Book Review: Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) by Morgan Rhodes
Warning: this review contains spoilers for Falling Kingdoms
Morgan Rhodes’ fantastic Falling Kingdoms initiated us into a new fantasy world that reads like a junior, more digestible Game of Thrones, complete with divided kingdoms, bitter rivalries and ruthless royals. Its sequel, Rebel Spring, builds on that base story marvelously, developing the four central characters even further, and giving us much more emotion and action to sink our teeth into.
While the political machinations and magic are thrilling to read about, it the characters that make this series so addictive. I barreled right through the pages, hoping for luck and magical intervention to protect my favorite characters, and hoping a horrifying death would befall the characters I’ve developed a fiery, almost nuclear hatred for (King Gaius and Aron, I’m looking at you). Rhodes writes characters so well, I somehow don’t mind at all that the novel is divided into multiple POV’s. Normally that method of storytelling doesn’t work for me, but here it is done with such a balanced hand that I actually quite enjoyed it.
The Fab Four (why I’m addicted to the Falling Kingdoms series):
Oh, Magnus. My love for you is complicated and fierce and slightly icky feeling. You did, after all, commit an unforgivable act of cold-blooded backstabbing murder in Falling Kingdoms. But something about your slightly creepy devotion to your sister Lucia and your hostile brand of chivalry towards Cleo in Rebel Spring has me hanging on your every word, dreamily sighing. I know you don’t really want to be like your tyrant father—I can tell in the disapproving faces you make he squashes his subjects like pesky bugs beneath his boot. This could become full blown long term book boyfriend love if you would only stand up to your father, free Cleo, get over your sister and have a makeout sesh with someone (preferably one that isn’t brought on by a cheering crowd).
Cleo, I love how you’re a wolf in princess’s clothing. It’s just a matter of time before you figure out a way to manipulate what little power you have and wrest Auranos back from the grubby paws of King Gaius. But seriously, how are you functioning after the trauma of book one? You’d be well within your rights to curl up on the nearest mattress and check out for awhile, but instead you play King Gaius’ game like some kind of MI5/CIA double agent.
Speaking of curling up on a mattress and checking out for awhile…Lucia, you were sorely missed throughout much of this book. And when you did wake up and join the story, well, you were kind of scary. Not sure I’m going to be Team Lucia if it should come down to you vs. anyone, with that attitude, young lady.
Jonas, I love how strong your principles are—you’re dedicated to vengeance on all those who wronged you and your brother….unless they’re cute and might want to kiss you, then that plan’s shot to hell. Blood is thicker than water, but not hormones apparently. It seems like you’re not sure whether to cozy up to the princess or your newfound rebel friend Lysandra. Um hello, no brainer! Lysandra is rather Katniss like, so she’s a great partner for rebel living in the woods, plus she challenges you at every turn. Must I always play match maker? Anyway, you have bigger problems than romance, like the fact that you continually dart head first into danger and nearly lose your head in the process. You need to cool it with the impulsive rebel attacks if you want to live to see future books.
Rebel Spring is a stronger book than Falling Kingdoms, and it gives us deeper insight into characters, good, bad and in between. The only downside I can really find with this installment (aside from the fact that, as a middle book, it naturally leaves us hanging slightly plotwise, though I wouldn’t say it’s a cliffie) is that there is a lot of romantic angst. I’m not talking traditional love triangles either, just sort of throwing people up against each other in desperate circumstances in many different configurations. I have NO idea who is going to end up with who, mostly because I’m pretty sure some of them won’t live to see the end of this series, so I’m not actually bothered too much by it. It helps that I’m invested in multiple romances, and would be ok with many different outcomes. But if you are die-hard shipping one pairing, you might be anxious after reading Rebel Spring.