I had very high hopes for Falling Kingdoms. While I have heard many good things about it, I didn't feel like it was over hyped, something which often ruins a book for me. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to any of my expectations. And I'm genuinely upset about this. I thought this book held so much great potential but it really flopped. I do love the cover though.
I don't think the novel, as a whole, was bad. It just felt like it was very shallow and spread thin, and it had the greatest flaw of all YA fantasy: Lack of originality. It follows the story of the three kingdoms of Mytica, with tensions between them high and war on the horizon. We see the story through many POV's, giving us many different perspectives on the same situation.
There's Jonas, the rebel. He is basically every rebel in every young adult novel ever. Fueled by rage and hungry for justice, Jonas will go to any means necessary to take down the people who have destroyed his life. Sound familiar? If you've read any YA novel with rebels in it, then probably yes. Jonas had some interesting scenes but he didn't have much personality of his own. I never connected to him, and while he has quite a large family and some close friends those relationships were never developed. This only helped to make Jonas more robotic.
Next is Cleo, princess of Aurenos, and she has lived in luxury all her life. She was so utterly, completely, annoying. The author tried to make her into a strong, kick butt heroine who stands up for herself, but she just came across as immature and stupid. I was frequently rolling my eyes at her silly ways of thinking. There is certainly room for development with her character, and if done right, she could become pretty awesome.
Then we have Magnus. Magnus is heir to the throne, he has a horrible father (who is known as the 'King of Blood') and with his daddy issues and creepy romance, he is the typical YA bad boy. I really did not care for Magnus. I did not, could not sympathize with him. I'm not entirely sure if the author was setting him up as a villain or maybe an anti-hero, but either way I didn't like him at all. That being said I think I probably enjoyed his storyline best? I'm not sure why, but I guess because Magnus seemed to be the most fleshed out character. It was interesting how he would twist things to his advantage.
Lastly, we have Lucia. Think Morgana from BBC's Merlin, but more fragile. She is apparently super powerful, but the magic in this world is barely explained (Something about elements? Never seen that one before...), and so it's just like she can do things! Wow! But I have no idea what she can actually do. Other than her magic, she doesn't have much personality. She likes flowers. This is all I know about her character after reading a novel where she is one of the main characters. Ok.
There are plenty of side characters as well. I usually love books with large casts of characters, like Michael Grant's Gone series for example. The problem here is that none of these side characters are fleshed out and they sort of blend together. They are the "friend" or the "guard" or the "neighbor". Very disappointing.
I felt the plot was decent, but as I mentioned earlier, spread way to thin. This book was pure set up for sequels. There were many twists and turns but I honestly saw all of them coming a mile away. ALL OF THEM. Literally not a SINGLE PLOT TWIST THAT I DIDN'T SEE COMING. This is a big deal because there were a lot. I had quite a lot of problems with the events of the plot itself, but that would be getting into spoiler territory so I'll leave it at that.
As much as I didn't enjoy this book, I don't think it was badly written. The writing was just rather bland and, again, spread thin. The world building was good enough, although I can't say much for the setting itself.
I don't plan on reading the sequels. I don't care what happens to the characters or where the story goes. So very disappointed in this book. I can see what it was trying to achieve, and according to other reviews it seemed to to get there for other readers. Just not this one!