Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the first book in the series, Falling Kingdoms, Stop! I don't want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

"The road to power ... is paved with blood and magic."

King Gaius has conquered both Limeros and Paelsia and united them with Auranos to form the kingdom of Mytica. Chief Basilius of Paelsia was murdered and Princess Cleo of Limeros was orphaned and taken prisoner. With Mytica finally under his control, King Gaius is building a road to unite the kingdom. To seal his control and power, Gaius wants to find the lost crystals belonging to the Watchers and gain control of elementia magic to rule the world.

Cleo is being used by Gaius as an "ambassador" to Auranos to gain the trust of his newly conquered people. Publicity breaking her engagement to Aron Lagaris, Gaius announces the betrothal of Princess Cleo to his son and heir, Prince Magnus. Their wedding will take place in forty days. Once out of the public eye, no one is happy about the announcement, least of all Aron who tries to bargain with the King to keep his promised marriage to Cleo. He goes so far as to reveal that she is an impure bride. Magnus tells his father that since it was only one time between Cleo and Aron, he is unwilling to break the betrothal for the sake of uniting the kingdoms as one. Aron is named kings liege instead.

Jonas is buying his time to plot his revenge against King Gaius. Extracting revenge against Aron for his brother's death simmers beneath the surface as well. He witnesses the betrothal announcement between Magnus and Cleo and hears the king's plan to reunite Mytica by building a road through the kingdom. Jonas tells himself that Cleo could marry a better man than Aron. Trying to recruit rebels to join his cause, he and Brion are trapped in an alleyway by three guards. With certain death upon them, they are surprised when a girl their age kills all three with her bow. Lysandra asks if they are really from Paelsia, because she is too. She has heard of Jonas Agallon but not Brion. She wants to join their cause to get at the King. She believes they should attack Gaius by freeing their countrymen from slavery and destroying as much of the road as possible. Jonas feels in his gut that Lysandra is trouble but Brion thinks he is in love. Jonas begins to think of potential spies within the castle to recruit.

Cleo is surprised to find Jonas in her room one night. Taunting her over her betrothal to Prince Magnus, he is feeling her out to see if she will be his spy. Never answering him, she just wants him gone before he gets caught. Despite all of the bad things between them, neither wants to see the other hurt. Jonas leaves and Cleo finds the resolve to find out more about her mother's ring that her father gave her before he died. She spends all of her free time in the library looking for possible answers. When Queen Althea announces that they are traveling to Hawk's Brow for a dress fitting with Lorenzo, she hopes that he can secretly help her cause.

Jonas and Brion follow Lysandra to a work camp in Paelsia to see the slave work camps. Jonas is horrified by what he sees. When Lysandra spots a girl from her village, things go horribly wrong. Thinking that is a sign, the girl strikes a guard dead with a rock and chaos and death descend. Scrambling to get away, the three watch a cyclone form from a sweep across the camp. They believe that blood magic was at work from all of the bloodshed. Cleo finds Jonas waiting for her in the dressing room at the dressmaker's. He wants her answer about spying for the rebels, but Cleo doesn't answer. Before she knows what is going on, Jonas knocks her unconscious and leaves a note for King Gaius to stop building the road.

Magnus still stands vigil by his sister Lucia's side since becoming unconscious from the magic she wielded to secure Auranos for her father the king. Still wanting acceptance from his father, he treads cautiously to say and the things he thinks his father wants him to. His mother, Queen Althea, finds him alone and questions him if he really wants a forced marriage with Princess Cleo. Of course, he father wishes it and he is just like his father. No, his mother says. He may be as handsome as his father but his heart is not cold, no matter what mistakes he may have made. Magnus is disheartened to learn that his father has no plans to secure Princess Cleo's return. He is even more upset that he knowingly put his mother's life in danger as well. When King Gauis begins to confide in Magnus that his new advisor is really a four thousand year old Watcher who visits him in his dreams, Magnus knows that his father is not a foolish man and that the Legend of the immortal Watchers must be true. Magnus will be by his side when he possesses the four crystals holding the essence of elementa. But Magnus hopes to secure them first, that way he can be seen as a man of value to his father and an equal in the eyes of his adopted sister, Lucia, who he deeply cares for.

Who will find the crystals holding the essence of elementa? Can King Gaius be stopped? What will Jonas do now that he has kidnapped Princess Cleo? Will she and Magnus be married? Can Magnus get over his feelings for his adopted sister? Does Lucia even awaken? Is she the key to welding elementa?


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