“…there was no such thing as “safe” in Mytica anymore.”
Falling Kingdoms is a series I’ve been into for a very long time now. It has had its highs, and has had its lows, but overall I’ve always liked the series. Magnus Damora is one of my favorite characters in all of literature, and I will read anything where he makes an appearance. This series follows his point of view, and a few others, while they are first trying to reclaim kingdoms and then they are eventually trying to just save their world as they know it.
I didn’t love the previous book, Crystal Storm, but I five starred the two before that and hailed them as perfection. This originally was set to only be five books, so I assumed that maybe Crystal Storm was just a filler book and that we’d end up with this glorious and perfect concluding novel. I was wrong.
Instead I got 100 cases of deus ex machina, unnecessary angst, forced relationships, abuse apologists, possible queer baiting, and a weak conclusion to a series I used love. I was originally so excited to just be back in this world, but the more I think about the contents of this book, the more disappointed I get.
Also, I know this review is on the negative side, and I’m sorry, I truly am. Trust me, I didn’t want to feel like this or have to write a review like this. It doesn’t bring me joy to drag the concluding book to a series that I’ve been very invested it. But these are my honest opinions, and I hope you respect them, like I do yours. Don’t start fighting in my comments, because I’m not here to fight and I will just delete, block, and move on. But make sure you go read my friend Wren’s amazing review, because 1.) I love her and 2.) I buddy read this with her and she enjoyed it more than me.
The rest of my review will have spoilers for the entire series AND for Immortal Reign! Please use caution while reading, or do not read this until you have finished this book! This is the final book in this series, even though we already have a spinoff, and this book for sure leaves a lot of possibilities for even more spinoffs, so I feel like I just want to do an in-depth look at everything, and I can’t do that without touching on some major plot points.
And I thought we were going to stop glorifying abusive parents in 2018? No? Apparently not, because King Gaius has only done every shitty thing in the world for the last five books. He constantly has displayed how mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive of a parent he is, over and over. But we are supposed to encourage Magnus to love him and call him brave for it, while making all the excuses under the sun? Like, I’ll be over here throwing up. Miss me with all this abuse apologist shit, please, because I’ll never be here for it.
And speaking of abuse, Lucia is such a terrible character too. I mean, it is no secret that I haven’t loved her throughout the series, but this book was actually over the top. Her being abusive to Jonah actually sickened me. And she wants to pretend she’s a selfless mom after the shit she said to an innocent baby? And like, maybe after your child was almost abducted once you’d learn to keep her with you, instead of pawning her off on another defenseless nursemaid? Seriously, the climax of this book was a damn joke, and it was 100% because of Lucia’s actions. I touched above about the deus ex machina, but the way she handled everything regarding her conveniently missing daughter was eyeroll-worthy. Like, you’re seriously about ruin the world before you even have confirmation that an immortal has your daughter? What a fresh, hot mess.
And the other big deus ex machina moments were from (it pains me to say this) Magnus and his magical, fix all, bloodstone ring. Like, when it healed him from being tortured, and allowed him to Uma Thurman/Kill Bill his way out of the grave, it was fine. But then, it just became such a redundant, fix all, and I hated it. Also, Kurtis had to be one of the worst villains I’ve ever read about.
Please don’t even get me started on the convenient way to fix everything with the orbs. Like, I honestly am at a loss for words. But please, allow me to once again scream “deus ex machina” at the top of my lungs.
And the ending with Amara really made me upset. I love and am happy that we get to see a bisexual, Nic, and a gay man, Ashur, be together and happy. But I get to live my life not knowing if Amara is queer or not? Write it on page, you cowards, or don’t fucking hint at it. I’m so sick of this, and even though I want to believe that Amara’s ending leaves her happy, exploring the world with a female lover, I will never know because it’s only hinted at a few times. Stop doing this shit. Give the rep, or don’t, but don’t tiptoe around it.
And the ending in general… I know I sound terrible for saying this, but it was too damn happy and easy. There needed to be so much more heartfelt emotions. There needed to be so much more action, where I actually felt scared for these characters that I’ve been invested in for years. There needed to be so much more death. People hail this as the ASOIAF for YA, but you know what GRRM isn’t scared to do? Kill our favorite characters. Too clean, too simple, too unsatisfying.
Overall, I just feel disappointed. I wish I wouldn’t have invested so much of my time with this series. I mean, maybe it is me and maybe I just grew out of this? I mean, I do notice myself more and more critical of YA fantasy. Yet, I still think this was a really weak conclusion. But I’m not exaggerating when I stay that Magnus Damora is one of my all time favorite characters in literature, still. And you know what he deserved? A better damn conclusion.
Buddy read with Wren! ❤