Hello bookworms! As you know, I am currently hosting a read along of the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes along with four other amazing bloggers: Jess, Drew, Tamara and Lillie. We are well into our second week of reading Rebel Spring, so I hope you are all making some great progress! I will be starting this book tonight, after I write this post, so I’m excited.
BUT… Today we are not talking about Rebel Spring – we are talking about the first book in the series: Falling Kingdoms. Now we have all finished this book, it’s time to bring you a fun discussion post. We got together as a group and answered some questions about the book, which was an extremely fun way to discuss the book! Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I did.
LET’S GET TO IT, SHALL WE?
This weekend, Jess, Tamara, Lillie and I got together and decided to ask and answer some questions together. And that’s exactly what we did. To make it easier for you all, we each picked a colour that we liked, so that we knew whose answer was whose. This discussion will be split up into a non-spoiler section and also a spoiler section, so you will not accidentally slip into any spoilers if you haven’t read it (which you should, because -cough, cough- we are doing a READ ALONG RIGHT NOW).
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS – NON SPOILER
Considering this is the first book of a high fantasy series, what did you all think of the world-building?
Tamara: I thought it was alright world-building. Great world-building is really want makes me LOVE a fantasy novel, the more complicated and interesting the better. I felt like the world in Falling Kingdoms wasn’t particularly exciting or unique. But it also wasn’t terribly confusing, so that’s a plus.
Jess: I think this ties in with the many characters question. Again, it was a lot to take in a short amount of time so I got confused with which land was which. In addition, like all fantasy books, they had weird names that didn’t really help with remembrance.
Lillie: I was in the middle of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas when I had to stop and start Falling Kingdoms, so I was a little unimpressed by the world building. There is definitely a lot more that Rhodes can expand on and I hope she uses that opportunity to her advantage in Rebel Springs.
Josie: I felt like the world-building aspect in particular was done quite well for the first book in the series – for me, I could really imagine what the three kingdoms looked like! I agree that world building is definitely an important part of a fantasy series.
I do agree though, lots of things weren’t developed enough, and names got confusing in the beginning. But I mean, considering there are 5 more books to go, I’d say it was quite a good start. Not the best, but good.
Each fantasy book has a new take on magic. Did you like or dislike Rhodes’ take on it?
Tamara: I didn’t dislike it, but like the world building I found it very… Basic. I was however interested in the whole larger construct of the elementia and the watchers. I am interested to see how that progresses and I hope we learn more about the watchers like who they are and why they are there.
Jess: For the most part, I liked it. Elemental magic is my favorite type of magic, but this was not my favorite book that included elemental magic. I wish there was more on the Sanctuary and I wish there were more POVs of Lucia when does magic. From what I remember, when Lucia practices magic, it’s mostly in Magnus’ POV so it was hard connecting and fully understanding it.
Lillie: I didn’t dislike it, but I do think it can be expanded upon.
Josie: I was also hoping to see more magic being featured in the book too! I feel like it was largely overlooked. I really wanted to see more development of how magic worked for the witches, and how magic worked for Lucia. I definitely wanted to know more about the watchers and the sanctuary – this is the aspect that I think, I know the least about. Hopefully it will be expanded even more in Rebel Spring!
Yeah, I wanted to see Lucia’s point of view when she was practicing magic. I feel like I didn’t even see her practice, and then when she did something – you know, that thing – it was totally out of the blue, and I couldn’t feel the full extent to how important it was that she could do that.
Does FK remind you of any other books?
Tamara: It kind of went along the same grain as a lot of YA Fantasy novels, but it didn’t remind me of anything in particular.
Jess: The magic system kind of reminds me of Avatar: The Last Airbender or Air Awakens by Elise Kova. Even though Avatar is a TV show, the whole “chosen one who has all four powers” aspect shows through in FK too.
Lillie: FK doesn’t remind me of anything in particular. If anything it can be comparable to anything that has to do with elemental magic or the conquering of kingdoms.
Josie: FK didn’t remind me of any other books either! There was only a brief moment where I got Game of Thrones feels though – and I’m sure you guys know where I got that feeling! Right?
This book has multiple POVs and a cast of many characters – how did the plot flow for you? Was it choppy and confusing or did it progress smoothly?
Jess: At first, I really, really disliked how many characters there were. It was just so much to handle. Even 50% through, when all the kings met, I was still a bit confused on which king was who. In terms of plot, though, I think the multiple POVs helped. I don’t think we’d get the full effect if it was told in one POV or even first person POV.
Lillie: When I first started reading, I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of characters that were involved. I thought the plot flowed smoothly up until about 65% through. Then, all the characters were coming together and the kingdoms were clashing, which made it confusing to decipher who was where and doing what, and when the kings decided to have tea.
Tamara: I read a lot of complicated high fantasy novels so I’m usually pretty good at keeping track of who is who and what is going, so I was alright with the amount of characters there were. However, there were parts that were slightly confusing because we were jumping between locations and entirely separate situations so frequently. I would have liked it better if everything that happened in the book had been more important to the main plot.
Josie: Wow, you guys found it quite confusing, huh? For me, I picked up pretty quickly on the different character POVs and I could keep track and understand who was who most of the time. However, I did feel that the flow wasn’t that great because of the POVs. Personally I think some POVs should’ve been longer in some parts and shorter in others. It made it hard to connect with the story of each character when it was constantly switching.
What did you think of the action sequences/scenes?
Jess: To be honest, I couldn’t really get into the war descriptions. But that’s really a preference thing. I can never get into war scenes and I don’t know why. Other than that, I think the action was described nicely. I think I prefer the verbal action rather than physical, if that makes sense. Overall, I think the pacing was well-done.
Lillie: Now that you ask this question, I didn’t even really realize there was an action sequence, which must answer your question. Falling Kingdoms wasn’t as action packed as I had hoped, but what little there was was nicely arranged to compliment the plot well.
Tamara: I found all the action scenes very… anti-climactic. It seemed like every time we would build and build for something big, and then it would feel like barely anything would happen. OR, something action packed would come completely out of the blue and happen super quickly and not always further the plot a whole bunch, even if someone semi-important had died. I feel like there was a whole lot of character death just for the sake of character death.
Josie: Anticlimactic is definitely the word I would use! I was disappointed that the action and war scenes weren’t done so well. I remember reading the scene, and it felt nothing like an action-packed moment. It was as if I was floating above, watching a silent battle. I couldn’t feel the urgency, or the drama of the whole situation.
How well do you think the storylines of all the characters intersect and blend?
Jess: I came into this thinking they’d all be tied to the same prophecy, which they kind of are, but some of the characters don’t even meet. And if they do, it’s not a big scene. For example, I don’t recall that Lucia and Cleo intersected.
Lillie: Just like Jess said above, I thought they would all be tied to the same prophecy of some sort. I thought they would all come together as if destiny had already determined their fates, but I think the only time they were almost all together was during the war. Ya know, when people were stabbing each other – they were in the same general vicinity. I definitely hope that in Rebel Spring we see more of the storylines intertwining and expanding.
Tamara: All the characters affected each other a little bit, at least indirectly, but I was rather disappointed that there was never a point where they all met each other! Hopefully that is something that happens more in the later books.
Josie: Yes! I was sad to see the characters not meeting one another. I was so sure the characters were all going to meet and they’d have to go through the story as a group, somehow. But I definitely think Rebel Spring will involve a lot more of character’s storylines intersecting! I particularly want to see Lucia and Cleo meet.
Am I the only one who got a Game of Thrones feeling when reading this book?
Jess: I actually think this book is pitched for Game of Thrones’ fans! I’ve never read a GoT or watched a single episode but I hear there are definitely some similarities.
Lillie: I honestly have not a single clue what Game of Throne’s is about, so I cannot answer this question to my full ability, but if you caught a whiff of GoT, then it’s gotta be true.
Tamara: I have not read or watched Game of Thrones at all either, but I could see how they might be similar.
Josie: Well, I suppose I must ask this question to fellow Game of Thrones readers – and watchers!
WORLD BUILDING QUESTIONS
What was your favourite aspect of the world constructed in Falling Kingdoms?
Jess: I think the Sanctuary was pretty interesting. I also loved the flashback on Cleiona’s tragic story. I do wish that we had more chapters in the Sanctuary.
Lillie: I really liked the prologue and how Rhodes provided us with some background information about this prophecy. It was really interesting to read about it from the two witches’ general point of views in the past and then to see it unfold and take place in the present. Along with this, I really wanted to see more of the Sanctuary, but hopefully the second book has more information on it!
Tamara: I thought it was really interesting how the elementia could affect people and the land. I want more information on that!
Josie: I definitely liked the addition of the prologue, it really added a background to what was happening in the present. Just like you guys, I want to see and learn more about the Sanctuary, how it works, how it came to be, what it IS. I’m hoping Rebel Spring will expand on this!
Was there any quote or line that stood out to you?
Jess: I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but I know that there were a few lines that were very poetic. I wish I sticky-noted them, haha.
Tamara: I really liked “Life itself sings from your existance” (pg. 154) Very nice, poetic description.
Lillie: “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?”
Josie: Ooh, I love those quotes! I didn’t consciously mark or take note of any quotes that stood out to me, but I did tab a few of Magnus POV. I really like your quote, Lillie!
Who were your favorite and least favorite characters? Why?
Jess: Out of the four main characters, my favorite is Cleo and my least is Jonas. Cleo is really sweet and her love for her sister really showed throughout the book for me. I didn’t like Jonas because he was just so blood-thirsty and often blindsided by it. Out of the whole cast, my favorite is either Nic or Theon while my least favorite is Aron. I swear Aron is a nickname for arrogant.
Lillie: My favorite Character was Nic because he provided a bit of comic relief during times of distress. He was goofy and reminded me of an older brother. My least favorite character was Jonas. Oh man, I could not stand this boy. He had absolutely no reason to rage about as much as he did and had no right to be as eager to kill.
Tamara: My favorite characters were Cleo and Theon. They were both very likable in general and I am a huge sucker for Royalty/Bodyguard relationships. My least favorite was definitely Magnus. I feel like he could be an interesting character but he was a big jerk, made some pretty bad decisions, and there was also a certain aspect of his character that I just could not get over…
Josie: Agh, I feel like I’m a lone wolf here, because my favourite character is Magnus! I just love my dark, brooding male characters and I don’t know, Magnus really appeals to me. I can see huge development in him coming in the next books in the series! Cleo comes close, she’s so fiery, determined and I think she might be an ultimate favourite for me in the series.
I’d have to agree that Jonas is also not a favourite of mine. I don’t like his mentality, he’s very brutal and he has no control whatsoever over his grief, and I just feel he needs a little bit of time to just sit and breathe a little bit!
Here’s where you stop if you haven’t read the entire book. However if you have read it, I don’t mind!
Which deaths were the most unexpected? How did you feel about Theon’s death?
Jess: I was not expecting Theon’s death at all. I was really shocked at the time. I told Lillie, man, I didn’t think Rhodes would go through with it BUT SHE DID. I really hoped that their would be a plot twist and he’d be saved! I had hope for at least a couple chapters. I think that was the saddest death for me.
Lillie: I definitely was not expecting Theon’s death and I think I actually teared up about it because I was so here for Cleo and Theon’s romance. Along with Theon’s death I was kind of expecting Chief Basileus to be killed off, but still found it unfortunate when it happened.
Tamara: The main death I did not expect AT ALL was Sabina. Otherwise I did mostly predict what might happen with each of them. I feel like Theon’s death was HUGELY unnecessary. I feel like it didn’t affect anything beyond making Cleo mopey.
Josie: THEON’S DEATH GUYS, WHAT THE HECK. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? That took me by absolute surprise and I literally gasped out loud. I agree that Theon’s death was unnecessary! It didn’t add or take away anything from the story. Sabina’s death was also one that took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that to happen so soon!
How do you feel about the relationship between Magnus and Lucia?
Jess: No. I did not ship it. At all. Nope, don’t do that. When they kissed… I’m out. That’s endgame right there. And that’s all I have to say on that.
Tamara: Ugh I CANNOT stand any sort of incest. I know they aren’t really related but step-sibling relationships are also the creepiest thing EVER. Just no. NOOOOOO. This is the main reason I could NOT like Magnus AT ALL.
Lillie: I am not a fan of incest in any shape, way, or form and totally wish that this was not a part of the book.
Josie: I don’t like the incest thing. It makes me feel really uncomfortable. I don’t want Magnus to end up with Lucia, it just feels wrong! I mean, they’re not related by blood, but come on, they grew up as siblings! Despite the fact that I actually kind of like Magnus, I can’t like the idea of Lucia and him together. So I’m with all of you guys on this one!
What did you rate it and are you continuing with the series?
Jess: I rated FK 4 stars and I will continue with the series. Many people, including ratings from Goodreads, say that the series gets better with each book!
Lillie: I rated Falling Kingdoms 3 stars and I will continue with the series. The ending left the series open for a multitude of opportunities, so I’m eager to continue on!
Tamara: I rated Falling Kingdoms between 2.5-3 stars. While my interest was piqued by the ending of this first book, I don’t think I would continue on if it wasn’t for this readalong. Then again, I have been told many times that the books get better as they go on, so I’m hoping to be amazed.
Josie: I rated this book three stars out of 5! It was a good start and I definitely want to continue reading and see where it goes from here. Things have only just begun, and I want to see where the character’s lives are going to go. There’s lots of potential for the next books to be even better! WOO HOO I’M EXCITED. And I also personally want to read more of Magnus. AGGHH, PLEASE TELL ME I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT LIKES MAGNUS, I FEEL WEIRD AND ALONE ON THIS.