Gathering Darkness

Title: Gathering Darkness (Book 3 in Falling Kingdoms)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 1, 2014

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 everyone he’s been betrayed by everyone he’s ever loved?
The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.

As the third book in the series, everything about the first and second is just as true about this one. It is a breathtakingly insane journey back and forth between the three tenuously united countries and the four inexplicably connected main characters. The internal struggle within the relationships they have formed even in brief meetings has grown significantly throughout the series. Magnus is finally learning the truth about himself, parts of his character that I’ve realized long before he was willing to say it aloud; Cleo has realized that things aren’t always as black and white as she might wish they were, and has grown up a lot; Jonas is figuring out the difference between love, friendship, and alliances; and Lucia, despite her struggles with trust and finding her purpose, has become independent and strong, although perhaps not in a way that is very comforting to readers. The mysteries surrounding Mytica and the Kindred are slowly but shockingly being revealed, and I hope that the insanity never stops; it certainly makes for a fantastical and surprising story.

The amount of violence has only increased in this series; I’ve found that very few characters make it through an entire book, so it’s heartbreaking when the author tricks you into believing that perhaps this one that you like will live, when in reality he/she gets killed off in the next chapter. “Expect the unexpected” is definitely a good rule for this book, as well as the idea that a character will serve a purpose and then die after that purpose is fulfilled. Again, shock value is huge in this series. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gasped or started to cry due to the death of yet another character that I could easily see a future for. This emotional investment, along with the intellectual challenge of keeping all the facts of who knows what in the story straight, has kept me excited to know the end – I can’t wait for the next book!

~Yours Truly

*Note: this book is not recommended for readers under the age of 13 due to mild sexual content, violence, and profanity.

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