Tuesday 14 January 2014

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms #2)

Genres: Young Adult, Adventure, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: December 3rd 2013
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Love, power, and magic collide with war in the second book of the Falling Kingdoms series

Auranos has fallen and the three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now united as one country called Mytica. But still, magic beckons, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the world...

When the evil King Gaius announces that a road is to be built into the Forbidden Mountains, formally linking all of Mytica together, he sets off a chain of events that will forever change the face of this land, forcing Cleo the dethroned princess, Magnus the reluctant heir, Lucia the haunted sorceress, and Jonas the desperate rebel to take steps they never could have imagined.


What I thought would be a mediocre YA high fantasy after Falling Kingdoms, has turned into the best YA high fantasy I have read since Graceling.

The story is vast and spans three kingdoms as well as a magical realm. It encompasses epic characters from across the kingdoms in various key roles, all of who could tip the scales in the war and in the race to find the Kindred. Sorceresses, kings, princes, princesses, rebels, and immortals.

There isn't a single character that I don't love, except perhaps the villain, King Gaius. He is a bit predictable and blinded by his thirst for power. But he is so psychotic and single-minded in his pursuit, that in a way, that makes him a great villain. He is so evil that it makes him more interesting. I didn't like Jonas too much in book 1 because he was so blinded by his hatred for Auranians, but he has come around in this book and has become a rebel leader and is much more interesting. I also love Lysandra, Lucia, Nic, and the newly introduced Ashur. Every single one, whether good or evil, weak or strong, is amazingly complex and fascinating.

My two favourite characters storylines have merged in book 2, Magnus and Cleo, which is like a dream come true for me. Magnus is the epitome of a misunderstood troubled teen with daddy issues. How can anyone be surprised that Magnus tries to please his father when he is the only one who ever gave him any recognition besides his sister? What teenage boy doesn't want approval from their father? But Magnus isn't like his father, and he is starting to see that. Magnus has been forced into this life while his father chose it. And maybe Cleo is beginning to see that too.

There is no central romance in this story. Most of the characters are between the ages of 16 and 18 and hormones are running high. There are a lot of characters that are attracted to other characters and even have intimate moments with several of them. But so far there is no indication of which relationships will survive the long haul. It seemed for awhile that Cleo and Jonas were going to become an item. I may not like Jonas as much as Magnus, but I love Cleo and I would love for her to have a romance, so I was all behind the Jonas idea. But then that slipped away and Cleo is starting to think maybe Magnus isn't pure evil after all, and Magnus finds himself thinking about Cleo more and more often. Now this I could get behind! With two books left to go in this series, I don't know what will become of Cleo and Magnus' relationship, but I cant wait to find out! As things progressed, their arguing eventually turned into bickering, and eventually seemed half-hearted and almost teasing. I was actually enjoying it.

I am also extremely interested in the idea that Nic may be willing to swing both ways. This could bring us to interesting places as well. I don't know what Prince Ashur's motives are, but I am inclined to believe that he is not evil.

This is an epic fantasy story, full of epic characters. They are so integral to the story that you cant separate them from each other, and I wouldn't want to. I love each and everyone of them as they were written, whether they die, whether they kill one of my favourite characters, whether they try to destroy the world. I love them all.

"She gripped the front of his shirt. It was all too much--she wasn't sure if she was pushing him away or pulling him closer. Much like diving into deep water, she had no idea which way would find her air to breathe or which way would drag her down deeper into the depths where she would surely drown. 
And for a moment, just a moment, she found it didn't seem to matter."

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