Review: Gathering Darkness Focuses in on Magic and Romance

The third installment in the Falling Kingdoms series, Gathering Darkness, was the perfect mixture of everything the prior books had perfect. Characters sharing their secrets, learning more about the Kindred’s powers and experiencing the slow, and fast, burns of romances within the story is exactly what was needed in Gathering Darkness.
Magnus and Cleo were the two main focuses of this book in more ways than one. First of all, their growing romance kept readers on the edge of their seats wanting more and more from the two very guarded characters. Their relationship did not start out well with the arranged marriage in the second book, Rebel Spring, but as their interest in the Kindred grew so did the tensions between the two. Magnus reveals more and more of his past and his thoughts about and to Cleo, especially from his point-of-view. There are numerous scenes in this book that continue to build up the flames between the married couple. Cleo thought for a while that Magnus may not be all the he seemed to be at first sight, and those thoughts continue to be proven true with many acts of kindness from Magnus. Cleo believes Magnus to be a son that is a mirror-image of his father, King Gaius, but throughout this series, especially this book, she finds it to almost the complete opposite. Magnus truly is a man with his own thoughts and beliefs that differ from that of his father, which surprise Cleo time and time again in Gathering Darkness. As a married couple, not much happens. Their relationship is still rocky and unstable. They do open up to each other more within this book, either due to drunkenness or time-sensitive situations, and their bond strengthens immensely with each passing situation. Their romance is one that is slow-burning and just beginning to develop if readers peek closely between the lines.
Individually, they discover more about the Kindred’s powers and what is happening with the Watchers and the Sanctuary. The plot moves forward with each discovery bringing the characters closer to finding the crystals. Surprisingly, many characters end up in the same place at the very end of the book due to the Kindred. Everything that seems to be separate in Gathering Darkness is like puzzle pieces finally coming together to find the big picture. The ending, however, leaves a puzzle with one giant piece missing out of the middle to fully represent the entire picture. Hopefully this piece gets put into place with the next book, Frozen Tides.
New characters are also introduced into the book, such as Princess Amara , and readers get introduced to new point-of-views to further enhance the storytelling that Morgan Rhodes is so brilliant at doing. The new point-of-views help readers to fully understand what is going on in multiple places within this complicated series. Much is told through these point-of-views because how one character perceives a situation will be different than how another character perceives a situation. Rhodes, however, does a splendid job with not overlapping too many times with character’s point-of-views on the same situation. Very rarely did it occur until Gathering Darkness, and only a few times at that.
Gathering Darkness does not disappoint readers as the suspense builds to the end of this much beloved fantasy, young-adult series.

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