YA Fantasy, YA romance

My Review: Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5): by Morgan Rhodes

Publish Date: December 13th, 2016

Number of Pages: 379 Pages

Publisher: Razorbill

Genre(s): YA Fantasy, YA Romance

***Warning! This review contains spoilers from this book and from previous books in th series, continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Falling Kingdoms – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Rebel Spring – Click HERE

To see my review of book #3 – Gathering Darkness – Click HERE

To see my review of book #4 – Frozen Tides – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

When on the very edge of death, matters such as fortune and legacy are meaningless in the face of knowing that someone who cares for you will hold your hand as you slip away.”

– Morgan Rhodes, “Crystal Storm”

Power and what people are willing to do to gain it is a theme in the Fantasy genre that we’re all familiar with, it’s nothing new, but somehow it’s a concept that never seems to not help create an entertaining and twisty story that leaves us readers filled with intrigue and anticipated pleasure. Whether it’s kingdoms at war, supernatural beings threatening to take over, or the evil overlord is trying to destroy life as we know it; it always creates and allows the opportunity for us readers to have a widely encapsulating story.

Gathering Darkness is the fifth book in the fast-paced and unpredictable Falling Kingdoms series, and so much has changed with the development of the story so far with our characters like Cleo, Magnus, Lucia, Jonas, and even King Gaius as they’ve stolen, plotted, and enacted out certain actions that have caused so many evocation of emotions: anger, confusion, excitement, and grief. A total YA version of Game of Thrones, there’s been dueling kingdoms, backstabbing, magical orbs, forbidden love, manipulation, gruesome deaths, gods and immortals, alliances formed and lost, vengeful acts of revenge and retribution, and now even resurrections!

I’m going to be honest: I did enjoy this book and I absolutely devoured it when I got my hands on it, but at the same time, it felt like filler/complete setup for the next book which also happens to be the final book in the whole series. It felt shorter than every other book, and it felt like not as much got resolved with everything that happens. I get it… the author is trying to make that final book all that much more sought after to go out with a bang, so I can’t exactly knock her for that. It just makes the torturous year long wait for that final book all that much more worse.

One of the greatest aspects of this whole series are how all the characters are so morally grey. No one’s completely innocent, and no one hasn’t done at least one heinous act in order to get ahead in the game. They’re all flawed, and they all have proper justification for all their actions, which just makes for such a fun reading experience.

Cleo continues to be my favorite character; she’s not some badass assassin or thief, but that doesn’t make her any more of a damsel in distress. She’s not able to physically do much, but I like her spunk, her heart, and her courage in order to (hopefully) one day reclaim her home of Auranos. She’s feminine, and despite her physical shortcomings, she’s such a strong character. I also love her romantic storyline with Magnus, that has become a real treat to enjoy. It’s gone through so much ever since the second book, and they’ve come so far; it’s one of the best enemies-to-lovers storylines I’ve ever read and think people should read these books for that alone. I admit though, she has really learned how to play the game, and is really spiteful and greedy and isn’t the greatest with handling their relationship. At one point, she’s enjoying the sexy appeal of sneaking around, but it’s all because she’s actually ashamed to be seen with him. Plenty of angst to add to the plot!

Magnus is also such a treat to read. I mean, his character arc is nothing new or highly original: he’s basically the messy haired, broody, dark prince who has the sassy comebacks, but is a total softy when it comes to the woman he loves. He’s really gone through some major growth throughout the books, and he’s far away from the moody prince and is really starting to become a true leader and future king of Limeros–Or Auranos if and Cleo make it all the way!

Jonas is such an endearing character and is so easy to want to root for, he’s been through so much that he’s evoked the most emotional investment besides Cleo for readers to get behind. However, he’s not the greatest at making sure his plans follow through… I don’t think of his plans have been successful, nor has achieved any of his goals for himself–in fact, I’m pretty sure other people have been the ones to make any sort of his goals/plans actually follow through. He also seems to have totally gotten the short end of the stick when compared to the other main characters when it comes to storylines and overall success.

Lucia Damora is easily my least favorite character in the whole series. She was alright at the beginning, but after a few books, she has turned into such an annoying brat who doesn’t have any meaning of the word genuine in her soul. My final straw was her alliance with Kyan in all of Frozen Tides. Sure, she sort of saw the error of her ways, but she’s also such an indecisive brat who was fine with all the death and destruction going on, and while she tries to make amends for that in this book, part of me wonders if she can redeem herself at all by this point, at least for myself.

Amara has also become a real gem of a character! She’s more deceptive and dangerous than King Gaius, and the fact that she’d even kill her own brother shows how far she’s willing to go in order to get what she wants. She’s despicable and heartless, but she makes for a much more interesting story. Plus, she’s not just bad for the sake of being bad. As we saw in the previous book, she’s been looked down on all her life for being a woman and she is no longer allowing men to decide her fate for her. I thought she’s had a believable arc throughout and has some depth that makes her drive actually pretty relatable. Characters like her are the absolute best in these kinds of stories where there are multiple people vying for the throne; you never know what they’ll do next.

What It’s About:

The Official Blurb:

The ruthless Empress Amara of Kraeshia has taken the Mytican throne, and now uncertainty looms over the three kingdoms. Since Lucia unleashed the fire Kindred, wreaking havoc throughout the land, Myticans have been looking for someone—anyone—they can trust. They believe in Amara, not knowing her grand promises are built on lies.

In Paelsia, Magnus and Cleo reluctantly follow King Gaius to the home of his exiled mother, Selia. Selia is a powerful witch and claims she can help unlock the magic of the Kindred—if the visitors agree to her terms. When Jonas arrives from Kraeshia, he is shocked to find that his rebel army now includes his sworn enemies. Along with Nic, Felix, and the mysteriously resurrected Ashur, the contentious group agrees to cast aside old grudges—for now—and united against their common enemy: Amara.

Meanwhile, bearing the child of a Watcher and feared by all, Princess Lucia travels across Mytica to find her family. But time is running out. The impending storm signals the dark prophecy Timotheus warned her about. Her fate is written, and it includes none other than the rebel Jonas. When their paths collied, Jonas and Lucia must decide between blindly following their destiny or fighting for their own free will.

The battle for power culminates at the Paelsian palace, where Amara resides. Rain pours. Blood spills. And soon all will discover that the darkest magic comes at an even darker price

What I Liked:

  1. Enemies become Allies! One thing about this series that makes it so much fun is how unpredictable some characters truly are and how all the alliances and rivalries have changed so much within the series if not even just within one book. It keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing, and I would’ve never guessed at Magnus teaming up with Cleo based off just the first book back when I first read it, nor how they become the OTP of the series, and now they’re teaming up with Gaius! Like, WHUUUUUUUUT??
  2. Magnus and Cleo Romance Development! These two continue to drive up the romance I love in this whole series, and things aren’t all “happily-ever-after” after the two of them were getting it on in that cabin in the climax of the previous book, Frozen Tides. It’s back to the real world, and of course, everyone is maybe starting to see that something is going on between them. Not everyone is thrilled about them, and they make sure to remind Cleo of all the shady things Magnus has done in the past, and part of her starts to wonder if whether they’re right for each other or not. I for one am a huge stan for them, but even I remember how I was hoping for more to happen between Jonas and Cleo at the very beginning of the series.
  3. King Gaius Gains Depth! One thing that’s usually lacking in Fantasy-genre books/series, both adult and YA, is how the villain is incredibly underdeveloped. They’re bad just for the sake of being bad, and not a whole lot is revealed about why they got this way, and even of the King of Blood in the Falling Kingdoms series starts off this way, but after his death in Frozen Tides, he seemed to have changed his ways a little bit: he’s working with Magnus and Cleo to take down Empress Amara, and even the opening scene is of him and his mother when he’s a child and talking about what’s to happen in present time reveals more depth to his character. Maybe he’s seen the errors of his ways, or maybe he’s got some diabolical plan going on in his head? Who knows!
  4. Nerissa! She has been a side character that has actually been around since the beginning of the series; she’s just been under the radar, but she’s been a valuable role with her being a spy and reporting back to Jonas and the others. Since she’s made it this far, is still alive and even has a small romantic subplot developing, I thought she deserved a shout out!

The fire that hollows us out is what allows us to be filled with strength and power where before there was none.”

– Morgan Rhodes, “Crystal Storm”

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Jonas Has Magic?…This was just a random plot twist that I was torn about. Since Jonas has now been saved by two Watchers, it’s not exactly hard to believe that maybe there would be some weird consequences because of that. Jonas seems to have snagged some magical abilities, but he has absolutely no control over them at all. I guess what I really didn’t like about this development was how it was tied up in the end of this book.
  2. Jonas Joining Up With Lucia, and Becoming Part of Prophecy…I love Jonas even though everything he’s sought after doing in this series was either a failure or was accomplished by someone else, but I continue to be disappointed as he joins up with my least favorite character in all these books. Even worse, he ends up randomly becoming a huge factor in the whole prophecy with Lucia and how she’s the sorceress reincarnated, and I just wasn’t for it with this whole development… Jonas once again gets the short end with these books.
  3. The Kindred End Up Being Boss Villains?…So with the appearance of Kyan being revealed as the spirit of the Fire Orb of the Kindred, it’s soon discovered that each orb actually has a trapped spirit within, and they want out. Imagine it like the Titans vs. the Gods of Olympus with the Kindred and the Watchers. While this was an interesting development, what I didn’t like was how we had no idea this was going to happen up until this point. I don’t know, I feel like all great series have the boss villain rather early on in the story. Gaius was the first big villain, but we had no idea there were these vengeful spirits within the orbs and that they’d end up being the big boss villain–like Voldemort or Sauron.
  4. That Cliffhanger Ending…Okay Morgan Rhodes……..that ending was just cruel! Sure, I’m kind of used to it with this series with literally every book having a big cliffhanger, but I’d read these books all the way back when they were being published, so waiting a full year to get any new updates and seeing what happened next was torture!


Crystal Storm is yet another thrilling addition to the exhilarating Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes, but feels a little less complete than the other books at the same time. It felt like the fifth book here was just pure setup for the the next book that also happens to be the final book to end it all. Whenever a series is wrapping up, it reminds me of myself and all my excitement back when I’d first read the first book and how I was filled with excitement amazing story and the wonder of where it was going to possibly go and what may happen when I get to the current point I’m at right now. There’s just something so magical about that whole experience for me!

With this book feeling more like setup for the sixth and final book, it certainly raised my expectations and makes me not only even more excited for the next title, but the fingers crossed that it’s the best possible ending that it deserves!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

YA Fantasy, YA romance

My Review: Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4): by Morgan Rhodes

Publish Date: December 15th, 2015
Number of Pages: 413 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, YA Romance

***Warning!! This review contains spoilers from the previous books in the series, continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my full review of book #1: Falling Kingdoms – Click HERE

To see my full review of book #2: Rebel Spring – Click HERE

To see my full review of book #3: Gathering Darkness – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast for the whole series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

For anyone who’s been following in my reviews of this series, some may be surprised at how my rating has dropped when compared to the previous book in this series. Believe me, I was just as surprised at my reaction to this fourth book in one of my favorite YA fantasy series, but to be honest, I just couldn’t help but be disappointed in this title a little bit.

There were plenty of parts that I immensely enjoyed, and still can say I loved reading it like the other titles; I guess for me it was mainly my disappointment with the direction the series was starting to move in at this point. I feel like there was a shift in the overall feel of the books by this point, and the overall story had started to move in a direction that maybe I wasn’t so fond of, at least concerning certain subplots or character arcs. While plenty of the twists and the forbidden romance continued to pique my interest, there was just a lot more aspects that I just wasn’t entirely agreeing with.

There were a couple things I loved about this series. One was the introduction of the Kraeshian Empire, the homeland of Prince Ashur and Princess Amara Cortas. Its presence has been brewing in the background since the second book, so it was nice to see it finally make its grand entrance into the story. Another was, of course, how Prince Magnus’s relationship with Princess Cleo continues to develop oh-so-achingly slowly, and one last one worth mentioning was the development of spy/assassin/double-crossing Felix Graebas.

There were of course plenty of things I disliked about this books as well: Princess Lucia Damora being the biggest one worth mentioning. I go into more details about all these things I’ve mentioned further below in my review, as I do in all of my book reviews on this website.

Overall, I did enjoy this book like all the other books in this series so far, I was literally vibrating with excitement waiting for their publishing date every year after waiting those 365 days. I couldn’t help but literally binge read whenever these books came out, because while it’s such a cheap tactic to put on us readers, the author is damn good at those cliffhangers that keep us coming back! The thing is, I wasn’t nearly as satisfied with this book when I finished like I was with the other books. I can’t explain it, but like I said, I felt like there was just a major shift with the overall series once I got to this book, and while I still enjoy the story and characters and want to keep reading on, part of me just isn’t as emotionally invested as I once was *shrugs.* Part of it could be because around the time I’d first read this, I was really getting more into the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, and maybe that stole the thunder from this series a little bit?

What It’s About:

Because if you don’t choose to fight against the wrong in the world, then you are the wrong in the world.”

– Morgan Rhodes, “Frozen Tides”

Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author, Morgan Rhodes.

CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.

MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: The young sorcercess has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel—along with a mysterious stranger–leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.

What our hearts want can overtake what our minds tell us is forbidden to us. We can’t control these feelings, even if we desperately wish we could.”

– Morgan Rhodes, “Frozen Tides”

What I Liked:

  1. The Kraeshian Empire! It’s been something that’s been brewing in the background since the first appearance of Prince Ashur at Cleo and Magnus’s wedding in Rebel Spring, and you finally get a glimpse of the vast empire in the capital city! To be honest, it doesn’t seem too different from Dorne in Westeros from Game of Thrones, but the author uses it to really further the development of Amara Cortas, who is quickly letting us know she’s an irresistible force to be reckoned with in these books. You learn more about her and her family, and it adds some major depth to her crafty demeanor.
  2. Felix Graebas! You met him in the previous book, Gathering Darkness, and you probably loved him as much as I did for his cheeky personality and overall charming amount of shadiness. Turns out, he was actually an assassin sent by King Gaius to kill Jonas, but he couldn’t go through with it in the end because Jonas had become like a friend to him. Still, Jonas and Lysandra found out and banished him away, which leads Felix to realign himself with the wicked king and become his personal bodyguard! There’s more to his character, but I don’t want to give too much away; like Amara, he’s given more attention in this book and there’s more depths added to him and his motives.
  3. Magnus and Cleo’s Romantic Development! In Gathering Darkness, we got a major moment with them admitting their mutual unrequited attraction to each other—along with a steamy kiss—and Magneo officially became canon! In this book, their relationship continues to evolve as they return to the Limeros palace, Magnus’s home, and continue to bicker and get on each other’s nerves, but it’s okay because it’s foreplay for them. They reluctantly learn to trust each other and use their strengths together in order to come ahead of all the key players in the hunt for the Kindred.
  4. Many Cliffhangers! It’s definitely a normal expectation for these books, but the ending will blow your mind with how much happens! Lots of excitement for the last 25% of the book, and I won’t spoil it, but expect a lot of unexpectedness!

What I Disliked:

  1. Lucia Damora…I swear, I like her less and less with every book…Sis just needs to go away. In this book, she takes a walk on the dark side as she aligns herself with Kyan, who was actually the fire spirit trapped inside the Fire Kindred. It turns out each orb has some immortal being trapped inside like some sort of poké ball and releasing them is actually pretty bad news for EVERYONE, including the Watchers on the other side of the portals strewn about Mytica. Lucia and him travel around the realm and search for a portal that can still be activated and allow him to kill off Timotheus, the leader of the Watchers. While this new predicament is interesting and raises the stakes, Lucia does not. She’s just so easily unlikeable by this point, and her chapters were really bleh for me. So many opportunities with her whole story arc were just tossed out the window like a Corona beer during the pandemic; the storyline of her birth parents was a letdown, and even her powers aren’t all that much more impressive…
  2. The Kraeshian Rebellion…While at the Kraeshian Empire, Nic and Jonas meet Mikah, who is a servant-but-actually a leader in a rebellion group looking to overthrow the whole Empire led by Amara’s family…This whole addition was absolutely not necessary to include into the story, to be honest. Sure, it was an unexpected twist for Mikah’s character, but I can say this whole rebellion doesn’t mean anything for pretty much the entirety of the book. If anything, it serves as a plot convenience to rescue a certain character, but that’s it! There was another way to go about sneaking someone out of the palace than including this rebellion into the story, especially if it won’t come into play to the entire plot after that…pointless.
  3. Jonas Continues to Dwindle…Jonas is like that meme with the guy doing the post game interview, stating they had ’em in the first half. That perfectly sums up Jonas’s character in this series! I had high hopes for him, I really did—I even totally hoped him and Cleo ended up together—but he’s slowly being pushed further and further onto the back burner. He’s accomplished literally none of the mission’s he’s set out to do, and it feels like by this point, even the author is seeming to give up on him.


Another thrilling edition to the bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, this title continues the usual recipe these books have: winding twists and turns up the wazoo, unpredictable character deaths, scorching romance, bloody political intrigue, and magic now oozing off the sides.

While many other readers who read this book seemed to love this addition, I was a little less than impressed with this title for the reasons I’ve already listed above, so I won’t repeat myself and get repetitive on the matter. Still, with the many cliffhangers this book gives us at the end, you can bet your cute butt that I’m still invested and kept reading these books! I’ve spent too much time screaming over everything that’s happened and just about everything else with these books to give up at this point.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

YA Fantasy, YA romance

My Review: Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3): by Morgan Rhodes

Publication Date: December 9th, 2014
Number of Pages: 407 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, YA Romance

***Warning!! This review contains spoilers for those that haven’t read the first two books in the series yet! Enter at your own risk, you’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Falling Kingdoms – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – Rebel Spring – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the whole series – click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

I would say it was this book where things in this series really start to get interesting, I only hope plenty of readers stuck with it long enough to be able to enjoy it! It’s unfortunate that it had to wait until the third book in a series, but hey, good things come to those who wait.

The first two books in this series were pretty fun to read through, I thought I’d found a gold-mine. Before this book, this series had felt like just a YA version straight from Game of Thrones: Royal siblings with weird incestuous vibes, the pretty princess taken prisoner with her enemies, the escaped rebel drawing forces from all their found resources, and of course the corrupt king who mercilessly kills off anyone who opposes him. This title, however, felt like all my hopes and dreams for this series had been answered!

So much happened that made me so happy; so many answers pertaining to important aspects of the overall story of the entire series, and it even included more parts that I didn’t even know I needed. Sure, it’s not the most original content, their isn’t some deep/meaningful message to learn from; it’s just pure entertainment, and that’s totally fine. Not every story you read needs all that in order for it to be worthwhile.

What It’s About:

Continuing a week from the events of how the previous title, Rebel Spring, ended in the Forbidden Mountains, the quest for the Kindred continues in violent and unpredictable fashion. Jonas meets a mysterious stranger, Felix Graebas, who rescues him from enemy soldiers and befriends him before joining his rebellious cause. Together, they plan to rescue the fellow rebels, including Lysandra, from the dungeons of Auranos before they’re hanged for their crimes against the crown.

Cleo Bellos, still a prisoner in her own castle, continues to be a spy for Jonas and send him secret messages with valuable information, but also turns to fellow princess Lucia in order to gain more information on the Kindred.

Outside forces join the race as the Kraeshians make their presence known amongst those in Mytica. Prince Ashur, who we met in the previous book, is still hanging around but is now joined by his devious sister, Amara. Together, they find their own answers towards the Kindred and how to take them for themselves.

Prince Magnus is still torn about recent events, mostly the decisions his brutal father makes, and becomes more and more tormented with the inner battle between his family and what may be right.

The Watchers have been doing just that, but no longer. Melenia has gained enough power and now they are able to come over from the other side of the Sanctuary.

Everyone is searching for the Kindred, but what they discover is that sometimes, ancient power should remain buried…sometimes the legends leave out certain parts of the tales that can make all the difference in what’s to come!

What I Liked:

  1. New and Interesting Characters! The author introduces us to some fun and exciting new characters to spice things up a bit and cause more chaos. Prince Ashur has stuck around, but now his younger sister, Princess Amara, has joined up with him, and let me say that she makes a viper seem tame. Together, they bring the upcoming threat of the Kraeshian Empire from overseas as they join the hunt for the Elementia orbs. Another noteworthy character is Felix Graebas, who joins Jonas and Lysandra in their quest to free their rebel brethren from their cells in the Auranos dungeons, awaiting execution. The great thing about these characters is that they are definitely hiding something, and their true allegiance is in question.
  2. The Love Triangle Sub-Plot Thickens! As we can tell from the previous book, there’s a bit of a love triangle forming between golden Princess Cleo with Jonas and now Prince Magnus. I’d say it’s definitely one of the more well-done triangles formed in the genre, and adds to the angst of everything else that’s happening so far in the story, especially with the inner turmoil that it puts Magnus in.
  3. It Furthers the Kindred Storyline! You finally get more information and important scenes when it comes to the Kindred and what role they play in the story. Alexius gets more attention within this story and you experience a few surprises where he’s concerned!
  4. Cleo Continues to Shine! Cleo becomes such a fan favorite as she continues to do whatever it takes in order to survive amongst her worst enemies. I’ve really grown impressed with her survival instincts that appear when it most matters, her bravery, her brains, her ability to outsmart her enemies, and I don’t know about any of you, but I’m rooting for her!
  5. So Many Twists! So many shocking reveals, bitter betrayals, and surprises are in store for you in this tale; you truly won’t know what happens next!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Another Cliffhanger Ending…Once again, the author leaves us with a gigantic cliffhanger that excites and frustrates to the point of wanting to do violent things towards the book and a wall nearby; So much happens, but then you’re left with so many questions with what will happen in the next title, which for me, would be a whole year later on…
  2. Jonas’s Development…Jonas started off as a favorite for me, but he’s turning into the greatest rebel to not actually accomplish anything…Almost everything he sets off to do ends up in failure, or doesn’t end up being as successful as we’d all hope it’d turn out…
  3. The LGBTQ+ Rep Continues to Fall Flat…While part of me appreciates the fact that their are bisexual characters included in the story, part of me is also annoyed at how they are handled compared to the straight relationships also within the story. The M/M is treated like an afterthought, almost as if it’s just a ploy for one character to use strategically in order to gain information or some sort of edge. I mentioned this in the previous book as well but it’s also using a character, who up until the unexpected reveal, kept moping on and off about how he was hopelessly in love with his best friend, a girl. So, adding the M/M romance angle still just feels so rushed and short handed compared to other romantic subplots going on.


A thrilling addition to the fun, entertaining, unpredictable Falling Kingdoms Series. No longer does it feel like a YA Game of Thrones knockoff; it truly feels like it’s coming into his own as a legitimate story.

I continue to recommend this series to anyone who likes the fantasy genre, and who loves a few unexpected surprises and twists along the way! Like any great story, this one includes political intrigue, shocking betrayals, forbidden and secret romance, and a race for power.

Thanks For Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

YA Fantasy

My Review: Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2): by Morgan Rhodes

Publish Date: December 3rd 2013
Number of Pages: 401 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre(s): YA Fantasy

***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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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…
  2. 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.
  3. 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


My Fancast/Dreamcast: The Falling Kingdom Series by Morgan Rhodes

This series is like a YA Game Of Thrones: There’s kingdoms, knights, stolen thrones, forbidden romance, secrets that have been killed over, deadly betrayals, a hint of magic, and war on the horizon. In the land of Mytica, magic that was once in abundance is now a long lost memory, and the kingdoms that rule the land are reaching an unrest with a power struggle for ultimate power.

Here is my review of the first book in the series!

Here is my review of book #2 – Rebel Spring!

Here is my review of book #3 – Gathering Darkness!

Here is my review of book #4 – Frozen Tides!

Here is my review of book #5 – Crystal Storm!

More reviews coming soon!


Here is my official Fancast/Dreamcast:


Princess Cleo Bellos: Blake Lively

Image courtesy of celebmafia.com

Cleo is described as the Golden Princess; she’s named after a goddess, so why not cast Blake Lively as her? She’s an IT girl who’s known for her roles in Gossip Girl, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Savages to name a few, and is also the wife of Ryan Reynolds!…lucky bitch.

Prince Magnus Damora: Nick Ayler

Credit to owner

So he’s missing the dark eyes, but I couldn’t shake the idea of casting this amazing looking male specimen as our moody Prince of Limeros (and sass).

Jonas Agallon: Marco Dapper

Image courtesy of homorazzi.com

Probably no one’s choice but my own, this unknown actor has been in the Soap Opera, The Young and the Restless and has made small appearances in Criminal Minds, Veronica Mars, and Dirty Sexy Money.

Princess Lucia Damora: Barbara Palvin

Image courtesy of twimg.com

She’s an angel from Victoria’s secret, so she certainly has the face to match the beauty of our magical princess Lucia. Besides her runway work, somehow the other Sprouse Twin who’s not in Riverdale, Dylan, landed her, to which I say “Good Job Zach!”

Nic Cassian: Sam Claflin

Image courtesy of popsugar.com

You see this guy in Love, Rosie and Me Before You, and how can you not swoon over over him? He’s been a favorite of mine since his surprising achievement of being casted as Finnick Odair in the Hunger Games franchise, I know Sam would nail this role as Cleo’s best friend.

Mira Cassian: Sophie Turner

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The series is basically a YA Game of Thrones knock-off without the Dragons or White-walkers, so why not have the actress we all got to know and love as Sansa Stark be a part of this series too? Sure, it’s a much smaller role, but I feel like it’d be a nod to what we know.

Aron Lagaris: Alex Pettyfer

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Again, I hate to type-cast, but I did start this series way back in 2012 when it first came out, so how could I not cast Alex as the arrogant, aristocratic noble who was betrothed the Cleo at the very start? He’s known for his roles in Magic Mike, I Am Number Four, Beastly, In Time, and Endless Love. It’s just too bad he’s known for taking that reputation of being a complete asshole into real life as well…

Theon Ranus: Jensen Ackles

Image courtesy of Entertainment Weekly Magazine

Ever since seeing him LARPing in his show, Supernatural, i’ve known it in my heart that I want him to be casted as an actual knight in some sort of fantasy setting. I totally saw him playing the brave, prideful, loyal knight who was Cleo’s love interest at the very beginning of the books!

King Gaius Damora: Richard Armitage

Image courtesy of oldvictheatre.com

This guy can act! He’s known for playing our anti-hero Thorin in The Hobbit movies among plenty of other roles, I thought he’d be an excellent ruthless, evil, greedy king Gaius who’s the villain through most of the series!

Queen Althea Damora: Danielle Bisutti

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I pictured either her or Lucy Lawless playing the role of King Gaius’s wife and Magnus’s mother, she can nail the role of ice queen in the roles I’ve seen her play. She’s been all over the place, I’ve seen her in many shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Tru Jackson VP, CSI, Parks and Recreation, and Private Practice to name a few!

Alexius: Luke Guldan

Image courtesy of lukeguldan.com

Total confession, but seeing this image on Pinterest inspired me to create an account!…I am actually being completely serious…anyways, he’s a small time model-turned-actor, not in anything I’ve seen, but I pictured him playing the immortal watcher who looks over the land and falls for Lucia.

Brion Radenos: Josh Bowman

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I watched Josh in Revenge, and thought he’d be good at playing the best friend of Jonas and fellow rebel soldier to try and overthrow King Gaius’s tyranny.

King Corvin Bellos: Sean Bean

Image courtesy of sharovaka.com

I mean, if we’ve read the first book, does this not make total sense?…

Emilia Bellos: Kirsten Bell

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I love Kirsten so much, she’s just so swell, I could totally see her playing the wiser, older sister role to Cleo!

Sabina Mallius: Madeleine Stowe

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After seeing her wickedness in Revenge, I imagined she’d absolutely nail the role of playing the scheming, evil mistress to the King.

Prince Ashur Cortas: Jesse Williams

Image courtesy of rebloggy.com

I know this isn’t a popular choice because he doesn’t match the description at all, but I switched up the look of Krashia’s royal prince by keeping their skin dark, but changing the ethinicity to those of African descent with lighter eyes, which leads me to the next casted role…

Princess Amara Cortas: Logan Browning

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Logan stars in the Netflix show, Dear White People, and I know I’m going against what the entire Cortas Empire is supposed to appear as—which is a more Middle Eastern ethnicity—but Logan just fits how I pictured this character!

Felix Graebas: Colby Lopez

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I’m a huge WWE fan, and at the time of meeting Felix in the series, this guy (ring name: Seth Rollins) was playing a similar character on my tv screen every week; arrogant but charming, definitely someone not to trust, so I put the two together, said why not? and made him my assassin and allie(sort of?) to Jonas.

Melenia: Charlize Theron

Image courtesy of pursuitist.com

Watch her Dior commercials, or see her as the evil queen in Snow White and the Huntsman, and try and tell me she isn’t meant to play the role of a scheming immortal?

Phaedra: Ginny Gardner

Image courtesy of http://www.fanpix.net

A very small role in the whole series, but she made the most of the time she was given, this immortal and best friend to Alexius was to be played by a young blonde actress. She’s not too well known, but she can be seen on Project Almanac and Runaways, and has made appearances on shows like How to Get Away with Murder and Glee.

Kyan: Andrew Stetson

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So, trying to someone so good looking, so ethereal, so godlike that he could play Kyan…male model Andrew Stetson was a close enough choice for me.

Lysandra Barbas: Jana Kramer

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Jana Kramer has the tan skin & darker features, and for some reason, the country singer from One Tree Hill was someone I wanted to play Lysandra

Kurtis Curillo: Sebastian Stan

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This was more going back to when Sebastian Stan was on Gossip Girl (I know right?! Hard to believe), but I could totally see him playing the sneaky, cowardly, condescending childhood rival of Magnus

Selia Damora: Susan Sarandon

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Susan Sarandon is someone who has a presence no matter who is in the room. She can be everything at once, and I totally pictured her playing King Gaius’s wicked mother.

Nerissa: Sophia Bush

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I know Sophia Bush deserves bigger roles than this, but Nerissa was one of those minor characters that snuck up on you. I personally kept thinking she wasn’t going to make it throughout the series, but she managed to hang in their until the very end!

Olivia: Eve Torres-Gracie

Image courtesy of evetorres.com

A former WWE Superstar, Eve always had beauty that shined so bright that she could have been perfect for the big screen. Her acting chops aren’t too bad, and I know this is a choice that doesn’t fit the description of the character, I just imagined someone with grace and poise and Eve certainly fits that bill.

Timotheus: Jude Law

Image courtesy of mrreporter.com

Jude Law doesn’t even know how to be unattractive, I swear…Anyways, a household name like himself should certainly be an excellent choice to be one of the head watcher’s from the other world alongside where the series takes place!

Enzo: Joseph Cannata

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Enzo, to me, was what I imagined a big, dumb, lovable, and attractive jock to look like. He’s a knight with a change of heart and gets a few moments to shine in the final story, and even has a little bit of a romantic side story with Nerissa! Joseph is a model, you’ve probably seen him on a romance novel cover here and there, and I thought he’d make a good Enzo for us to enjoy!


Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell