Hi guys, I'm Anushka (or Annie, if you like). I'm a serial reader and a more-than-occasional reviewer and I like to mention authors by their names in my reviews. (Ha! Suck it GoodReads!)
What I hate more than a weak heroine is a weak heroine written or presented as a strong one.
And both the female characters in this book fell in just that category.
Falling Kingdoms is like Strange Angels. There are several flaws but something about the book makes you overlook them and I did just that. Despite the annoyances the broken writing and underdeveloped characters created I liked the book for about 90% of it. But after that things just went w-r-o-n-g.
This book has been called the Game of Thrones for teens but I have neither read nor seen the TV show so I cannot address the issue any further but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that the plot of this book is overused and unoriginal. But somehow Morghan Rhodes makes it work, the story was fast-paced and easy to grasp, doesn’t not require your brain much.
But that’s the problem.
See, I love high-fantasy, it is my favourite genre and I like it even more when it is very precisely detailed. I don’t mind if things get complicated but as long as I get a feel and taste of the world I’m reading, I love it. But the world in this book is well-built, no complains there but it came as too …easy and uncomplicated. This happens, that happens and done. It doesn’t leave you with anything to ponder upon, to think about or get excited about, the story just keeps moving forward in a flow.
Despite all that this book was going for a 3 stars for me until the final battle scene. Boy, I hate it when wars are not accurately described in the story. Wars are huge, they are the deal maker or breaker of a book and I expect it to be written like one but no, here the final battle scene was done with in a shoddy way in just 2 pages. Just 2 pages.
Call me creepy but I like to read about bloodshed and killings because that’s what makes a bloody war! But the final showdown in this book was very poorly written and I cannot overlook that no matter how hard I try. It was the lowest point of this book, in my opinion.
Another bothersome issue – this book didn’t have enough magic and I not only mean that metaphorically. One of the elements of a fantasy book is to have a supernatural angle in the story. Sure, there were the tales of the Kindred, witches and sorceress in this story but it wasn’t enough. I can count on my right hand and tell you the number of instances where magic was mentioned.
Lastly, I will elaborate on the subject I raised in the beginning. Both female characters of this book, Cleo and Lucia were galling in their own ways. Cleo was described as a girl who did what she wanted with a very sharp tongue.
I’m sorry, I beg to differ.
Cleo looked like a stupid, spoilt royal brat who worked with no brains in every situation she went into. The first scene, at the wine seller? She could have stopped the murder of Tomas (and in turn this whole book) with just a flick of her wrist but no, she was too busy thinking about herself. Every decision she made caused me to irk, and every comeback that came out of her mouth made me roll my eyes. Cleo was nowhere near a strong protagonist, she was just a dumb 16-year old who pissed off everyone she met.
And Lucia, what a speshul snowflake she was. She cared abouteveryyyyone, she thought about everyyyy person on this earth, you know your usual goody two-shoes heroine. Seriously, enough of it already.
Finally, I’d recommend this to a lot of people, actually because I know they’d enjoy it. It’s *maybe* my fault for being too particular about a few things when it comes to fantasy. After this, I have decided I am never going to read any young-adult high fantasy because if it’s YA then it has to have romance and pardon me but I don’t like conventionally developed love story in a fantasy book. Either it has an epic love story or it doesn’t, unlike Falling Kingdoms which had two very unconvincing, bland love tales.
2 stars for the good beginning which was promising enough to make me not leave this book unfinished. I might even read the sequel...sometime.