Cleiona (Cleo) Bellos is the youngest princess of Auranos, who inadvertently becomes the powder keg of a war between the three kingdoms (Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros). People are unhappy and starving in the other two lands, whereas Auranos is thriving and prosperous. Jealousy and desperation are born from disparity, and even though the entirety of the death of a Paelsian wine seller’s son wasn’t her fault, she still holds some responsibility for it. This was just the tipping point as the three lands just needed a reason to start the war.
On the far side of the land in Limeros, Magnus Damora, Prince of Limeros, is struggling to gain acceptance from his father King Gaius. Gaius is a ruthless man, and he wants all of Mytica for himself. To seize control, Gaius uses Lucia, his daughter in all ways but blood. She was prophesied to become the greatest sorceress of all time, and with her help, King Gaius plows his way straight through to Auranos.
Thoughts and sentiments
I wouldn’t necessarily call this series the Game of Thrones for teens, as the official website of this book does. If we were to compare the two, I would have to say this is but a shadow of George R.R. Martin’s series, although this does not mean Falling Kingdoms isn’t good. It’s just a different animal that has similar aspects as the former. There is betrayal, killings of characters that occurs swiftly and without notice, and one-sided taboo love, which makes me believe the author must have marathoned the Game of Thrones series right before writing Falling Kingdoms.
The setting was seamlessly woven together. I was able to picture the contrasting landscapes of the neighboring countries. I appreciated the feeling of adventure, but felt the shucking of characters occurred too swiftly for tangible relationships to form. And once I was presented with these relationships, I did not believe in the authenticity of them. Also, I was a bit peeved at how long the author teased the secret Aron knew about Cleo, in addition to how little impact the secret, once exposed, had on me as a reader.
I thought index of characters was pretty useful, because I found myself referring to it a lot throughout the reading experience. I know the focus was supposed to be on four protagonists Cleo, Magnus, Lucia, and Jonas, but I feel myself rooting for Cleo, even though the other characters are not definitively antagonistic. I liked the pace of the book, and I find myself wanting to know what happens to Cleo in particular.
More information about Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes here.