* * * * *
I jumped into this book so quickly because they are so damn addictive!
Rebel Spring is the second book in the Falling Kingdoms series and I would describe this series as a blend of Game of Thrones, Throne of Glass and Poison Study. So much happens in each of these books and, while there are a few relationship flaws in my opinion, the plot is addictive and the characters are amazing!
They're such quick reads because you never want to put them down and they have that great element of the fantasy genre where everything is so beautiful intricate and complex. A must-read for fantasy lovers.
Falling Kingdoms Book Talk
SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD
Cleo and Magnus remained my favourite characters (I love them even more now) because I still find them the most interesting and entertaining to follow. Sorry, Lucia and Jonas, but you're miles behind the others protagonists.
We started the book being introduced to Lysandra. Her village gets attacked and her brother is taken. She manages to escape and is desperate to become a rebel. I don't mind Lys generally, but she can sometimes be a bit full on and whiny. I will say that she's a brilliantly strong character that we needed. Cleo and Lucia are both strong, don't get me wrong, but more mentally- Lys is the kick-ass female character we've been missing with super Katniss vibes due to her archery skill.
Over with the actual rebels, Jonas and Brion went into the thick of Auranos to watch a beheading of found rebels. King Gaius made a speech and we were quickly introduced to his plans of making the Imperial Road. This was our main plot line throughout the book and I couldn't help but feel a tiny bit underwhelmed because... it's a road. Obviously, it plays a much bigger role but... a road?
Jonas and Brion witnessed the announcement of Magnus and Cleo's engagement which had me gasping out loud!! I don't know why I was surprised because it was such a King Gaius thing to do. The guy may cruel but he's damn smart. I thought for a second that the marriage might be cancelled because Aron stuck his foot in it by revealing that Cleo wasn't a virgin but... it was actually quite funny because Aron ended up looking like an idiot and I'm all for anything that makes him look stupid. I do think it's a bit hypocritical that there was a big fuss over Cleo's purity when Magnus isn't even a virgin either so.... double standards.
Lucia ends up in the Sanctuary due to a dream-like state that Alexius pulls her into. I'll be honest, these were the chapters I skimmed over (anything to do with the Sanctuary) but I'll cover it anyway. Alexius tells her more about the prophecy surrounding her and they fall in love! I'll be the first to say that this love was Way. Too. Quick. They'd only met roughly six times before confessing their feelings? The problem is, we didn't get to see them properly bond or their relationship development which meant it felt like one page they were strangers and the next page they were in love. I see Lucia as a very naive person and her love for Alexius felt a too quick, childish and fickle. Sorry.
We then have Lys find Jonas and Brion and wheedle her way into the rebel group! I did find it hard to believe why Jonas was so hesitant to let her join- she'd literally just saved their lives from Limerian guards and... they're reluctant to let her join the resistance because she a girl?!? I hadn't realised Jonas was so sexist! But that didn't stop Lys and she breaks them down eventually.
Jonas tries to recruit Cleo as a spy against the King but, after that fails, him, Brion and Lys go to an Imperial Road construction site to see for themselves the torture that King Gaius is putting them through. It all gets a bit weird when a tornado comes in randomly but... I skimmed over that section to be honest- I was waiting for another Magnus or Cleo chapter.
We had some chapters in King Gaius' perspective in this book which I really liked- it was interesting to get inside his head, if only for mere moments. We officially meet Gaius' new adviser, Melenia, in a dream state of the Sanctuary like we had before with Lucia and Alexius. Melenia tells Gaius of the prophecy and we find out she's controlling his search for the Kindred. I found it really interesting that a character as power-hungry and dominant as Gaius is always being influenced by women- first Sabina and now Melenia. He claims to be in charge and to have the control but every decision he makes is that of a woman. I just found that interesting... I analyse everything I read- I can't help it.
Melenia talked of an immortal king and goddess but I can't help but wonder if that will truly be Gaius and her... maybe Magnus and Cleo could fit this prophecy... somehow?
Meanwhile, Jonas kidnaps Cleo during her dress fitting and it puts Gaius' guards to shame! How the heck did the rebels manage to waltz in and take Cleo? Jonas takes her back to the camp and I absolutely bloody loved the interaction between Lys and Cleo! It was such an intense meeting and I loved how Cleo put Lys in her place- how she's actually known just as much (if not more) pain than anyone and how she wants Gaius dead just as much as anyone. Honestly, if Lys and Cleo ever allied together, everyone better watch out!
Meanwhile, in Auranos, Gaius kills Mira for over-hearing his conversation with Magnus about Melenia, the Kindred and the prophecy. Why does everyone keep killing people that Cleo loves?! It truly struck me just how many characters we've lost and how anyone can die. Intense, I know.
Magnus goes to visit Lucia only to find her waking up. But Queen Althea fixes that soon enough when we find out she's been poisoning Lucia to keep her asleep. I understand her reasons for doing this... she's just a bitch, isn't she?
In the Wildlands, the rebels get attacked by Gaius' forces and they're forced to flee. Cleo and Jonas escape together and hide away together. And then... they kiss. I don't know exactly how I feel about this. I feel like some of the romantic relationships in these books are a little quick and don't last long. While I quite like the idea of Cleo and Jonas together, I don't think they're endgame and can't bring myself to truly ship them. It felt a little forced and just happened for the sake of it. Honestly, every single character in these books pawn over the first person they meet- they freaking end up loving anyone their paths cross with! It's a little unrealistic.
Nevertheless, they do end up doing something productive- setting up a plan to kill Magnus and Gaius on Cleo's wedding day. While this a very ambitious plan... it was a little optimistic. I think Jonas sometimes overestimates his rebels and underestimates Gaius. Even Lys and Brion thought it was a stupid plan but does stubborn little Jonas listen? No. Of course he doesn't.
We switch to a chapter in Althea's perspective and I wasn't at all bothered when she was killed. She totally deserved it but it did pose the question of who actually killed her. I didn't believe it was Jonas for a second. Magnus mourns the death of his mother (Gods know why) and, with Cleo back, she tries to comfort him but he refuses. I loved every Cleo/Magnus interaction because the emotion and intensity is so compelling to read.
We also follow Alexius and it turns out he's working with Melenia! We discover the true plans for Lucia- that she has to die as a sacrifice to find the Kindred. Poor Alexius' sure regretting his decision to side with Melenia now...
And then, the wedding was finally among us. The rebels made their move and... it was a crappy one to say the least. Why the heck didn't they kill Magnus immediately!! (Not that I want Magnus to die). But Jonas took so long talking and being cocky that he allowed the king to overpower the rebels. What an imbecile!
And yet, Jonas is the only one that manages to escape! Go figure.
Once the rebels fail, Cleo was forced to continue the marriage with Mangus and... this scene was so raw and intense! Cleo has been so good about talking her way out of things but this time it just wasn't good enough. I was fuming when Gaius kept beating her and it was awful to watch her stutter through those wedding vows. She's truly been through way too much.
During the wedding feast, we had Prince Ashur give Cleo a golden dagger as a gift- either to use on Magnus or herself. I'm not sure how I feel about Ashur just yet. He's seems okay but he hasn't earned my trust yet.
Magnus easily finds and takes the dagger off of her that evening but I knew he wouldn't rape her. While Magnus pretends he's like his father, he's so completely different. I knew he wouldn't abuse Cleo- that much was obvious.
Jonas returns to the rebel camp and after a little fight, Brion comments that Lys is in love with Jonas and, at this point, I'm rolling my eyes like 'come on!' Why is everyone in love with everyone just on principle? I have yet to see a bond and a relationship that actually evokes a feeling of love. I think the writing for this is a little lazy- we're told they're in love but not shown it- I've seen nothing to prove it other than an appreciation of looks.
When the tour finishes, Magnus heads straight out to search for Jonas- convinced that he was the one to kill his mother. They quickly find Brion and the little dipshit Aron kills him!!! Man, I hated Aron- he didn't die soon enough. I really liked Brion....
After seeing this murder, Jonas and Lys plan to ambush Magnus on his search for Xanthus at his father's request.
Back with Lucia, it's pretty clear she's woken up heartless and more than a little crazy. Her magic consuming her occurred so rapidly but it at least makes her more interesting. Lucia and Cleo finally meet and it's such a great interaction! They clearly hate each other from the beginning and their shared quips were so entertaining. Their conversation was also tense because they're both hiding something! But I loved their mirrored excuses- 'a trick of the light, I'm sure. Nothing more.'
We then cut to a scene with Nic and Ashur and... it was all so out of the blue it shocked me! Nic had been drowning his sorrows in alcohol over a refusal from Cleo to run away and the mind-boggling reveal that the Kindred and Watchers are real. And then, prince Ashur pops in to try and get all this information! And then, out of nowhere, he kisses Nic! And I am way more excited about this ship than any other! What a great turn of events!
Meanwhile, Magnus, after suspecting his mother's true murderer, manages to get Aron to admit he killed her after orders from the King. And then Magnus kills him which made me feel so victorious!! Aron had survived for way too damn long- he deserved to die. And I also loved that this revelation has made Magnus change his way- he no longer wants to be like his father and I've been waiting for him to show his true colours for so long! I'm so excited to see where his own decisions take him now that he's no longer pretending to be something he's not.
And then, the final chunk of the book commenced. It all happened so hard and fast and I'm still rolling everything over in my head. The rebels attacked and pretty much failed which has to be a recurring theme in any of their endeavours... Jonas is killed but Phaedra (the Watcher that had been keeping tabs on Jonas) gave up her immortality to save him. Magnus showed up and Phaedra told him of the true extent of the danger Lucia's in and of the ring which could get Cleo in a lot of trouble later on so... thanks for that, Phaedra.
Xanthus then turns up and kills Phaedra- what an ass! But, during this chaos, Jonas manages to escape because we've established that this is the only thing he's good at. He's now determined to find Lys because... he probably loves her. It wouldn't surprise me at this point.
But, Lys wasn't as lucky as Jonas. Turns out, she got caught and is now in the prisons along with Tarus and the other rebels. Silver lining: she's reunited with her brother, Gregor. What's the betting they'll escape in the next book? Jumping in and saving them sounds exactly like something Jonas would do. No doubt.
And finally, we had Cleo discover about Lucia's powers- figuring out that being around her ring calms down Lucia's powers. They've decided to be friends and I'm actually super thrilled about this friendship! These ladies pairing up could mean great great things!
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment your thought. Stay amazing!