by Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #3
Published on December 9, 2014 by Razorbill
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Love, vengeance, and greed spark a deadly quest for magic in the third book of the Falling Kingdoms series
Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred—the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic. . . .
THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.
THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic—all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.
THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.
The only certainty in these dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica. . . . but the four element gods of the Kindred have other plans.
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It’s that time in the series where the plot either needs to really drive it home or flounder and fail. I’m happy to report that Gathering Darkness brought its A-game. I’ve kept with this series so far with the hopes that Rhodes would stop with the predictable fantasy deal and bring something new to the field. Not only was this book a vast improvement of the first two books but now I want to read the next book instead of feeling obligated because of my completionist nature.
Best part of GD? Backstory! I read fantasy for the world-building, the intricacies that make fiction a reality of the mind. For two books I’ve waited for this moment and finally Rhodes supplied the history of the Kindred and brought them into the plot as more than just legends. And there was magic! More than Lucia’s extreme bouts of elemental disasters. I’m a sucker for magic.
Like in the past couple books, the characters once again stole the show. Cleo has become my favorite character by far. Of all four, she’s not only shown the most change and development but also comes off as a realistic person who makes mistakes and deals with them. I don’t know how I feel about her and Magnus married, however. Their romance is a tad…off. I’m hoping that by the end of the series, they don’t end up together but have a healthy friendship, but I do prefer them over the Cleo/Jonas and Magnus/Lucia pairings (never been a fan of either one). Plus, Magnus finally stood up for himself and defied his father so brownie points to him.
No, I don’t ship them, but I do think that both have grown significantly since the beginning and are the shining stars of this series.
I hate Jonas. At first, I thought he wasn’t too bad but each book I read, I dislike him more. You’re not a god, you’re irrational, so stop trying to fix everything when all you do is get people killed. And Lucia is right up there with him. Spoiled brat. “Woe is me, my life is so terrible.” Just stop. Please.
Gathering Darkness also gave the foreign Kraeshians, siblings Amara and Ashur, a larger role. Their empire across the sea is looking to expand and has its eye on the kingdoms. Ashur is truly the master manipulator, and his sister is worse. Keep an eye on these two. Truly villainous.
Now I know there are six books planned for the series, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work. Gathering Darkness gave off the “climax before the finale” vibe for this series, like it should end with the next book. It’s the same feeling I had from reading City of Glass from the Mortal Instruments series (and the following books were never as good as the first three).
If you lost faith in the series before, never fear! It will be renewed and then some with Gathering Darkness so don’t delay in reading it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy Frozen Tides became amazing series + 2-day shipping = dangerous book-buying territory.