This book talk will be full of spoilers, so if you haven’t read Falling Kingdoms and Rebel Spring so DON’T read (unless you want spoilers!)
If you want my non-spoiler review then you can check it out here!
Okay, so guys…this book…where do I even begin?
Morgan Rhodes you have messed with my emotions! In this series, no one is safe! I think there was a few chapters in a row where Aron, Jonas (although not really!) and someone else I can’t remember now, were killed. Every time you get to know a characetr, you don’t want to get too attached in case they don’t make it, but you just can’t help but getting emotionally attached to them in some way!
I heard before going into this series, that it is one in which you ship every character with every character. I am usually the sort of reader that decides on a ship, and is not happy when that ship wavers or (even worse) sinks – I’m sure I’m not alone there! But in this series, it feels like your OTP could change at any given moment. That said… Magnus X Cleo in this book were just the best pair! I can’t wait to see where their story goes!
So anyway, I’m going to try to divide this Book Talk up into characters, to refrain from writing a messy incoherent jumble of sentences!
First of all…
Oh Magnus! Everyone loves Magnus! He is such an interesting, unique character with so much depth. I felt like this book was actually a turning point for him in many ways. In Falling Kingdoms, we kind of see him getting closer to his father, and following in King Gaius’ footsteps more and more. In Rebel Spring, although we still see this connection, Magnus really begins to stand with his own opinions and stances (even if some of them are slightly morally ambiguous!). He is by no means the hero, but I think *hope* he is heading in that direction, as opposed to his becoming darker and darker in Book 1. I’m thinking that perhaps Cleo has in some way softened him just a little. I mean, the tension between them is so well written! And the wedding night scene!
“And should anyone ask, this night surpassed every one of your wildest fantasies about me”
He is so serious, that when he makes these odd comments, you aren’t sure whether to take them as sarcasm, or emotion, which just makes the tension so much higher between the two of them. And their kiss on the wedding tour was probably one of the best kisses I have read in a fantasy book. Just how unromantic and yet romantic it was, both at the same time. It was like I could visualise the fireworks exploding in my head!
Cleo really grew on me in this book. I found her a little difficult to connect with in the first book, but after losing Theon, her father, and her sister all at the end of Falling Kingdoms, seeing the way she deals with every situation makes her a lot more likeable. She becomes such a strong, tough, and yet relatable, character in this book. There are so many times when she comes across as so strong – like after the wedding, when Jonas calls for her to escape with him after the failed assassination attempt on King Gaius, and Cleo tells him to leave without her because of her heavy wedding dress slowing her down. I do wonder though, would she have left with him if she could have? Or would she have stayed. She professed so many times to herself and others that she wanted to stay with King Gaius and Magnus in Auranos because she needed to reclaim her throne, but I felt like there was more to it than that – fear of what it would mean for her to leave.
Jonas is probably my least favourite of the main four. That may be a slightly unpopular opinion, but out of all of the chapters, his are the ones I feel the need to read and get through more quickly, and find I have slightly less interest in. I thought the scene where he kisses Cleo felt a little strange and confusing to me. Perhaps it was just the emotional tension of his absolute hatred for her, combined with the shock of seeing that she was actually a good person, that confused him and made him kiss her, but to me it just didn’t make sense, and I didn’t feel any connection between them. And I feel like he has such little common sense sometimes. I mean, how could he think that he and a few of his rebels could walk into the most important wedding of the time, (of the son of the powerful King who had just conquered the whole of the three lands in barely any time) and be able to kill him and walk out alive. I think the point of the scene was to show just how inexperienced in battle and rebellion the rebels are, but still, it just made me face-palm!
Lucia is a very interesting character. I’m still not sure if I like her or not. I feel like she has the potential to become the greatest hero of the story, just as much as becoming the most powerful villain. You can see that she still has an innocence and unsure nature in her actions, but then it’s like her magic just takes over her and takes control. For instance, the scene where the witch is trying to teach her to use magic (and yet has to strain just to light a single candle), and Lucia gets so annoyed and irritated that she almost kills the girl. She is so powerful, and yet at the same time, she is the same age as Cleo whilst coming across as much younger. I do find her a very intriguing character though, and I am really curious to see how she will develop over future books.
I also liked that this instalment had many chapters on different side characters, aside from the main four. Alexis, Lysandra, the King, Nic etc. This series has such a good, strong cast of side characters, who all have just as interesting stories as the key four, and I love that the main story can be broken up with these side plots.
Overall, this was an AMAZING book and so much better than Falling Kingdoms. I love that I have absolutely no idea where this story is going to go, and I love that I am completely happy with that. (Okay, I may have used the word ‘love’ far too many times in this review, but it is the one word that best encompasses my feelings towards this book!) I am content for this series to just keep surprising and shocking me with its plot twists and tension.
Bring on Gathering Darkness!!!