________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 24. . . .February 21, 2014


Rebel Spring. (Falling Kingdoms).

Morgan Rhodes.
New York, NY: Razorbill (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Canada), 2013.
401 pp., hardcover, $20.00.
ISBN 978-1-59514-593-2.

Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-16.

Review by Laura Dunford.

**** /4



Without hesitation, she smashed the rock into the guard's face. He let out a pained roar as his nose and teeth were crushed by the force of it. She crouched over him when he fell to the ground and continued to beat him with the stone, over and over until there was little left of his face but red pulp.

Lysandra looked on from the edge of the tent, horrified, as other guards shouted out an alarm. They rushed toward the assault, pushing past workers, swords drawn.

There was no hesitation as one guard thrust his sword through Vara's side, straight through to the other side, and she let out a piercing scream, losing her grip on the bloody rock as she fell to her side on the ground. Dead within moments.

Lysandra clamped her hand down over her mouth to keep from making a sound, but a strangled cry escaped her throat. Other slaves were not so quiet. Many began to wail and scream at the sight of blood, the dead guard, the dead girl.


A fantasy novel, filled with magic and dark adventure, Rebel Spring is set in a medieval context. This is the second novel in Rhodes' “Falling Kingdoms” series, and it introduces readers to the world of magic and violence gracefully, making it easy for those who have not read the first novel, Falling Kingdoms to catch up and fall into the story without having to sort through a dry summary of the previous novel.

     This novel picks up after King Gaius, the power-hungry and ruthless ruler of Limeros, has conquered the neighbouring kingdoms of Auranos and Paelsia and united them as the country of Mythica. Under the instruction of a Watcher, a god-like immortal being trapped in a separate realm, he undertakes the construction of a road to lead through all three lands and travel through the Forbidden Mountains where he hopes to find the Kindred who could release the Watchers and grant him immortality and power.

     While the novel's plot revolves primarily around the pursuit of magic, there is very little magic witnessed or practised by the primary characters, with the exception of Lucia, Gaius' adopted daughter who is a young sorceress. What each of the characters witnesses and experiences is death, passion, betrayal and anger. Rebel Spring is a very dark novel but also thrilling and entertaining. This would be a great novel for an enthusiastic teen reader looking for a substantial historical fantasy adventure.

     The only fault I would point out is the overabundance of the shifting point of view. The point of view changes with every chapter, staying primarily within the narrative framework of five primary characters, but there are a few secondary characters who also take point. An omniscient narrative might have been a better choice for a novel with such a long list of characters.

Highly Recommended.

Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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