this makes me so excited.

Anna (Literary Exploration) Yayyyyyy I'm so glad you liked it!!!

message 44: by Steph (last edited Sep 09, 2012 09:16PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Steph Sinclair Anna wrote: "Yayyyyyy I'm so glad you liked it!!!"

I can't wait for book two! That ending!!! GAHH!!! Thank you so much for lending it to me! <3

message 45: by Heidi (new)

Heidi I can't wait for book two! That ending!!! GAHH!!! Thank you so much for lending it to me! <3"

By that comment, I'm going to assume this is one of those endings that makes you want Book 2 immediately? Loose ends? I've been debating on whether to read this one or to hold off for the series, which depends largely on the ending.

Steph Sinclair It is and isn't at the same time. The immediate conflict is taken care of, but it doesn't end happily. So it's not so much of a cliffhanger, just that I want to continue on and see what happens next.

message 47: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Oh good! That I can do. Thanks for the info, Steph!

Raeshantael Clay Steph, nice review. I read this book because of you and it was brilliant!!

message 49: by Patricia (new) - added it

Patricia Now I have to read this. :O (Also, what is this Breathless Reads collection and Origins you're talking about, because I need to know!)

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