This book was somewhat of a disappointment for me. It never exceeded my expectations; it pretty much failed to do so, actually. I wanted a thrilling fantasy with a magical world that draws you in and has memorable characters.
Unfortunately, Falling Kingdoms did not have those aspects. Sure, it wasn’t necessarily a bad read, but the idea behind it wasn’t original at all and I didn’t feel particularly captivated by the three kingdoms mentioned in here because, seriously, I couldn’t tell the difference between them. Rhodes could have done such an amazing job creating distinct kingdoms with different cultures and traditions, yet it all just felt bland to me.
However, it wasn’t the not-so-original plot idea or the too-basic ingredients for creating a fantasy novel that turned me off. No, it was mostly the characters.
Here’s the part where I go all snarky:
THE CHARACTERS COULD’VE FALLEN OFF A CLIFF AND I WOULDN’T HAVE GIVEN A SINGLE FUCK.
I think the only person who can actually pull off writing from more than three perspectives is Rick Riordan, because in HoO each and every one of his characters had a distinct voice and personality. In FK, all the characters sounded somewhat the same with a few small differences.
Also, I’m sure this is just me, but why were all the characters beautiful? Nothing wrong with that, I guess, but it kept getting repeated every few chapters and it made me kind of exhausted. Like, I get, all right?
I know this review is entirely all over the place so let me divide it up a bit:
Cleo – If I had to gut any of the characters and make a fillet out of them, it would be this stinkin’ princess. Honestly, she was so annoying, what with the ‘when I want something, I get it’ attitude and the constant need to be a damsel in distress. And the thing is, she was fine with being one. She constantly made stupid decisions, and I get that she was only a sixteen-year-old, but dammit, so am I. Not to mention that insta-love with her dull-as-a-rock guard, Theon. One minute, she was annoyed with his presence, and a few chapters in, she was in lurve with him?
Jonas: I understood this guy’s will to exact revenge for his brother’s death, but damn, that was all he talked about and he sounded like some sort of a psycho. This is all I know about this kid, no joke.
Magnus: Now, creepy incest-ridden thoughts about his sister aside, he was the more interesting one of the characters in the bunch. I really liked his backstory with his father and how he got his scar; it made for an interesting concept. Plus, his blase and cool-as-cucumber attitude toward almost everything was amusing.
Lucia: Some special sorceress with elemental magic and a brother who has incestuous thoughts about her. Thing is, the only thing I could grasp of her was that she was this good-two-shoes and cared deeply about others and – yeah. That was pretty much it.
Alexius: The Hawk guy. Erm, what even was the point of him? I could’ve skipped his chapters and not have missed a single thing.
Nic: The typical YA guy best friend who is in love with the damsel (Cleo) and loves, or wants to be, the hero. Didn’t really find much relevance in his existence, either.
I liked the names of the kingdoms. However, there are only three of them, and if I’m not mistaken, they aren’t that from each other since you can get to any of them by foot. At least, that’s what I got from Cleo’s stupid mistake to go back into Paelsia again. How is it that Auronas is a warm and summery place, yet after you cross Paelsia and get to Limeros it’s a perpetual winter there. Is it really that possible, especially if you could just walk to these kingdoms? Or am I just stupid? Don’t answer that. ^_^
It was pretty good, and Rhodes does have a great writing style. It’s just that sometimes the dialogue, ESPECIALLY between Cleo and that guard, was just so CHEESY. I wanted to gag. The fight scenes weren’t as gruesomely described as I would’ve liked, but oh well. Maybe the story could’ve been better if there wasn’t any unnecessary romance in it.
Despite this review being on the negative side, I still think you should give it a chance. Though, if you’re looking for a complexly built fantasy world, you probably won’t find it here.