These reviews are spoiler-free, even if you haven’t read the first book.
About a month ago I made a post on changing my ratings. I mentioned that I felt very differently now about some books that I read a year ago, than I did when I finished them. Some of you said it’d be interesting to see a comparison post: what I thought then versus my opinions now. My inspiration for that post came from 3 books of a series I read in 2015 but never reviewed on my blog: Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring and Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes.
Synopsis of Falling Kingdoms: 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.
MY THOUGHTS AT THE TIME
Falling Kingdoms: 4.5/5 stars
Rebel Spring: 3.5/5 stars
Gathering Darkness: 4/5 stars
When I first read Falling Kingdoms, I quite enjoyed the read. Although I read it a while ago, I can still tell you what I thought of it (but only because I was smart enough to write down some notes on it). At first, I thought it was an addictive story. I sped through it in only hours, and immediately wanted to read the second book. If I finish a book in one sitting, that must mean it has some quality that keeps me reading. I was invested in the story, and thought the world was pretty fascinating too. Another interesting aspect were the characters. I kept changing my opinions on them, couldn’t seem to decide whether I actually liked or disliked a person. For example, Cleo. How I hated her in the beginning! Throughout the story though, she grew on me. The downside of the first book, in my opinion: I was honestly so confused in the beginning. I kept having to look up names of characters, kingdoms and so on. It persisted for a few chapters, as the POV changed to someone who hadn’t been introduced yet.
The second book was my least favorite, as you can see from the ratings. While I still enjoyed the story line and wanted to know how the characters would get themselves out of trouble, I was no longer invested in the actual characters. Each and every one of them starting annoying me a bit. I felt distanced from them, like you’re reading a biography of someone you have never heard of before, nor feel any link to. I still wanted to know what would happen though, so I continued on.
I picked up the third book. While I must have enjoyed it a bit more than the previous one as I gave it a higher rating, it’s hard to separate both in my mind. Some interesting aspects were introduced here, and some intriguing new characters. I still enjoyed the story, and thought it was quite action-packed. Again, I flew through this book and read it in a couple of hours. I don’t think Frozen Tides, the fourth book, was released yet when I finished this one. At the time, I couldn’t imagine waiting to continue on. Yet here we are, in 2016, and I haven’t continued on yet. Why? Well, because my thoughts on the series now are quite different.
MY THOUGHTS NOW
It has taken me a while to be able to say this. Falling Kingdoms is quite a well loved story in the book blogging and vlogging communities. And while I enjoyed reading them, I don’t think I will continue the series. Here’s why.
I don’t care about any of the characters. In the first book, I changed my opinions on the characters many times. I hated Cleo in the beginning, but was quite attached to her by the ending. Many people said in their reviews of this book that you would change ships often in this series – that you’d pair different people together. I’m not. You know why? I genuinely can’t be bothered. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. Magnus is a horrible person, no matter what happened to him in the past. Cleo is entitled, and got on my nerves. Jonas, sigh. I don’t find him swoon-worthy. He didn’t do anything for me at all. Characterization is very important to me, and if I don’t care about the characters, I usually won’t read on.
I don’t want to invest time reading 2 or 3 more books in the series, when I’m not excited about them. There are so many books I want to read out there. So many! I don’t want to waste time I could spend on those, reading something I don’t really care about.
I seem to have forgotten nearly everything that happened in book 2 & 3. I had to read the synopses of the books to remember what had happened in the previous one! I do remember book 1, which is my favorite of the three. I read these in 2015. While my memory is not great, it’s not THAT bad. If I don’t remember anything from books I read only less than a year ago, it’s not a good sign. That means I’m not invested in the story, or the characters.
So while I did enjoy Morgan Rhodes’ writing, I won’t be continuing the series. I will be changing my ratings according to my views on the books now. Here are the new ratings:
Falling Kingdoms: 3.5/5 stars
Rebel Spring: 3/5 stars
Gathering Darkness: 3/5 stars