Time for the review of Morgan Rhodes’s third Falling Kingdoms book, Gathering Darkness. I adore this series, and each one keeps getting better than the last. Less deaths in this one, but so much happens that’s absolutely amazing. I cannot wait to see where the story goes!
Here’s the official blurb:
War brought them together. Love will tear them apart.Alliances form across Mytica and beyond as royals and rebels alike race to hunt down the Kindred—the four elemental crystals that give their owners god-like power. The stakes have never been higher for Magnus and Cleo, who are brought together by a life or death decision that will lock their fates and change the course of the kingdom forever.THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo slays with sweetness—and a secret that might control Lucia’s magic—as she and vengeful Jonas lead the hunt for the all-powerful Kindred.THE KRAESHIANS join the fray. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the vast kingdom across the Silver Sea, prove to be just as ruthless as they are charming as they manipulate their way to victory.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.And which side will Prince Magnus choose, now that he’s been betrayed by everyone he’s ever loved?
Okay, so, this book starts off moving and doesn’t really stop the whole time. Each chapter is so jam-packed with so much info and interesting things that it was pretty much impossible to put down. Before I continue I want to remind everyone that my thoughts will be spoilery!
Here are some of the crucial things that happen in Gathering Darkness:
The foreign prince Ashur’s sister Amara comes and joins him from across the sea. She’s gorgeous and very direct, and admits that they’re both looking for the Kindred. Things hit the fan as the story progresses, and Amara is scary, though Ashur proves to be a good guy at the end. And he ends up falling for Nic, Cleo’s best friend. It was surprising and wonderful.
Alexius gives up his immortality (granted, against his will, but still) and comes to tutor Lucia with the King’s blessing. He really does love her, and though he’s under the control of Melenia, in the end he stays true to his heart.
Cleo gets in Lucia’s good graces once she figures out that Lucia is the sorcerous. At first it was so she could eventually get her hands on the Kindred to help her get her throne back, but she comes to care for her. But once Lucia finds out Cleo had other motives, she loses it and almost kills her with her magic.
The Kindred are finally revealed! All four are out in the world by the end of the book, and a good portion of the book is spent getting them. Jonas and Cleo work together, and Jonas ends up getting two of the four (though he tried for the third but was too late). By the end all four are in different places, and I cannot wait to see what happens. Jonas also has some trouble with a new friend who used to work for the king but has set his life straight. Jonas betrays him, so he takes the air Kindred, leaving the earth Kindred with Jonas.
There are a few really big things that happened by the end. We find out that the Kindred are actually trapped spirits that embody each element. At the start of the book the fire god wakes up, and he’s basically a hard-core badass. It seems like he’s a big baddie, but how it pans out will be interesting to see.
There are a few major deaths. First, Alexius kills himself. He’s under the spell of Melenia to kill Lucia, but even though he stabs her to spill her powerful blood and release the last Kindred, he takes his own life to stop himself from ending the life of the woman he loves. It’s powerful and sad, and I’m really worried about Lucia’s mental state after this. Also, Amara kills her brother Ashur for going behind her back and helping Nic to beat her to the water Kindred. But once he’s dead she takes it leaves. These are both pretty important, but the biggest surprise was that Lucia ends up killing Melenia. With Alexius’s dying words he tells her what to do, and she goes to a cliff where Melenia meets her. But she summoned the fire god, who we find out Melenia’s been obsessively in love with for a thousand years (he’s the reason she’s doing all of this). She loves him, but he hates her, and after Lucia uses her magic to drain Melenia’s power and make her temporarily mortal, he tells Lucia to stab her, and she does, killing her.
Then there’s Magnus. I cannot communicate to you how much I adore his character. He’s so damaged, so messed up, and yet the sliver of goodness in him won’t go away. He kills the head of his father’s guard to save Cleo from execution, and sneaks her out of prision. They head off after Lucia and Alexis after they run away together, and while on the road he reveals to Cleo that she’s the only light in his dark life. And they have a hooooooot kiss. His last thoughts in the book is him realizing that he’s in love with Cleo.
So where are we with each of the major characters going into book four?
Cleo: She’s determined to get the Kindred still, and is heading after Amara to retrieve the water Kindred. She’s hoping Jonas has the other three, so finding out he only has one will be really interesting. She also seems to be feeling some things for Magnus, which is super interesting, since she made out with Jonas and they seem to have a connection, and also since she can never forgive Magnus for killing Theon. I have hope for them though.
Jonas: He spent Gathering Darkness rescuing his friend Lysandra from prison, with the help of mysterious badass Felix. The two of them help Jonas look for the earth, air and fire Kindred, and at the end, after Jonas betrays Felix as a friend, he’s left with only one. He really needs to redeem himself, Felix seemed like a good guy. He also seems to be developing some feelings for Lysandra, which would be a pretty good fit. We’ll see what becomes of the rebels; one thing’s for sure, they’re not done yet!
Magnus: Man, he’s in all sorts of trouble. His father will never trust him again for killing the captain of the guard. He’s fallen for Cleo. He wants the Kindred, which is going to cause major strife between him and Cleo. And he’s also worried about his sister. He’s also working through some feelings for her still, but at one point it was reflected that he only fell for Lucia because she was the only one who showed him any love. I have serious hope for him and Cleo. They’ll get there, if they can both get over themselves. If Cleo can move past him killing Theon, he can move past her being the enemy. He also needs to stop Amara and the foreign queen. Lots on his plate.
Lucia: At the end of the book the fire Kindred asks Lucia to help him be completely free, and she agrees. It was really hard watching her cross that line, but she felt like she had nothing left. I’m really worried about her. It’s like an Anakin Skywalker moment, where you cross to the dark side, and I fear that the magic is too powerful for her to truly return. It really pains me to see such a sweet character break down into evil. I hoped Cleo’s ring would help her, but at this point I’m not sure anything can. We shall see if she’s able to be saved.
Whew! That’s a WHOLE bunch of stuff. And the story’s not done yet! Book four, Frozen Tides is due out at the end of the year, and it seems like there will be a few more after, so we’re not even close to the end, which is awesome. Also, to hold us over until December there’s a break-off series that takes place in both the world of Mytica and the modern wold. The first book, A Book of Spirits and Thieves, is due out in June. So if you’re as in love with the world of Mytica as I am, you’ll only have to wait six months between the two series.
Stay tuned, tomorrow we’re doing an exclusive interview with Morgan, and there will be an awesome giveaway. Don’t forget to send your questions to us!