By Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms #5
Hardcover: 379 pages
Publication Date: December 13, 2016
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ( 5 out of 5 Stars )
The ruthless Empress Amara of Kraeshia has taken the Mytican throne, and now uncertainty looms over the three kingdoms. Since Lucia unleashed the fire Kindred, wreaking havoc throughout the land, Myticans have been looking for someone—anyone—they can trust. They believe in Amara, not knowing her grand promises are built on lies.
In Paelsia, Magnus and Cleo reluctantly follow King Gaius to the home of his exiled mother, Selia. Selia is a powerful witch and claims she can help unlock the magic of the Kindred—if the visitors agree to her terms. When Jonas arrives from Kraeshia, he is shocked to find that his rebel army now includes his sworn enemies. Along with Nic, Felix, and the mysteriously resurrected Ashur, the contentious group agrees to cast aside old grudges—for now—and united against their common enemy: Amara.
Meanwhile, bearing the child of a Watcher and feared by all, Princess Lucia travels across Mytica to find her family. But time is running out. The impending storm signals the dark prophecy Timotheus warned her about. Her fate is written, and it includes none other than the rebel Jonas. When their paths collied, Jonas and Lucia must decide between blindly following their destiny or fighting for their own free will.
The battle for power culminates at the Paelsian palace, where Amara resides. Rain pours. Blood spills. And soon all will discover that the darkest magic comes at an even darker price.
**Spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk.**
Falling Kingdoms has, from day one, been at the very top of my favorite series list. I love the world that Morgan Rhodes has created, the characters that leap from the pages into your heart, the villains that piss you off and make you want to throw the book across the room. Crystal Storm is no exception. That ending though, is awful and horrible and I cannot believe she would, in good conscience, leave us hanging like that. But I digress; let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Cleo and Magnus?! I assumed, knowing the author's propensity towards making her readers suffer as much as humanly possible, their relationship would return to one of hatred and mistrust. It was refreshing to see that Cleo and Magnus are tentatively grasping at a new beginning. Rhodes does, however, make it as difficult as possible for the pair. A curse that Cleo will die in childbirth. A murdered king, resurrected. An exiled old witch. All in opposition to Cleo, swirling around Magnus's head throughout the journey of this fifth book. I fell in love with the idea of Cleo and Magnus the more I read. And then the author laughed her evil laugh, shredded my fragile hope, stomped and danced around on it before setting it aflame. Sigh.
Gaius, finally dead at the end of Frozen Tides, is not so dead after all. The potion that his witch mother gave him to harden his heart is the only thing keeping it beating. This book revolves around the trek to find the exiled old hag. She is the only one that can restore Gaius, and find Princess Lucia. Leaving his new wife, Princess Amara, in charge of Mytica, Gaius and his son, now weary allies are determined to find her. Every day, his body dies a little more.
Amara has taken over the Mythican throne as empress after the murder of her entire family. Or so she thinks. But there is one man still alive that can take her power away. One man that she has already killed. Her brother, having taken the same potion that kept her alive as a baby, has returned to Mytica, planning to oppose his sister's reign. With the help of the rebel, Jonas, his love interest, Nick, and the rebels from Kraeshia, Prince Ashur must decide if it is safe to trust King Gaius to help with this plan.
Princess Lucia, having gone to the Sanctuary to seek the help of the only remaining elder, Timotheus, has realized the error of her ways. She is determined to defeat the Fire Elemental and return the Kindred to the Sanctuary where they belong. Unfortunately, the other three Kindred are spread out over Mytica, in the hands of powerful enemies. Or allies. With nowhere to turn and no one to trust, Lucia sets out on her journey to find the crystals before her baby is born. But half watcher, half sorceress pregnancies are far from normal. Her baby is growing at an exponential rate, and she may not make it in time.
There is so much going on in this book. So many twists and turns, unexpected betrayals, and inconceivable alliances, my head was spinning. And that damn ending is the worst cliffhanger so far. I absolutely loved every page, and at the same time, hated it, for all of the same reasons. The final installment in this series comes out in December, and I cannot wait to see how Miss Rhodes wraps it all up in a neat little, magical box. Because she better, dammit! Crystal Storm is a wonderful addition to the world of Mytica, and until that final book comes out, I will be rocking in a corner, mumbling to myself.. <3
"The sun rose in the east while Magnus waited at the bottom of the steep cliff for his father to die. He watched tensely as the pool of blood around the king's head grew, becoming a large crimson stain on the surface of the frozen lake. Magnus tried to summon something inside of him other than hatred for Gaius Damora. But he could not."
"You've all seen for yourselves that our world is dying. The leaves are turning brown and dry, more and more every day. Despite the prophesies of Eva's magic returning to us, you've begun to believe this is a sign of the end. But you're wrong. The sorceress has been reborn. And right now, this very moment, she stands among you."
"I have these memories... they're very foggy and distant. I can't even be sure they're memories instead of dreams. I was young, barely old enough to walk on my own. I remember having a father who was not nearly as cold as my mother. One who told me stories before I went to sleep."
"The closer Magnus got to her, the more her heart sped up. "Perhaps, we can discuss this later, at the inn, in our... room?" she said softly."
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