Review Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

Review Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes
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....
Rating: 2/5 stars
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
My thoughts:

I am truly sorry, I am. I wanted this book to be spectacular, to amaze me with its epicness. I was ready to love it heart and soul! Alas, sadly -- and very much obviously thanks to those two ugly stars -- that did not happen. I'm going to rant now, so please excuse my shouty capitals whenever they appear.
You see, my average rating is somewhere around 4.4/5 and seeing that I've read almost 500 titles that means I pretty much drop them 4 and 5 star ratings like they're hot. It doesn't bother me, because I don't like wasting my time with books I know will bug me, so naturally that I'm choosing ones that will most likely suit me. Sometimes I miss and it results in the few and far between lower ratings.
But you know what all those good ratings of mine have in common? The answer is simple, folks: characters. You know, the ones that actually have a character. I don't care if there are 100 characters in a single story, give me just one that's not flat and I'll happily overlook the other 99 insipid ones for the sake of enjoyment. But when that one single "good" character fails to make its appearance, all hope is lost for me. A perfect example of that is Falling Kingdoms.

If there is one word I could use to describe the literary cast of this novel, it would be weak. Everyone is freaking dull, without a backbone and seriously stupid.
There are 4 main POVs we have to endure and I honestly liked Jonas's the most, but the fact that he's practically the brightest in the bunch doesn't excuse his demeanor set on the mantra: hate royals, kill royals, get what the royals have.
Now let me do you the honor of being acquainted with Princess Cleiona Bellos of Auranos, with a quote her highness herself offered.
"He was her hero. He saved her once. He would save her again."
She's the perfect damsel in distress and she's fucking okay with it. I hated her profoundly. If you thought Eadlyn from The Heir is a self-centered, selfish brat, you haven't met dear Cleo. Because even though she might not be exactly self-centered and selfish, she chooses to express her conflictual feelings internally, never doing anything to change facts, never taking a stand, happily obliging to choke down her worries. And that's somehow worse. She's also plain childish and immature. 16 years old? More like 8.
Let's get on to Magnus, who's apparently a dark and tormented prince. Truly, he's not. He's much more of a coward with the impression of being powerful. I'm not gonna lie, he's messed up in the head and even my boundless love for tall, dark, handsome princelings couldn't make him appealing in my eyes. Besides the fact that he's obsessed with his sister -- ew ew ew -- he doesn't have much of a personality. I'll say that he has the potential for a strange, mysterious hero, but it has never come to fruition in this first installment.
Lucia, Magnus's said-sister, is really adopted -- but still ew ew -- and also the possible sorceress the stars prophesied about that has immense power. She was such a pitiful puppet in this book and, for the love of God, try as I might I still couldn't connect with her. We know she's beautiful, that she loves her brother, that she has countless suitors and that she can do magic. And that's all. No development, no real insight into her personal traits. NOTHING.
The secondary characters were laughable. We have the basic cliches of elder and wise sibling, the best friend who's in love with the girl and the father who's spoiled his child to no end. Chief Basilius was an idiot. King Gaius reminded me of the King of Erilea but he was nowhere near his capacity of portraying a good villain. Don't get me started on Aron because that shit with eyes could've saved me the pain of this book if he hadn't wanted to get drunk on the best wine ever.

I won't even bother explaining the plotline, because from the get-go it had such a bad foundation I can't even tell you. Sure, there were a few fantasy elements that probably saved me from giving this one a 1 star rating (magic, prophecies and some watchers), but besides that? Only predictable outcomes.
Arghhhh. Oh, and let's not forget about a certain someone not knowing something incredibly important is right in her grasp until of course it's too late.
There were two ounces of romance in this one and none was a winner. Firstly, we have Cleo and Theon's forbidden "love" that had the quality of being also insta-love since although time passes between their interactions, we don't get to see anything of that. One sec we're meeting them both and then, after a few chapters with multiple POV swaps, we're supposed to believe they developed feelings? I don't believe it till I see it, so NOPE from me. Secondly, we have Magnus and Lucia and the girl has brains for pushing him away, I'll give her that, because I know they're not related but for 16 long years they were RAISED as they were so anything beyond a deep friendship and brotherly love (like in Lucia's part) shouldn't even exist. Again, ew ew ew.
Oh, I almost forgot the cherry on the top! The fantastical world-building! This continent, called Mytica, that has only three states (Limeros, Paelsia and Auranos) and that could probably be travelled from one corner to the other in less than a week. Oh, please. They're talking about world-domination and their land is the size of a small island!
I really really need to talk a bit about the ending because I was almost happy dancing the book was over and then it punched me again with Cleo's stupidity. As if I needed a reminder. With the price of being spoilery (no worries, you would have figured it out yourself nonetheless if you actually read the book), I am going to ask: Who the fuck doesn't flee his newly-conquered kingdom and sits in the fucking courtyard listening to a fucking speech when you're the goddamned wanted princess?!?

Oh, that's right. Cleiona fucking Bellos. Kill me now, please.
Also, the cover? With that badass looking killer and daggers and mysterious cloak? Totally not having anything to do with the book besides the mere appearance of that tiny hawk.
To sum up, I didn't downright hated Falling Kingdoms, because after all I did finish it and I might even entertain the incredulous idea of picking up its sequel -- if I'm very very bored or I lack a piece of good literature at the moment. But I sure as hell wouldn't recommend it, because, in the end, I don't care what happens to these characters now and that is always problematic if you want to read something memorable. 

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