Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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The basics

Title: Falling Kingdoms

Author:

Series: Falling Kingdoms #1

- Falling Kingdoms (December 2012)
- Rebel Spring (December 2013)
- Gathering Darkness (December 2014)
- Frozen Tides (December 2015)
- Untitled (2016)
- Untitled (2017)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

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.
 This recap was written and submitted by Katie Fatiga, who is a true star.

in short

On a fateful trip to the neighboring country of Paelsia, Princess Cleiona and her friends set in motion a series of events that will irrevocably change her life and the fate of her nation’s forever. A wine merchant’s son is murdered in front of her eyes at the hands of her “friend” and suitor, Aron. The party returns to their castle in Aurania but not before word of this horrible event spreads throughout the three neighboring kingdoms. King Gaius of Limeros and Chief Basilius of Paelsia for an evil alliance under the guise of retribution for the slain son of the wine seller. They wish to take over Auranos for themselves. Cleiona travels back to Paelsia in search of magic seeds said to cure the deathly ill (her sister, Emilia is bound to die without their aid). She is captured and held as a prisoner of war. After escaping, Cleo’s beloved guard, Theon, is killed by the prince of Limeros, Magnus, but Clea manages to escape. The war arrives at the gates of Auranos. The castle wall is eventually breached but only after King Gaius employs his secret weapon, his daughter, princess Lucia is a powerful sorceress. The book concludes with King Gaius of Limeros seizing the kingdom of Auranos, killing the Paelsian chief, and capturing Cleo, the only living descendant of the Auranian family line.

what went down

  • Princess Cleiona is a sassy, brave young princess who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when her “friend” Aron lets his temper and pride get the best of him, resulting in the death of a poor wine merchant’s son.
  • Magnus is the heir to the Limeran throne. Much maligned and ignored by his father, the King of Blood, Magnus spends his days training, reading and secretly pining for his sister Lucia.
  • Lucia is a princess, but not by blood. She was stolen from her cradle by a pair of witches who sought to raise the child whom they believed would be the most powerful sorceress the 3 kingdoms have ever known.
  • Jonas is the brother of Tomas, the young man murdered by Lord Aron on that fateful afternoon in Paelsia. He seeks revenge and possibly a revolution that will change the lives of his impoverished countrymen forever.
  • Cleo manages to escape her guards with the help of her best friend Nic. She plans to travel back to Paelsia in search of grape seeds infused with Earth Magic. She hopes that the stories are true and that these seeds will save her sister Emilia who is gravely ill with a mysterious disease.
  • While in Paelsia, Cleo & Nic are taken in by an elderly merchant woman. She beds them for the night and tells them a magical story of the first Watchers of the land. Apparently, a long long time ago, a Watcher named Eva fell in love with a lowly human hunter. She was the most powerful of all the Watchers (sorcerers who live in an alternative realm known as the Sanctuary). She bore his child, but her elder sisters were jealous and they threatened the child’s life if Eva did not bring the Kindred (4 magical stones). Eva brought the Kindred to her sisters within the mortal realm but the sisters could never return to their home in the Sanctuary for which they were extremely angered leading to the death of Eva. The sisters ended up turning on each other as well but the hunter was there to pick up the pieces of the Kindred and hide them so not to corrupt anyone else. They have been missing ever since.
  • This story renews Cleo’s hope in magic and salvation for her sister.
  • Unfortunately, word travels that the beautiful princess is staying in Paelsia and Jonas goes to check for himself.
  • Meanwhile, Lucia’s powers are growing. She wants to hide them away because she is fearful that her father or someone else will punish her for being labeled a witch.
  • Eventually she tells her brother Magnus and the two practice in secret. This secret last for all of a hot second because both Magnus’ father and his mistress, Sabina have been patiently waiting for 16 years for Lucia’s powers to show. Sabina corners Magnus, promising him sexy times if he will rat out his sister. Magnus refuses, but Lucia walks in on this awkward moment and reveals her powers, burning Sabina to a crisp.
  • King Gaius is thrilled with his daughter’s new powers. He plans on using them to his advantage when he storms the Auranian castle. He has made a blood pact with the Chief of Paelsia, Basilias.
  • Back in Paelsia, Jonas kidnaps Cleo and imprisons her in his sister’s shed. Cleo eventually escapes with the help of her trusty (and hunky) guard, Theon. She, Nic and Theon head back toward the docks and Auranos. But just as she and Theon are expressing their hidden love for each other, Prince Magnus shows up to take Cleo back to Limeros for ransom. Theon manages to kill two of the Limeran guards but is mortally stabbed in the back by Magnus, much to Cleo’s horror. Cleo narrowly escapes Magnus’ grasp with the help of Nic and returns to Auranos heartbroken.
  • Magnus returns to Limeros, tale between his legs, fully expecting the wrath of his father. But his father is so consumed with the upcoming war and the newly formed powers of his daughter that he barely remarks on Magnus’ failings. Magnus is comforted in his self-loathing by his sister Lucia. He takes this intimate moment to finally tell Lucia how he feels about her. Lucia does NOT reciprocate his feelings even though Magnus attempts to convince her it isn’t wrong since they are not actually blood related. She runs from the room totally creeped out and Magnus continues his pitty party.
  • Cleo’s return to Auranos is met with vague anger from her father who is still very concerned for her well being but loves her none the less. Emilia is still in grave danger of succumbing to her illness but the two sisters still share some touching bonding moments together.
  • The Limeran and Paelsian forces march on Auranos. Jonas is among the troops but he has begun to question the motives of King Gaius of Limeros as well as the aloof Chief Basilius.
  • The battle is ferocious. Hundreds perish. Magnus is gravely injured but healed with the Earth Magic his sister Lucia possesses. It is also with Lucia’s precious magic that the forces are able to blast through the enchanted gates of Auranos and seize the castle.
  • During the battle, Emilia succumbs to her illness. Cleo attempts to save her using the magic seeds gifted to her by the merchant woman of Paelsia (secretly an exiled Watcher), but it is too late.
  • When the palace walls are breached, Cleo and Nic run to find his sister Mira, they run into Prince Magnus who again fails to capture Cleo (she runs). Cleo finds her father who gifts Cleo with a special ring (Eva the Watcher’s ring. Cleo is a descendant of the hunter, and the ring should give her power to hold the Kindred without being overwhelmed with its powers). King Corvin then dies in Cleo’s arms.

how did it end

Once the palace walls are breached, the Auranian forces are overwhelmed and must surrender. King Gaius and Chief Basilias discuss splitting the land 50/50 but King Gaius has different plans. He slits the Chief’s throat. The Limeran king moves into the palace with his family. Lucia has still not awoken from the coma she was put in after using such great force in opening the palace gate. Cleo somehow escaped the palace but waits outside in secret with the masses to hear King Gaius address his new people. She is given a cryptic message from Jonas telling her to be prepared for a rebellion and is unfortunately finally captured by Prince Magnus.

anything else?

Watchers = powerful sorcerers who live in an alternate realm called the Sanctuary, can travel between worlds in the form of a hawk
The Kindred = 4 elemental stones which hold the magic of 4 realms (water, earth, fire, air), lost for ages

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