Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆☆
The cover was what really drew me in to Falling Kingdoms. It had a very cool Assassin’s Creed vibe to me, and now having read the book I can see the symbolism and how things tie in with the story. This book has been marketed as a Game of Thrones for teens, and I could see where people would get that idea. Falling Kingdoms is a fantasy story about three feuding kingdoms, Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia. Aurano is rich and overflowing with crops while Limeros is stuck in what seems like a never-ending winter. Paelsia is the poorest of the three kingdoms, it’s only source of income its failing wine industry. We follow quite a few characters and their points of view, all from different kingdoms. The main character throughout this story arc is Princess Cleo of Auranos. She is young, naive, and headstrong. She doesn’t want to marry the man she is betrothed to and she wants to save her sister from a strange and unknown illness that she fears will kill her.
The intrigue and drama felt a little juvenile to me and I didn’t feel like everything was such high stakes. The main characters seemed to be fairly submissive when it came to the plot of the story rather than taking active roles. The ones taking active roles in spurring the plot were minor characters, those adjacent to the main characters. I wanted things to be higher stakes and slightly more complex, but what I did appreciate from this book was that the teenagers felt like teenagers. They were unsure of themselves, easily swayed, and also stubborn and had invincibility-complexes.
I suppose if we’re going to continue with the comparison to Game of Thrones, there are a lot of characters and story lines to keep track of, there are quite a few deaths, and also complex relationships. If there is anything at all in Game of Thrones that makes you uncomfortable, this is probably not the book for you. Almost every element from Game of Thrones is used in this book (including hints as possible incest).
Elemental magic also plays a big role within this story and the turning of the plot. This is a world where witches are put to death for even being suspected of using magic, and where sorcerers/sorceresses are the more powerful versions of witches. I really liked the magic system in this book. I found it simple enough to be understood and complex enough to be believed and enjoyed. I haven’t read too many books with elemental magic, so it was nice to be able to experience that for the first time.
I did enjoy reading Falling Kingdoms, but I wasn’t as impressed by it as I had hoped I would be. I wasn’t sure whether to make this a 3-star read or a 3.5-star read, but I will be placing this in my 3-star category for now. I’m not sure if I will pick up the next book. Perhaps if I’m still thinking about the book in the next week or so I will order the second one. Overall, Falling Kingdoms was a fun read, but certainly not one I would put on my favorites shelf.