Falling Kingdoms is the eponymous first novel of the Falling Kingdoms Series.
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 realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword....
PRAISE for the FALLING KINGDOMS series:
"Morgan Rhodes has created a rich, living fantasy world and characters that immediately draw the reader in. This is one of those series you can't help but be obsessed with. I can't wait to see what happens next!" —Richelle Mead, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Vampire Academy and The Glittering Court
“An otherworldly epic...evocative and intricate.”—Publishers Weekly
“…You must have this book on your shelves.” —Bustle
“Falling Kingdoms is a superbly written and character-driven narrative.” —Bookpage
“[A] YA Game of Thrones full of intrigue, betrayal, lies and love.” —The Guardian
"Falling Kingdoms will gut you emotionally. It will make you ache, cry, and beg for the sequel as you turn the last page. I absolutely loved it." —Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Queen
“In this Game of Thrones-esque high fantasy, Rhodes has created a world that’s raging with war, deceit, spoiled royals, and a populous needing little to spark a revolution.” —NPR/WAMC’s The Roundtable
"From an opening dripping with blood, magic, and betrayal through complex interweaving plots detailing treachery, deceit, and forbidden love, this novel is the first in a projected series that will immediately engage readers and keep them intrigued.” —Booklist
This is a spoiler-filled section. It is meant to be used more as a reference for those who have already read the book and desire a refresher on the story line or need the information for some other means. By no means is this meant to be an alternative to reading the book. The book is infinitely more complex and its majesty cannot be captured in a simple, short summary. The book is excellent. If you haven't already, go read it.
Princess Cleiona Bellos is a sassy, brave young princess who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when her “friend”, Aron Lagaris, lets his temper and pride get the best of him, resulting in the death of a poor wine merchant’s son.
Lucia Damora is a princess, but not by blood. She was stolen from her cradle by a pair of witches who sought to raise the child whom they believed would be the most powerful sorceress the three Mytican kingdoms have ever known.
Jonas Agallon is the brother of Tomas, the young man murdered by Lord Aron on that fateful afternoon in Paelsia. He seeks revenge and possibly a revolution that will change the lives of his impoverished countrymen forever.
Cleo manages to escape her guards with the help of her best friend Nic Cassian. She plans to travel back to Paelsia in search of grape seeds infused with Earth Magic. She hopes that the stories are true and that these seeds will save her sister Emilia who is gravely ill with a mysterious disease.
While in Paelsia, Cleo & Nic are taken in by an elderly merchant woman named Eirene. She beds them for the night and tells them a magical story of the first Watchers of the land. Apparently, a long long time ago, a Watcher named Eva fell in love with a lowly human hunter. She was the most powerful of all the Watchers (sorcerers who live in an alternative realm known as the Sanctuary). She bore his child, but her elder sisters were jealous and they threatened the child’s life if Eva did not surrender, to them, the all-powerful Kindred. Eva brought the Kindred to her sisters within the mortal realm but the sisters could never return to their home in the Sanctuary for which they were extremely angered leading to the death of Eva. The sisters ended up turning on each other as well but the hunter was there to pick up the pieces of the Kindred and hide them so not to corrupt anyone else. They have been missing ever since.
This story renews Cleo’s hope in magic and salvation for her sister.
Unfortunately, word travels that the beautiful princess is staying in Paelsia and Jonas goes to check for himself.
Meanwhile, Lucia’s powers are growing. She wants to hide them away because she is fearful that her father or someone else will punish her for being labeled a witch.
Eventually she tells her brother Magnus and the two practice in secret. This secret lasts for all of a hot second because both Magnus’ father and his mistress, Sabina Mallius, have been patiently waiting for sixteeen years for Lucia’s powers to show. Sabina corners Magnus, promising him sexy times if he will rat out his sister. Magnus refuses, but Lucia walks in on this awkward moment and reveals her powers, burning Sabina to a crisp.
King Gaius is thrilled with his daughter’s new powers. He plans on using them to his advantage in battle against Auranos. He has already made a blood pact with the Chief of Paelsia, Hugo Basilius, and together they intend to storm the Auranian castle and claim the kingdom as their own, splitting it down the middle.
Back in Paelsia, Jonas kidnaps Cleo and imprisons her in his sister’s shed. Cleo eventually escapes with the help of her trusty (and hunky) guard, Theon Ranus. She, Nic and Theon head back toward the docks and Auranos. But just as she and Theon are expressing their hidden love for each other, Prince Magnus shows up to take Cleo back to Limeros for ransom. Theon manages to kill two of the Limeran guards but is mortally stabbed in the back by Magnus, much to Cleo’s horror. Cleo narrowly escapes Magnus’ grasp with the help of Nic and returns to Auranos heartbroken.
Magnus returns to Limeros, tail between his legs, fully expecting the wrath of his father. But his father is so consumed with the upcoming war and the newly formed powers of his daughter that he barely remarks on Magnus’ failings. Magnus is comforted in his self-loathing by his sister Lucia. He takes this intimate moment to finally tell Lucia how he feels about her. Lucia does NOT reciprocate his feelings even though Magnus attempts to convince her it isn’t wrong since they are not actually blood related. She runs from the room totally creeped out and Magnus continues his pity party.
Cleo’s return to Auranos is met with vague anger from her father who is still very concerned for her well being but loves her none the less. Emilia is still in grave danger of succumbing to her illness but the two sisters still share some touching bonding moments together.
The Limeran and Paelsian forces march on Auranos. Jonas is among the troops but he has begun to question the motives of King Gaius of Limeros as well as the aloof Chief Basilius.
The battle is ferocious. Hundreds perish. Magnus is gravely injured but healed with the Earth Magic his sister Lucia possesses. It is also with Lucia’s precious magic that the forces are able to blast through the enchanted gates of Auranos and seize the castle.
During the battle, Emilia succumbs to her illness. Cleo attempts to save her using the magic seeds gifted to her by the merchant woman of Paelsia (secretly an exiled Watcher), but it is too late.
When the palace walls are breached, Cleo and Nic run to find his sister Mira, they run into Prince Magnus who again fails to capture Cleo (she runs). Cleo finds her father who gifts Cleo with a special ring (Eva the Watcher’s ring. Cleo is a descendant of the hunter, and the ring should give her power to hold the Kindred without being overwhelmed with its powers). King Corvin then dies in Cleo’s arms.
Once the palace walls are breached, the Auranian forces are overwhelmed and must surrender. King Gaius and Chief Basilius discuss splitting the land 50/50 but King Gaius has different plans. He slits the Chief’s throat. The Limerian king moves into the palace with his family. Lucia has still not awoken from the coma she was put in after using such great force in opening the palace gate. Cleo somehow escaped the palace but waits outside in secret with the masses to hear King Gaius address his new people. She is given a cryptic message from Jonas telling her to be prepared for a rebellion and is unfortunately finally captured by Prince Magnus.
This summary comes from the website "Recaptains", the link for which is includes below, and was written by Katie Fatiga. It has been slightly edited and links have been added, but most of the original script remains.