Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publication Deets: December 2012, Razorbill
Source: Tara @ Hobbitsies a la BEA
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In a sentence or so: The three kingdoms are tentatively peaceful at best. But when a young princess and her foolish royal friend murder a peasant, it brings about a war that will lead to heartache, betrayal, and the awakening of magic that has so long been dormant in their world.
The three kingdoms of Auranos, Paelsia, and Limeros haven't been friendly in a long time. Limeros is the northernmost and ruled by a Blood King, his dark and brooding son, and the slowly awakening magic of old. Auranos is southernmost and wealthy, entitled, and mostly absent. Paelsia is suffering from poverty, yet neither kingdom has made a move to help.
Cleo, princess of Auranos, joins her friend Aron on a trip to Paelsia for some wine, and things go wrong. Horribly wrong. Aron kills the wine seller's son and things snowball into full blown war between all three kingdoms.
I really liked the alternating chapters between the kingdoms and characters. As a fantasy reader, the abundance of names didn't bother me, but there is a handy dandy guide in the front if you needed it. The slow awakening of magic in their world is reminiscent of A Song of Ice and Fire, so naturally I was all about it.
This book is billed as George R.R. Martin meets Kristin Cashore. That's a pretty big title to live up to, and Falling Kingdoms just falls short. There was a lot to love and embrace and get swept away by in Falling Kingdoms, but it just didn't have that spark for me that I typically find in fantasy reads.
That said, I'll still totally be checking out the future installment in the series to see if we get some more character development (particularly with the ladies who have ALL THE POTENTIAL) and to see how all of the cogs fit together.
If you're looking to try a high fantasy read and aren't sure it's your bag just yet, give this one a go. It has all of the elements, while still being easy to immerse yourself in and characters you in which you want to invest.
Fave quote: "And you must draw from that strength. You must increase it. And you must hold on to it because sometimes that small glimmer of inner strength is all that we have to help press us forward through the darkness." (314, ARC)
Pairs well with: Lord of the Rings or something equally fantastical and epic on in the background. Yeah I know it's not the same kind of fantasy but it totally gets me in the zone so deal with it.
Fix er up: I found the modern dialogue a bit jarring. Also, I would have LOVED more character depth in the kick-ass heroines Rhodes created. Fingers crossed for next time!
FTC Notice: I did not receive any compensation for this review. Or any review ever, really.