I've found myself getting into fantasy series this year. It's not a big surprise, considering my huge love for all things Harry Potter, but it had been awhile since I had been really into reading fantasy. I've been all about the contemporaries for a few years, which I still love.
I don't always love really high fantasy stories, though, so when I heard that Morgan Rhodes Falling Kingdoms series is not as high fantasy as other series, I decided to check it out. I had heard a lot of Game of Thrones comparisons, which made me a little skeptical, but I found myself really enjoying this series.
Falling Kingdoms 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 collapsed?
It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.
Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.
Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword....
While I don't think the GoT comparisons are entirely accurate/fair (and I'm not saying one is better than the other), one thing that is somewhat similar is how ruthless Rhodes is with her characters! Do not get attached to anyone because you may find yourself mourning them. I'm liking the ruthlessness, though, because it definitely kept me on my toes.
One reason I'm enjoying this series so much is because of the writing. Rhodes is an excellent writer and the books draw you in immediately. The writing is easy to read, and I found myself reading these quickly. In fact, I read the second book Rebel Spring in one sitting!
Each book is told through four perspectives, which works really well. I love that we get a deep look into each characters thoughts and actions. It makes the book so much more readable and enjoyable. The characters are really great, too. I find myself really liking Cleo, especially since she's evolving so much in each book. Don't think this princess is a weak little girl, because she is one of the strongest characters. I also love Jonas. He's the underdog that you really want to win because of the crappiness that has been his life.
The magic system in these books is really interesting. There are four Kindred, which are magical elemental crystals, that when used together make their owner the most powerful person in the universe. Naturally, everyone wants them, but they're not as easy to find and use as one may think.
These books definitely keep me guessing. Alliances may not be as strong as you think, characters aren't always who you think they are, and the enemy may not always be the bad guy. It's not a series that you can figure out easily.
Rhodes also has a spin-off series that has just released this year called A Book of Spirits and Thieves. I've also read this one, and it's really fun. This series takes place in the world of Mytica, but also in present-day Toronto, which is really cool. It's a series that can be read on its own, but I would recommend at least reading Falling Kingdoms before picking up ABoSaT.
One final reason I love this series is because Morgan Rhodes is Canadian. As a Canadian, I am always super excited to find books written by Canadians that I love. There are Tim Horton's references in A Book of Spirits and Thieves!
I definitely recommend this series as each book just keeps getting better and better. The more layers that are revealed in the story, the more hooked I become. I definitely need book 4, Frozen Tides, asap!