Sunday, March 30, 2014

Find the Rebel Within

Three small kingdoms all together could not possibly be more different. Neither could the people they produce. Despite their differences, Cleo, Jonas, Magnus, and Lucia all play a part in the story of magic and rebellion in the second book of Morgan Rhodes' Fallen Kingdom Series: Rebel Spring

Cleo has watched all of her family destroyed and King Gaius has conquered her kingdom. Now, the three separate kingdoms have been merged into one, Mytica, under Gaius' control. He is determined to win over her people with ease rather than force, and isn't afraid to use her to get what he wants. When he announces she is no longer betrothed to Lord Aron, and will instead marry Gaius' son Magnus, Cleo can't imagine a more despicable husband than the man who killed the stableboy she had fallen in love with. For Magnus, who always does as his father tells him to, he knows he can't have who he truly loves, his adopted sister Lucia, so marrying Cleo is no more distasteful than anyone else he would have to marry. 

Meanwhile, Jonas is created a rebel army to fight again Gaius and reclaim their kingdom. Unfortunately, he is having trouble getting many people to join a cause that will most likely get them killed, especially when the king seems to be making improvements to their lives, like a road that connects the former three kingdoms. While he isn't gaining rebels in droves, he certainly has a faithful few who want nothing more than to punish the new king. When they realize their small numbers need a large-scale action to take the king down, they really believe Cleo is the key to their success. All this takes place with Lucia, the hidden sorceress still in a coma after performing the magic her adoptive father called upon her for. But there is more to these four individuals than their individual hopes, desires, and vengeances. From vastly different backgrounds, they might have more in common than they ever thought possible. 

I loved the first book in the series, and I really enjoyed this one too, but it certainly had a few slow parts that dragged a bit. I remember devouring the first book, but it wasn't difficult to put this one down here and there. While I still really liked it, that difference was pretty noticeable. There are a lot of hidden plot lines that haven't been fully realized even by the end of this second book, like the Watchers and the Kindred. While I have an idea, I think I have more questions than answers at this point. That isn't always pleasurable when you are 2/3 of the way through a trilogy, and I know it tends to lose my less focused readers pretty easily. Still, the story was pretty great, with those unanswered questions aside, and I couldn't help but get excited for the upcoming conclusion. 

In the first book, Cleo and Jonas were the most intriguing characters for me, but there is something interesting about Magnus that I wanted to see more of. Is he despicable? Or just misunderstood? And the whole story of Lucia and the Watchers was unfortunately a little too confused for me, but Magnus was certainly the one who held my attention the most. The most interesting this about the entire story is how the magic is the entire focus of the series, yet it is always on the periphery. It brings this element of fantasy and mystery into the boundaries of the story and teases you along. That could either be fun or maddening depending on how you thought about it. I liked it, but I can imagine others who wouldn't!

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