***WARNING*** Potential Spoilers past this point for those that haven’t read the first book of this series! You’ve officially been warned!***
To see my review of book #1 – Falling Kingdoms – Click HERE
Total Star Rating: 4 Stars
After reading the first book in this series, I had to suffer an entire next year until this sequel came out onto shelves back in 2014. Any book reader who discovers an amazing series to read while it’s still being published on an annual basis knows the sheer pain of that waiting period!
One thing that was discovered was how Morgan Rhodes is an incredibly talented writer. She is almost masterful of being able to write excellently crafted and compelling scenes that have you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation to see what happens next. Like the TV show Game of Thrones, these books are utterly unpredictable and every character faces insurmountable dangers that could lead to pain and ultimately death. No one is completely safe!
What It’s About:
Taking off immediately from the ending of the previous title, Rebel Spring starts off on a high high note. The Kingdom of Auranos has been taken over by the Damora’s and in the span of an epic battle, everything has dramatically changed, much blood has been spilled, and its all only the beginning.
Cleo, who’s lost literally everyone close to her, is now a prisoner within her own castle as the Damora’s have taken over.
Lucia is in a magic-induced coma from the exertion of power that won her father the kingdom in the first place.
Magnus has become his hateful father’s right hand man and goes off on tour to spread his message with Aron Lagaris, and oversee’s the construction of the golden road to connect all of Mytica.
Jonas has narrowly escaped after the betrayal of his chief, and is slowly building another rebel army.
We are introduced to some new characters: Lysandra, Melenia, Alexius, and Prince Ashur Cortas. Lysandra, who comes from another town in Paelsia, joins up with Jonas and his rebel clan in order to rescue her brother, who has been taken prisoner by King Gaius’s men. Alexius, a mysterious demigod-like being called a Watcher, helps Lucia discover more about herself and the magical abilities that she possesses. Melenia, also a watcher, is the voice inside King Gaius’s head, urging him to build a road in order to find the magical elementia orbs that have been hidden for so many years. Ashur Cortas is the third born prince from the foreign empire of Kraeshia who visits Mytica for a special occasion, but has much more going on beneath the surface.
What I Liked:
- The Action! One thing that this series delivers on is the excitement factor that the author brings to the table. A lot more happens in this book than the last, and while some could argue that the pacing is inconsistent, I thought that it added to the unpredictability of what was going to happen next to certain characters.
- The Addition of New Characters! The characters that I’d mentioned earlier add a lot to the overall story, creating more depth to the plots of the four main characters in different ways. Prince Ashur has to be my favorite addition just because it’s obvious that more is going on with him than just being a guest to a royal wedding, and I was curious to see what more he’d bring to the table.
- Character Deaths! While it’s usually heartbreaking to say goodbye to certain characters, whether it be a violent, cruel murder or a heartbreaking sacrifice, a character death that causes an emotional impact to the readers always makes a story more effective. Every main character loses someone close to them in this story, but it gives them more motivation to their story moving forward.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Still too Derivative…I absolutely adored this series when back when it was brand new and the books were coming out every December; I had nothing bad to say about them at the time. Unfortunately, as time has passed, thats no longer the case, and at reading other reviews that weren’t so glowing about these books, it’s more and more obvious how this series is too similar to Game of Thrones. It’s gotten to the point that it’s becoming harder to and harder to separate what the author has created themselves, and what they’ve slightly changed/copied from the stories of George R.R. Martin. I know I mentioned this comparison in my review of the previous title, but by this point, there’s just too many comparisons that match up: King Gaius is a mix of Tywin Lannister and Stannis Baratheon, Cleo is Sansa, Melenia is Melisandre, Magnus is Jaime Lannister, Lysandra is Arya Stark, Nic Cassian as Jorah Mormont, and Jonas is (maybe) Jon Snow and/or Robb Stark? I’m just relieved that we don’t have another King Joffrey running around…
- The Cliffhanger Endings…This is more something I love to hate, because its such a long, drawn out torture to read a book, be so elated to read what happens next, and then finish the book with another huge cliffhanger, and then realize that you have to wait another year for the next book to release….again. the torture continues. I suppose its a good thing that you read something that you enjoy so much that you’re in such a conundrum.
- The Random Addition of LGBTQ+…There’s one shocking moment in the story where two male characters share a secret kiss, and honestly, the reveal of it for one of the characters was certainly shocking, but not in a positive way. There was absolutely no hinting at it in anyway before hand in either books, and he’d been hopelessly pining away for a woman who’d never return his feelings the entire time before, so while it was shocking, it was just random and seems like it was only added for a cheap token-like addition and for the sake of adding diversity as an afterthought. I’m all for LGBTQ+ representation, but the way it was handled in this story could’ve been better than how it was actually executed.
SO MUCH MORE happens in this sequel of the Falling Kingdoms series, and while its satisfying, it still leaves you wanting more and leaves more hints of whats to come. The main thing this series needs to improve on by this point is becoming more of its own thing, not just a YA knockoff of another fandom in The Song of Ice and Fire.
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell