Sunday, March 8, 2015

*YA Fantasy Book Review* Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

Series: Falling Kingdoms # 3
Publisher: Razorbill
Released: December 9, 2014
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

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.

Gathering Darkness is the third installment in the Falling Kingdoms series which apparently will have SIX books. The story is set in what is now Mytica, which is made up of Limeros, Paelsio, & Auranos. King Gaius successfully set out to conquer all of Mytica, now it appears that nothing will stop him from collecting the four elemental crystals (Kindred) that give godlike powers to their owner. But, he is not the only one after the crystals, and this is where this series continues to push forward and excel.

Rhodes adds an even more interesting element to the series in Prince Ashur and his sister Princess Amara from Kraeshia. They would love nothing better than to thwart the blood king, and take the crystals back to their powerful father Emperor Cortas, who already rules most of the world, and would love to add Mytica to his conquests. I will say this, Amara is by far the most interesting and villainous character in this story. She will stop at nothing, including using sex, and stabbing people in the back, to get her way.

Gathering Darkness once again focuses on (4) main characters, and several important secondary ones.

16-year old Princess Cleo, Auranos, watched her kingdom fall to the Blood King, became wife to the arrogant Prince Magnus who has killed everyone she loves. Has not hesitated in her desire for revenge and the taking back her Kingdom. Her goal is simple: find the Kindred and gather their powers before anyone else can get to them. Her game is not a hard one to figure out. Get close to those like Lucia, and perhaps Magnus, and use them to gain access to the Kindred. She also chooses to side with Jonas in her quest for revenge and the crystals.

Jonas Agallon, Paelsio, Rebel Leader with a massive bounty on his head. Jonas is by far the more aggrieved character is this story. He's lost his brother, his homeland, survived numerous attempts on his life while trying to regain what he lost, and is now accused of killing the Queen. Jonas has become an ally of Cleo's and I'm not sure where that angle is going to go but will wait patiently until Rhodes decides to sort things out. Jonas has faced his share of heart break, and betrayal, and has only one real ally to count on in Lysander. One can only hope that he isn't left out in the cold when the dust settles.

Princess Lucia, Limeros, prophesied sorceress who is said to wield the power of the original immortal, Eva. The Watchers, mostly Melenia, want her dead at any cost. Her dream lover, Alexius makes things interesting, and sets a course of action that leads me to believe that Lucia's path is heading towards darkness. She is absolutely brutal, and arrogant like her family. I know we are supposed to feel sorry for her, but at this point, I think that her actions speak louder than any words can ever say.

Prince Magnus, Limeros, Blood Kings heir, married against his desires to Cleo who plots for his demise. His actions have caused Cleo nothing but grief, yet Rhodes apparently wants readers to believe that he's not all that bad and may care for her. His desire to control the Kindred makes him take actions that perhaps goes to show that maybe he has grown up from the callous human being that I loath so much. I don't like the fact that he cheated on Cleo, but one could just scoff at my judgment and say, that's the way it is...get over it!

Other characters involved are Nicolo (Nic) Cassian, and Lysander Barbas who both go through a whole lot of painful moments. Nic is Cleo's friend who was kissed by Prince Ashur and is now confused as to what it means. He's a palace guard, rebel, and really stands out after the 4 main characters. Lysander was captured in the previous installment, and thanks to Jonas and some friends, is saved from being beheaded by King Gaius. Lysander is also a rebel, and one has to ask if Jonas has been looking in all the wrong places for the right person to love.

Let's chat about the romance in this book. Cleo and Magnus started out hating each other. Absolutely understandable that a snake in the grass like Magnus should find himself wandering the halls looking for someone else to lay with, and does. But, Magnus is also a strange and bewildering character in that he keeps saving Cleo's life.

She should be dead many times over but she continues to live and plot to regain her kingdom. How about the kisses? Yes, I said kisses. Cleo & Jonas who I like together. Cleo & Magnus who really confuse me. Jonas & Lysander which actually makes lots of sense. Oh, yes, let's not forget Lucia and Alexius who gives up his immortality for her. I don't know where this merry go round is going to stop, but I do hope it doesn't drag out forever.

Gathering Darkness is a story filled with betrayal after betrayal, heart break, twists, turns, and shocking revelations. It also ends on a whale of a cliffhanger. If you are tempted, Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms # 4) is set to be released later this year (2015). If you don't want to be spoiled at what Rhodes has up her sleeves next, don't peek at the synopsis!

Other Books in this Series:

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