Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms #1)

3/5 Stars 
Published by Razorbill
Published December 11th, 2012

Synopsis: In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed ... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapses? It's the eve of war ... Choose your side.

In Morgan Rhodes' debut book, you are brought on a thrilling chase for magic and are witness to the hungry demeanors of those most willing to reign terror. Falling Kingdoms was good when it came to world building. I thought the divide between the three kingdoms was clear and the establishment of the three kingdoms individually was unique. It was definitely the growing animosity between the three kingdoms that made me want to keep reading. I was interested in what the result of the conflict would be like and how the kingdoms would ultimately fall apart or rise to the occasion. Rhodes did a terrific job in building up such a dynamic land as Mytica, especially with a background so infused with magical elements and eager to rule leaders.

Falling Kingdoms had a huge cast of characters that got a bit overwhelming at times. While it was engrossing to read and experience the story from different point of views, it eventually got a bit overbearing for me, especially at the end. I'm such a fan of multiple POVs, but something about the way this book used it had me feeling a little iffy. Besides this, however, I thought the characters were so appealing that I eventually warmed up a little bit more to the idea of having such a big cast of characters. They each had such individual voices that stood out when the chapters alternated. I enjoyed the side characters more than the main characters, which stinks because I never got a chapter from their point of views, but these side characters always lit up the pages whenever they appeared. If I were to introduce you to each and every character we'd be here all day, so I'll just keep it simple and say that it was certainly interesting to get to experience their differentiating characteristics.

The reason why I gave Falling Kingdoms a 3/5 star rating is still unclear to me, but there was something about it that just made me want to stop reading about 75% into the book. I wasn't invested in the characters and honestly just ended up not caring if they lived or died. I was expecting to be connected to these characters and devoted to the storyline, but the plot started to get messy for me and that's when I lost interest. Plus, the hype for these books across YouTube and Twitter definitely set the bar high for my expectations. I did enjoy it, just not as much as I had hoped. What had me hanging on was the constant mention of magic, witches, and sorcerers. You get a good glance into what the land of Mytica has in store, but not merely enough to satisfy your need (which is where the sequel, Rebel Springs, comes into play).

Since I am reading this for our Falling Kingdoms Readalong, I will be starting Rebel Springs as soon as this review is up. We have a discussion post with some questions and our answers coming up sometime this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that!