Expected publication date: 11/12/12GoodReads Summary: In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...
The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
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Falling Kingdoms is told from the perspective of four young people from different kingdoms whose destinies intertwine during the brewing war between the lands. I'll admit right of the bat that these character aren't completely likeable. Despite that though I did like (most) of them. Why? Because they were flawed and went through a lot of growth as the book progressed. Rhodes has done a brilliant job of pushing these character to their limits, having them make tough decisions and face their destines head on. Normally I'm not a fan of multiple POV's, but their individual arcs flowed seamlessly together and each voice was distinctly different from the other.
Cleo - Out of all the characters Cleo is the one I least got on with. She was meant to be portrayed as fiery and stubborn, but most of the time I found her to be spoiled, reckless, and, whiny. She's so used to getting her own way that when denied something she foolishly goes and does it anyway, not fully thinking about the consequences of her actions. And towards the end of the novel when she finally does get some sense knocked into her it sadly comes at a very high price. A trait of hers that I did like, however, was her devotion towards her sister and her friends.
Jonas - He's clearly the under-dog and I really enjoyed his story arc. His brother is murdered by a royal from another kingdom and through his blood-lust for revenge a revolution begins.
Magnus is by far my favourite character out of the lot. He cares deeply for his sister Lucia and will do absolutely anything for her. This loyalty runs both ways. However, after discovering that his love is unrequited he grows closer to his father - a cruel and manipulative man who enjoys conflicting pain on others. It's much easier for him to put a barricade around his feelings than to feel hurt, so he becomes the prince of ice, and his father's greatest weapon. But, buried deep within him there is still some good and I can't wait to see where Rhodes take his character in the sequel.
Lucia - Even though we're not in her head that often compared to the others I felt most connected to her. She loves to read and soak up knowledge, something I think us book lovers can relate to. As she struggles to figure out who she is and why strange things keep happening to her, she discovers some truths about her past that shock her and isn't sure how to handle it. At times I wanted to shake her because she was so naive. She never questioned anything and accepted things way too easily. I have a feeling that she'll play a larger role in the sequel, so I hope we get more of her perspective.
“Even in the darkest and most cruel person, there is still a kernel of good. And within the most perfect champion, there is darkness. The question is, will one give in to the dark or the light? It's something we decide with every choice we make, every day that we exist. What might not be evil to you could be evil to someone else. Knowing this makes us powerful even without magic.”