Hey, guys! I am very excited to finally discuss the second book in the Falling Kingdoms series, Rebel Spring. This is a book that has been on my TBR for several months, ever since I read Falling Kingdoms, and I am pleased to say that I really enjoyed this! If you weren’t aware, this is a high fantasy series that follows four main characters from three warring kingdoms, two of which want to take the third kingdom because their kingdoms suffer while the other kingdom lives lavishly and plentifully. Its super action-packed, complex, and really, really good. I did do a review of the first book, so you can check that out. But since this is the second book in the series, I don’t recommend you staying if you haven’t read the book. So goodbye, people who haven’t read this book. Now let’s jump right into the review!
***Warning: This review contains spoilers. If you wish to not know what goes on throughout this book, don’t read any part of this review.***
“The road to power… is paved with blood and magic.
Cleo is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people.
Magnus stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia.
Lucia is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms.
Jonas watched at the palace gates a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius.
After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over…
At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas’s hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia’s, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus’s, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.
When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius’s road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.”
Lysandra and Gregor are hunting in Paelsia when they see a witch from their village, Talia, trying to perform blood magic when she is killed by a flaming arrow. They run and find their village is being set ablaze, the people killed, including their parents. Gregor runs, likely trying to help, and forces Lysandra to leave without him; she must find the rebels. Jonas is at this announcement speech from King Gaius who announces that Magnus and Cleo are to be betrothed rather than Aron and Cleo (I was so hoping Aron would be dead; also not surprised by this).
Aron requests a word with the King and soon after Magnus and Cleo have to go and hear of how the King gave the title of Kingsliege to Aron. He tries to force Magnus not to marry her by blurting out her secret of how they slept together. She says he is lying and the guards almost cut out his tongue when she reveals he is actually telling the truth. Magnus somehow manages to convince his father to forgive Cleo of lying and he also accepts the betrothal when his father asks him if he wishes to still be betrothed to Cleo.
Magnus visits his sister and we learn that Cleo’s bestie’s sister Mira is an attendant for Lucia. Magnus vows to find the Kindred in order to gain his father’s full approval and respect (which makes him stupid, imho; that is so not a good reason to find the Kindred…) Lucia is having a dream and Alexius, the Watcher, is there and he is telling her of how he can help her and how she is crucial to the sanctuary. Lucia annoyingly overreacts (as usual) with her stupid fire magic. We learn she is very attracted to him. Then he is forced to leave when his friend Phaedra comes looking for him.
Jonas and Brion are searching for recruits for the rebels when Jonas destroys the King’s mural and runs with Brion, pursued by soldiers. They are saved by Lysandra who is so full of vengeance and hate its almost scary. Brion and Jonas agree to take her back to their camp. She wants them to attack the road that Gaius is building, but Jonas knows it is way too risky and will diminish their already scarce numbers. They are having everyone gathered to witness the road being built at the start of Auranos with Magnus being the one to start the opening of the road (even though we know it was already being built). And then Darius, who was betrothed to Emilia, speaks out against the King and is then executed. Aron is bring his normal, annoying, kissass self, and finally the Queen speaks out against Gaius. Magnus keeps Gaius from physically harming her and be speaks to her. She is actually starting to care about Magnus and Lucia and she speaks of how he has a kind heart and is nothing like Gaius. Magnus denies this, of course.
Lysandra decides to take matters into her own hands and leave to go attack the soldiers that are forcing people to work on the road. Brion and Jonas go with her and see what is going on with the road. Lysandra sees someone she knows, Vara, and they talk for a minute or so before Vara goes after a soldier, stones him to death and this causes a ripple effect with the other prisoners because a soldier kills Vara. A riot breaks out, so many people were slaughtered and then Brion and Jonas pull her out of there. And the suddenly out of freaking nowhere a tornado blows through and they narrowly manage to escape. Jonas realizes he needs to do something to get the attention of the King and weaken him as well. So he decides he needs to kidnap Princess Cleo.
King Gaius is visited in a dream by a Watcher who turns out to be the advisor he spoke of to Magnus. Her name is Melenia and she is actually also a Council Member. We find out the road was her idea and the reason it is running through the Forbidden Mountains is the location of the Kindred can be found there. Melenia speaks to him of a prophecy where he is a god and she is the Queen beside of him, both ruling over everything for forever, but in order for that to happen, he has to find the Kindred and to do that, a lot more blood has to be shed. He vows to do that. I am getting really shady vibes from her…
Cleo goes to a fitting for her wedding dress where she is kidnapped by Jonas. Magnus is surprisingly unnerved by the news of Cleo being kidnapped. He speaks to Gaius who tells him about Melenia and then he snaps Mira’s neck, which pissed me off. And then Lucia woke up and the Queen sent him away. The Queen will stop at nothing to stop Gaius, so she decides she needs to kill Lucia. She gives her a drink that makes her sleep, so I don’t think she will kill her yet (or at least try; I don’t think she will end up dying). Though I wouldn’t mind if she did. I hate Lucia…
Alexius is in the Sanctuary when his friend Phaedra asks him to come with her to her mentor Stephanos who is dying. He dies and Melenia comforts Alexius. When alone, Phaedra is appalled and pissed as hell that Alexius was lapping up all of her lies. She then storms off after alerting to him that she knows of his infatuation with Lucia and warns him not to trust Melenia.
Jonas takes Cleo to the rebel camp where she seems to win Lysandra over (at least a little bit) and Jonas informs her he does not plan on killing her, but rather if and when Gaius refuses his demands, he will keep her there as a rebel, which would be a strong message to the people. Soldiers storm the rebel camp and Cleo is nearly taken, but Jonas saves her (I ship them a little bit) and they hide in a cave. Somehow they end up kissing (which makes me incredibly happy) and Cleo comes up with a plan for the rebels to strike back at the King. She will go back with the soldiers and on her wedding day while everyone is distracted, Jonas will kill Gaius and Magnus (This will obviously not work, so I am dreading what will end up happening.)
We learn the Queen is the reason Lucia hasn’t woken. She’s been giving her a sleeping potion provided by a witch that prophesied Lucia’s magic will result in destruction and death and the more she uses it, the more she will lose herself. And the only way to control it is with a magic ring (which we know is Cleo’s ring). The Queen goes to meet the witch, but is murdered by a cloaked figure. We find out the cloaked figure allegedly was Jonas who killed Queen Althea because the blade they found was the one that Jonas carried. The witch was also killed. Magnus informs Cleo that Mira was killed by his father. Obviously we know Jonas did not kill the Queen, so the question remains who did, why, and how they managed to get a hold of a weapon that is exactly like Jonas’s.
Jonas presents the plan to the rebels. Lysandra says he will get himself and the rest of them killed (I kind of agree), Brion sides with her so Brion and Jonas get in a real legit fist fight. Jonas wins and stalks off. Lucia and Alexius finally admit their feelings for each other and start kissing, but then she wakes up and its Magnus’s wedding day. So the attack happens, but there’s an earthquake and there were guards disguised as guests, so they lost, pretty horribly, but Jonas manages to escape. Gaius chokes Cleo, almost killing her and then the wedding happens anyway.
So Alexius has known about Melenia’s plans all along and he has been prepared to sacrifice Lucia because she has to die when the road is complete. But he questions whether she needs to die. Thus, Melenia takes his magic. She takes his ability to shift and communicate through dreams. I knew I had good reason to hate this bitch…Lucia is visited by a witch who is supposed to help her with her abilities, but really is no help at all. Lucia nearly kills her because she becomes consumed by her magic, but the earthquake stops her and the other witch leaves.
So its the wedding dinner and Cleo gets drunk (rightfully so) thus she leaves to get some air. The Prince from the Kraeshan Empire gives her a gift (Oh, what do you know. We have another shady character here…). She goes to her room and learns it is a golden dagger, and it is most likely meant to be used to kill Magnus. But Magnus enters the room, takes the dagger and informs her that he will never sleep with her, but she is completely vulnerable to him. And she has to act like a dutiful wife on their wedding tour or Nic will die.
Lysandra saves Jonas from a guard and brings him back to camp. He tells them what happened and Lysandra defends him. Brion then confronts Lysandra about being in love with Jonas. She stalks off. (Not going to lie, I kind of ship them…) Magnus and Cleo do the tour and after he notices her being miserable, Magnus has Nic join them. They eventually make it to Limeros where they come across a Watchers wheel, which allows them to travel between The Sanctuary and the real world in hawk form. As she stands next to it, her ring begins to spin and glow and she nearly passes out, but Magnus catches her.
Prior to giving a speech, he and Cleo are nearly assassinated by a boy working for “her” who didn’t want Magnus killed, but he was going to kill him anyway. (I think this is the guy who truly killed Queen Althea). Magnus then gives a speech and the people demand a kiss so he kisses Cleo. Gaius meets with Melenia and decides to send Magnus when he comes back to Xanthus for answers on progress. He kisses her and then fantasizes about killing her when he gets the power. I have a feeling it will be the other way around…
Magnus is at the camp when a group of rebels try to steal weapons. The leader is caught and it’s Brion and Magnus wants to question him further, but Aron murders him. So Magnus throws him into the fire. Unfortunately, he’s not dead. Jonas was forced to watch his friend die. He returns to camp and tells them of the new plan. They are going to follow Magnus and the other guard’s to the Forbidden Mountains. They will attack, kidnap Magnus and kidnap Xanthus.
Lucia goes to search for books on elementia magic when she finally meets Cleo. When Lucia touches her arm, Cleo’s ring starts to glow. They exchange verbal blows before Lucia’s magic gets out of hand and she almost takes out the library and Cleo. Cleo then gets out of there. Cleo tells Nic of the ring and he wants her to run away with him, but she refuses. He then confesses his love for her and when she doesn’t reciprocate it, he goes off to a bar and gets really drunk in the company of the Prince of the Kraeshan Empire, Ashur Cortas. He tells him nothing and due to being hopelessly drunk, he gets lost and the Prince follows him. The Prince then kisses him and walks off.
Magnus, Aron and the rest of the guards make it to the Forbidden Mountains, but Xanthus can’t see them until the morning. The assistant engineer greets them and tells them of the progress on the project. They meet his daughter and Aron convinces the girl’s father to allow his daughter to have dinner with him that night. Magnus goes over to Aron’s tent and finds them struggling as Aron is trying to rape her, but Magnus gets her out of there. He sees Aron’s dagger and figures out that he is the man who killed his mother, on the King’s orders. He kills him (THANK GOD THE BASTARD IS FINALLY DEAD) and vows to never be like his father.
Jonas and the rebels raid the Forbidden Mountains and then he is nearly killed, but the Watcher Phaedra saves his life. And then her brother Xanthus takes her magic and her life. Magnus and Jonas fight for a bit before Jonas runs, but he can’t find Lysandra. Lysandra has been captured and taken to the dungeons but she is reunited with her brother Gregor. He talks of of how Phaedra visited him in his dreams and how when Lucia dies at the end of the Blood Road, the Watchers will be free, but the world will burn.
Cleo figures out that Lucia is the sorceress and her ring is the key to calming down Lucia’s magic. She comforts Lucia after learning she accidentally kill her bunny. She tells Lucia she can and will help her because they are sisters now. Cleo knows exactly what she’s doing. She knew the only way to destroy the King of Blood and take back her throne was to befriend this girl. So she was going to do exactly that.
This book was absolutely fabulous. I forgot how much I loved this story, these characters, and this world. I am not sure if this is better than the first book, but it still was fabulous. We got to see so much more of these characters and they evolving and changing so much. And the story line was insane, what with the Watchers and Gaius and just everything that was going on. It was bloody fantastic.
I need to talk about Magnus. I will be honest. I do not see why everyone ships him with Cleo. I spent most of the book hating him. I stopped hating him in the last twenty pages or so. He is just so irritatingly loyal to his father, willing to do anything for his approval and that pisses me off. It takes him almost the entirety of the book to see what a narcassistic, power-hungry psychopath his father is. He has been so blind to it, he’s just done about everything his father did. I also hated how he treated Cleo, though to be honest, its completely understandable because she’s the Princess of Auranos and she’s his family’s prisoner, so its perfectly normal that they would hate each other.
Speaking of Cleo, I really loved the direction her character went. She really stepped up to the plate in terms of actually standing up for her people. She was actively working an angle to take back her throne and kill the King of Blood. She was filled with so much hate and loathing for the Damora family that it just fueled her; it gave her drive. She also ended up not hating Jonas at one point, which was major progress. I was so happy when she ended up hating Lucia because I hate Lucia (the girl is beyond annoying, and I honestly would not be sad if she died…). Cleo has what it takes to take back her throne and destrory the King of Blood. She is going after it with everything she has, and I admire the shit out of that!
I also need to talk about Jonas. We finally got to see him move past his hate of Cleo and focus on the enemy that matters, King Gaius, which was major progress. He actually was rounding up people to rise up against the King with coordinated attacks, and yes, many were misguided, but he was actually doing something. He was also just proving to the King that he was a force to be reckoned with, not to mention the fact that he was also acting less like a brute and more like a leader. I really enjoyed his character in this book.
I also need to briefly talk about Lysandra because she was a standout character, in my opinion. I really liked her. She was so passionate about the cause, for good reason, and she recognized what had to be done. In the beginning, she was a little irrational about what targets they needed to hit, at least until she saw them, and then she recognized why they couldn’t hit those targets just yet. And then she recognize when Jonas was being irrational about targets they should not hit, but of course he doesn’t listen. Either way, she has a clear perspective, and I love the way she and Jonas work together.
Just a few mentions: I still hate Lucia, and I probably always will. I obviously hate the King of Blood, and I hate someone close to the King of Blood, Melenia. I am actually pretty okay with Alexius’s character, and the Queen actually grew on me as a character. She started showing that she cared about her children, so I started to like her. There are probably a lot of characters that I am not thinking of, but there were a lot of good characters in this book.
I just need to talk about Althea’s death. As soon as I started liking her, she was murdered. And I surprisingly did not guess who killed her. I figured that the King had something to do with it, but I knew he would not have done it himself. I knew it wasn’t Jonas, and that he was just a scape goat, but I wasn’t sure who did it. I should have guessed that it was Aron. I really should have, but I didn’t, and I will forever be happy that Magnus finally killed that son of a bitch. I love that it was Magnus, even if I would have wished it was Jonas.
Speaking of Aron, I was so fucking pissed off when he murdered Brion. Just to save his own ass. I wanted to gouge his eyes out. Like Brion was one of my favorite characters, and of course my least favorite character is the one that kills him. Aron was just a murderous lunatic, and he deserved exactly what he got, though I would have preferred if he suffered a little bit more…
The story line was absolutely kickass and complex and I loved it. It wasn’t something that I would have thought about, like ever. I loved the writing as always, the characters were complex and badass, and this was just a solid addition to the series. Looking forward to the next book!
And there you have it! That was my review of Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes. What is your favorite high fantasy series? Comment down below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time.