Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes // AN EPIC BEAUTIFUL FANTASY

12954620Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1), by Morgan Rhodes                         Publication: December 11, 2012, by Razorbill                                               Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure                                                   Pages: 412                                                             Format: Paperback                                             Source: Purchased                                           Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

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.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

 

MICHELLE’s Thoughts:

I’ve been hesitant with high-fantasy since Sarah J. Maas’s unstoppably perfect Throne of Glass series came into my life. I’ve been afraid that I won’t feel that way about a book ever again, specifically in the same genre. When I purchased this, it was mainly for the reason that everyone was talking about it, the hype and the assassin-like cover intrigued me. Morgan Rhodes’s books should’ve entered my life a long time ago, I’ll tell you that.

Falling Kingdoms is a read that hit me like never before. It’s enchanting, brave and heart-warming. Rhodes causes readers to fall in love with each and every one of the characters, even if a bad streak of evil is in their personality. Though I’ve never read Game of Thrones, it is highly compared to it which definitely shows that I’ll love George R.R. Martin’s world as well. Even though I’m on a book buying/borrowing ban, I can’t stop myself from requesting the sequel of this book to fly into my hands. I’ll be reading it soon. *smiles*

“If you want something,” Tomas had always said, “you have to take it. Because nobody’s ever going to give it to you. Remember that, little brother.” (27)

Every character in this novel is fighting for themselves and their kingdoms. There’s no extra, forbidden romance that brings everyone together. At least, not so far. If something does come up in the next novels, I’ll still be a hardcore fan because it hadn’t sprouted up in the beginning. Rhodes has created three kingdoms that all lay on one chunk of land, separated by controlling borders: Limeros, Paelsia and Auranos. In each, we have a main character who has some kind of role in the book’s plot.

Cleo: Princess Cleo is basically the new Celaena Sardothien from ToG. Cleo’s super badass and can fit the role of being the new queen of Auranos. And hey, she’s able to fight and kick people’s butts—bring them down, basically. Although some have noted that she’s completely annoying and eerie, I’d state otherwise. She impressed me from the start and when her perspective came around in Auranos, I looked forward to it the most. She’s there for her sick sister, trying to believe in magic although it might be kind of impossible for her in her situation, and she needs to help the people whom she loves. I ship her with Magnus, OR Jonas… somehow Rhodes will make it work.

Jonas: Here we have another character who fights for the people who he loves. Jonas lost his brother in a careless accident caused by Aron, the man who Cleo’s going to marry, and Cleo was a bystander. Jonas is one of those independent guys who stays by his words, y’know? He threatened Aron and Cleo, saying that he’ll kill them, and he tries to do whatever it takes to find them and bring Auranos and its throne down. Then he discovers that his land, Paelsia, as well as the north neighbours, Limeros, have signed a deal and they’ll start a war together. Our little teenager Jonas WAS PART OF THIS WAR. That’s a cute “prince” if you ask me.

Magnus: So this is the ladies’ man, and obviously everyone’s favourite. Some may feel that it’s kind of strange that he has an obsession with his little sister, Lucia, who has a secret that can bring his family down (that has to do with elementia magic) and he’s more overprotective of her than ever. That’s an adorable big brother, if you ask me. I fell in love with each of the male interests, by the way. I don’t care what’ll happen because it’ll all somehow work out.

“Magic will find those with pure hearts, even when all seems lost. And love is the greatest magic of all. I know this to be true.” (248)

Things kept getting messed up for each of the characters, though even as a reader, I felt like I was always kind of there for them? I mean I know it’s kind of strange, but I felt that I could relate to these characters, and it happened so easily. I felt like sobbing to the fullest extent many times while reading, and I had an impeccable reading experience throughout. It’s a slower read to get your mind into, as there’s tons of facts about the land and magic that you’ll need to understand to continue reading, but I loved every minute of it, from start to finish. If I could’ve, I would have finished it in one sitting, I promise you. I bet that it simply just depends on your reading speed and what you’re usually used to. Rhodes’ writing is fantastic, fantasizing and like a pinch of pixie dust; You’ll feel its power and magic.

So what am I, magical reader, expecting from the next book? More plot twists, suspense and hell-yeah-awesome action scenes. Rhodes’ interpretation of an action scene taken in a fantasy world is kickass. You must expect everything: the swords, assassin-like moves and hiding, as well as appearances of enemies. I already read a snippet of book two and I can’t believe what’s happening. Rebel Spring is going to kill me, once again.

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Falling Kingdoms ruined my life, but in a remarkable, grand way. It’s one of those reads that you’ll be reading other reviews of for hours, trying to see other people’s opinions and summaries so you can get that special touch again. And—get ready for a Morgan Rhodes book haul the next time you head out to your bookstore/library. YOU NEED ALL OF THE BOOKS.

so let’s discuss. would you rather be: a princess/prince who has to marry a murderer but has all of the jewels and pretty stuff, a person who is a great fighter and is loved by tons of people but who has gone through a horrible loss, or a person who can play with magic but is always at risk of being killed? morgan rhodes plays with my head and i can’t stop thinking about these possibilities!

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A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes // I’m the Biggest Fan of Her Books!

 A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits          and Thieves #1), by Morgan Rhodes        Publication: June 23, 2015, by Razorbill   Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy   Pages: 368                             Format: Hardcover             Source: Borrowed                                   Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.

Sam’s Thoughts:

Back when I read Morgan Rhodes’ stellar Falling Kingdoms, I fell in love and added all of her books onto my TBR list on Goodreads. And at that time, I already had a copy of A Book of Spirits and Thieves ready in hand so I could fall in love with her writing all over again. I should’ve read it right away because I keep falling in love with the fictional, beautiful world of Mytica where everything is fantasy and just speaks to me. This series can probably one day be classified as just as good as the other series that I’ve come to love, that’s for sure.

A Book of Spirits and Thieves is more magical and special than any other fantasy book I’ve read about in a while. It’s interesting, definitely more real than the usual in writing, and just as powerful as Morgan Rhodes’ writing usually is. I really enjoyed it, and there’s nothing I can possibly complain about or regret reading about. Agh. Fangirl alert, I tell you.

“It had been just over two years since Daniel Hatcher left. Her father. Her hero. Her friend. Her mentor. The man who’d shared with her his love for animals and photography.”

Even though this dealt with magic and the astonishing world of Mytica, there were real-life concepts that many readers could relate to. Sisterhood, losing someone who you love, divorce. It’s set in a contemporary-fantasy reality and world where two out of the three protagonists and main characters which Rhodes introduces live in modern day downtown Toronto. The atmosphere is so relatable. For once, I could read a book where I finally am able to understand the street names and tourist attractions found nearby. It’s certainly magical for a Canadian.

I must say that I fell in love with this story from page one. We were introduced to Crystal and her sister, Becca, who are obsessed readers. They help their mother out at their bookstore downtown and when a large package comes in the mail, they open it and discover an old book with weird scriptures and writing. This immediately sends Becca to the hospital where it’s like she’s been transformed into another world. In fact, she has—Mytica. Crystal strives to help her sister and bring her back, alongside some help from a rich, “snobby” teenager named Farrell, who I fell in love with. Then, there’s Maddox, who is extra adorable as well. Again, Morgan Rhodes creates a cast of characters who certainly deserve a bookish Oscar for the best crew. *grins*

Crystal Hatcher: She’s kickass and totally reminds me of myself, in a way. She’s shy, quiet but rebellious at the same time and I loved her personality at all times. She made the best decisions at the best time. I think she’s exactly like Cleo, in Morgan’s other rocking series. Pretty similar, if you ask me.

Farrell Grayson: HOT is the only word that I could use to describe him. Other reviews have noted that he doesn’t know what he’s doing and we’re all meant to hate him and all, but I do think otherwise. He’s hot, sexy, and interesting. I don’t know if I could even possibly ship him with Crystal or anything, because he’s certainly all mine.

Maddox Corso: A male witch? We don’t usually see this in YA fiction, and I grant another large applause to Morgan for that. She did a fantastic job shaping his character, showing his powers and how strong of an attitude he has at all times. I loved the person who he became by the end, and he helped Becca in so many ways, including some romantically. *wiggles eyebrows*

“One sees a snake, and one is afraid. But snakes are no more frightening than any other beast. A rabbit’s bite might lack lethal poison, but it can be every bit as deep and dangerous as Aegus’s. But one sees something pleasant to the eye, and the fear vanishes, the guard drops. Appearances can be deceiving.”

That’s just one of the many beautiful samples and snippets of Morgan’s writing. The plot was just about perfect, and I would definitely rate it five freaking awesome stars. My heart raced alongside the characters’s, and my mind couldn’t stop fidgeting with everything—I was in love, and that rarely has happened lately. Mixing fantasy with a contemporary, realistic world is one of the best ideas I’ve read in a book in ages. And it came together so smoothly. This was a complete pleasure to read.

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Reading this is something that every lover of any genre will adore: You don’t have to be a hardcore high fantasy fan. To tell you the truth, I never was until I came across of Sarah J. Maas and Morgan’s writing. This lightly touches some genre and hints of romance, but I bet that it wasn’t meant to had. It’s interesting, compelling, and will throw you into a room full of these characters from the first page—that’s how real it feels. I just wish I could take a time portol to Mytica, because I’d rise up on my tippy toes and give a big kiss to Farrell and Maddox, your two new book boyfriends. SEQUEL, I DON’T KNOW IF I COULD WAIT MUCH LONGER. PLEASE ARRIVE BY FEDEX IN TWO DAYS AND I WILL NEVER LEAVE MY HOUSE AGAIN.

dO YOU ENJOY SPINOFFS BY YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHORS? wOULD YOU ENJOY READING ABOUT THE SAME WORLD AGAIN?

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Another Day by David Levithan // A True Memorable Companion

Another Day (Every Day #2), by David Levithan                                                Publication: August 25, 2015, by Alfred A. Knopf BFYR                                                                   Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy                                                     Pages: 300                                                                 Format: ARC                                                               Source: BEA/Publisher                                           Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM½

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

miCHELLE’S tHOUGHTS:

After reading hundreds and hundreds of contemporary romances, I still see David Levithan’s work as something else. And in that sense, his writing means so much to me and every single book of his that I’ve read holds a wide spot in my heart for most meaningful and unique. And especially after adoring Every Day, I’ve been eager for a sequel and now that it has hit me and left me breathless, I’ll definitely call that a true success.

Another Day focused on more of the romance and love story than the first novel did, which I can totally understand. Taken place in Rhiannon’s perspective, there were so many intriguing moments throughout that I could definitely relate to, and even remember from the first novel. But here’s the thing, as was mentioned in David’s letter in this ARC edition, anyone could read this book. Although this wasn’t as perfect as the first book, you could read this as a sequel, or if you’ve never heard of this series and you just want to begin with this one. That’s how awesome David wants to give us this reading experience.

“You know it wasn’t Justin with you that day. In your heart, you know. He didn’t act like Justin. He didn’t do things Justin does. That’s because it was me. I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t mean to fall in love with you. But it happened. And I can’t erase it. I can’t ignore it. I have lived my whole life like this, and you’re the thing that has made me wish it could stop.” (76)

It’s a dark, gloomy read as well. It’s basically everything that happened in the first novel, all in Rhiannon’s view. I loved her in the first book, and kind of also longed for a POV by her, and this was the perfect occasion. I never saw it coming or about to be released, actually. And that cover is TO DIE FOR as well. David sure knows how to make his books look hipster, that’s for sure! You don’t even expect this book to be so great and heart-warming, but it took me for surprise and I just can’t stop fangirling/thinking about it.

I don’t even have to give a summary. It’s a simple yet complex read with a genre of paranormal, mixed in with 90% contemporary-romance. A’s character is Rhiannon’s main focus and she spends most of the novel thinking about him and what their relationship will eventually turn into. The confusion is real, and I totally get why she did the things that she did. I seriously adored this book and everything about it. Can I also note that it was pretty life-changing when I really think about it?

When you deeply, really think about it, this book is for anyone. You can be a guy or a girl, liking the genre or premise or not, and willing to enjoy everything. Life may be depressive and all of that, but you have to focus on the bright things. David couldn’t have said it better, to be honest.

“But that’s not all. Justin loves me and hates me as much as I love him and hate him. I know that. We each have our triggers, and we should never reach in to pull them. But sometimes we can’t help ourselves. We know each other too well, but never well enough.” (2)

This book seriously was fabulous. Everything about it was, including the writing and characters. Although something tiny was missing from it all, I adored it and the book itself made my reading experience feel special. You don’t have to believe in everything, but then again not being naïve, and this is that whole experience full of things that are possible. I wouldn’t even call the book fictional in a way because the concept is possible. It’s beautiful.

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Another Day is a companion novel that’s full of everything that a reader would love in a book: awesome romance, intriguing writing and little hints of something special that Mr. Levithan adds into his writing every single time. Get ready to fall in love with A and Rhiannon all over again, through their interesting adventures that fate put them into, following each other for love. You’ll never want to hear the name “Justin” again, definitely. A is now my favourite letter of the alphabet, and also for the meaning it stands for.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

do a lot of series that you’ve heard of/read have companion novels? what is your opinion of them? are they needed? do you enjoy them more than the first, previous novel? let me know your crazy thoughts, heh. 😉

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