Gathering Darkness, the third book in the epic Falling Kingdoms fantasy series by Morgan Rhodes, proves that some things do get better with age. With intense action scenes, even more betrayal and a lovely amount of twists and turns, Gathering Darkness is a read that’s very hard to put down.
Despite a slow start with the series’ first novel, Falling Kingdoms (which had me slightly nervous for any following novels), the action and adventure throughout Rebel Spring and Gathering Darkness left little doubt in my mind that Rhodes understands how to write a fantasy series involving magic and kingdoms without making it seem fantastical at all.
Gathering Darkness continues to explore the lives of Cleo, Magnus, Jonas and Lucia, presenting new problems and even larger struggles for each title character of the series. It’s interesting to see the new relationships between each character unfold as they get closer and closer to finding the Kindred and also closer with one another. No one within the story is left unaffected by his or her surroundings, whether it be Cleo and her struggle to stay alive within the walls of vipers long enough to win back her throne, Lucia’s constant battle to control her magic instead of letting it control her, Magnus and his desire to get revenge on his father, the King of Blood and Jonas’s continued rebellion that seems to fail at every turn.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you will see many similarities in the feel and storytelling within the pages of Gathering Darkness. Arguably the goriest of the novels thus far, there is plenty of murder and destruction to keep readers turning the pages to see what happens next. It’s a brutality that Game of Thrones fans know well, and it means that no one is safe within the novel’s pages. Unexpected ends can be found around every corner.
One very large plus to Gathering Darkness is the introduction of several new characters to the series, include the Kraeshian siblings Ashur and Amara and a skilled fighter known as Felix as well as a deeper character exploration of Nic, Lysandra and the Watchers. Going beyond the four titles characters, while still keeping everything tied to them, has allowed Rhodes the freedom to expand her world much farther than I would have expected.
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