Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes, Michelle Rowen

There is so much going on in this book! What a journey. There are three different kingdoms and four main characters that we jump back and forth between.

Kingdom of Auranos: Princess Cleo is the youngest daughter. She is spoiled, stubborn, a bit immature and engaged to a vile little drunk. While journeying through the kingdom of Paelsia, Cleo's fiance becomes the spark that ignites the war by murdering an innocent peasant. I didn't care much for Cleo at first, but she suffers and loses so much that by the end of the book I couldn't help but feel for her. She is forced to grow and find the strength to go on and I want very much to see her succeed.

Kingdom of Paelsia: The poor and desolate Paelsia is located between Auranos and Limeros. The people barely have enough to eat and survive. The neighboring kingdoms never once offered them any assistance, but when Limeros offers to join with them to bring Auranos to its knees, Paelsia is all too eager to accept. Jonas, the brother of the murdered peasant is intent on seeking vengeance. He soon finds himself fighting in the war to take down Auranos, Cleo and the man that murdered his brother.

Kingdom of Limeros: Magnus is the prince of Limeros and the son of King Gaius, the cruel and bloodthirsty king. Prince Magnus is an interesting character. He falls in love with his sister, though she's not his sister by blood, they were raised together and she does not return his feelings. His father is a tyrant and terrible all around human being. Despite being very much like his father, I think he may have some redeeming qualities. He has so much going against him, yet he still shows kindness in unexpected ways. I have a lot of mixed feelings toward Magnus. His sister, Lucia, is the princess of Limeros, a child of prophecy who may become a great sorceress. She discovers that everything she thought she knew about herself was a lie.

This story is full of action, forbidden love, betrayal, heartbreak, magic. This book made me feel so many emotions, from anger to shock to sadness, and there is no shortage of unexpected deaths. Authors like Rhodes make me very nervous because no one is off limits. There are so many characters I care about and I don't want to see die, both major and minor. This is the start of what I feel is going to be a pretty amazing series!