The long-standing peace between the three kingdoms Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros is coming to an end. Two cruel despots capitalize on the murder of a poor Paelsian boy and form a treacherous alliance. At the center of the conflict are the royal descendents and rebellious youth of the three kingdoms.

Sixteen-year-old Princess Cleo of Auranos has lived a sheltered and frivolous life. She is second in line to the throne behind her much more responsible sister, but when her sister falls ill, Cleo enters into enemy territory, desperate to locate a cure. Eighteen-year-old Prince Magnus of Limeros doubts he has the stomach to rule like his cruel father. Protective of his sister, he harbors a disturbing secret that could be his undoing. At the start of it all is Jonas Agallon, a Paelsian peasant who seeks vengeance for his brother’s murder—but those he’s chosen to align himself with might be more dangerous than the one he’s after. Meanwhile, a powerful, dormant magic has reawakened. In the wrong hands, it could destroy everything. When battle lines are drawn, the kingdoms may be no longer.

The first in a planned quartet, Falling Kingdoms is a superbly written and character-driven narrative told from the viewpoints of several young people who are desperate to find their purposes within their respective kingdoms. Each character is complex and conflicted, making them largely sympathetic. It’s hard to know who to root for and who to root against. This is a perfect novel for fans of Game of Thrones and Graceling, but just as engaging for those who don’t typically read fantasy. Themes of belonging, honor and duty will resonate with everyone.

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