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Book Review

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting [magazine] (https://store.focusonthefamily.com/goaa-thriving "magazine"). It is the second book in the “Falling Kingdoms” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

After a bloody battle, King Gaius now rules all three kingdoms of Mythica. With his mistress and adviser dead, Gaius turns to a powerful elder Watcher, Melenia, to find the Kindred.

The Kindred are four lost magical crystals that hold the purest essence of elemental magic: earth, fire, water and air. Melenia tells Gaius that if he follows her counsel, he will discover magic that will make him an immortal god who will rule over the entire world by her side. She tells Gaius that by building an imperial road through Mythica, he will find the Kindred in the Forbidden Mountains. The road is being built with slave labor from the poor people of Paelcia, with the help of Xanthus, an exiled Watcher with earth magic who works for Melenia.

Cleo, princess of Auranos and rightful heir to the throne, has been captured and forced to live in her own palace as a guest of King Gaius. Gaius breaks the engagement between Cleo and Lord Aron, betrothing her to his son, Prince Magnus instead. Gaius tells the people of Auranos that the union will unite Mythica. Neither Magnus nor Cleo want the engagement, but they cannot deny the king. Cleo still morns the death of the man she loved, Theon, whom Magnus killed, while Magnus is in love with his adopted sister, Lucia.

Lucia is a sorceress who used powerful magic to win the battle for her father; using all that magic left her in a coma. Secretly, her adopted mother, Queen Althea, has been feeding Lucia a potion to keep her unconscious. Gaius needs Lucia’s magic to find the Kindred, and Althea wants him to fail.

While she is unconscious, a Watcher named Alexius visits Lucia in her dreams. Through their interactions, they fall in love. Alexius tells Lucia that she will help restore the Sanctuary, the world of the Watchers, where magic has been fading since the Kindred were lost.

Jonas, a Paelsian rebel, has been recruiting more rebels to overthrow King Gaius. He and his friend Brion meet a Paelsian girl, Lysandra. Gaius' soldiers killed her family, and her brother has been missing since the raid on their village.

Queen Althea has been getting the sleeping potion for Lucia from a witch. On her way to get more, she is murdered. Gaius accuses Jonas of the murder, and the hunt for him intensifies.

While Cleo is getting fitted for her wedding dress, Jonas kidnaps her. He leaves a note for Gaius. In exchange for Cleo’s life, Jonas wants Gaius to stop construction on the road and free the enslaved Paelsians. Jonas doesn’t actually intend to hurt Cleo. He asks her to aid the rebel cause, and she agrees to help.

They plan to ambush the temple on her wedding day and kill Gaius and Magnus. Guards find the camp, and the rebels escape. Cleo pretends that she was truly being held against her will and that the soldiers are rescuing her from a harrowing ordeal.

The rebels attack the wedding ceremony, but Gaius, who anticipated the attack, had his own guards disguised as wedding guests. Most of the rebels are killed, and Jonas barely escapes with his life. Gaius suspects Cleo’s involvement and beats her before forcing her to continue with the wedding ceremony.

Cleo and Magnus are wed. At the wedding banquet, Prince Ashur of Kraeshia, a large kingdom across the sea, approaches Cleo. He asks her about legends of the Kindred. Cleo is purposely vague. After the banquet, Cleo and Magnus leave on a wedding tour.

In the Sanctuary, Alexius meets with Melenia, his elder. After the road is complete and the Kindred are found, Lucia’s blood will be spilled, and the Watchers will no longer be bound to the Sanctuary. Without the power of the sleeping potion, Lucia wakes up and feels a darkness stirring within her. Her father hires witches to teach her to use her power, but her ability far outpaces any teacher, and Lucia begins to enjoy the fear she evokes in others.

Magnus and Cleo’s wedding tour takes them to the castle in his homeland of Limeros. Cleo sees a large stone wheel in the garden. Legend says that these wheels were how Watchers had traveled between realms before the Kindred were lost. Cleo touches the wheel, and her ring, the one that belonged to the sorceress Eva and essential to controlling the Kindred, begins to glow.

At the end of the wedding tour, the couple returns to Auranos, but Magnus leaves soon after to hunt down his mother’s killer. Gaius has also tasked his son with checking on the progress of the imperial road. While camped out for the night, rebels sneak into the camp to steal weapons. Brion is caught and questioned. He refuses to answer, and when he denies that Jonas killed Queen Althea, Aron kills him.

Back at the castle, Nic asks Cleo to run away with him and confesses his love for her, but she refuses. Cleo tells Nic about the ring that once belonged to Eva and how she will use it to destroy King Gaius and take back her kingdom. Nic is upset about the rejection and leaves for a tavern to get drunk.

Prince Ashur finds him and questions Nic about the Kindred and Cleo’s magical ring. Nic denies knowing anything and flees the tavern. Nic drunkenly wanders the street until Ashur finds him. Nic fears Ashur will murder him, but the prince kisses him, and Nic responds positively to the kiss. Ashur is confident that the next time they meet, Nic will help him with the answers that he needs.

Magnus reaches the mountain camps where he will meet the imperial road’s engineer, Xanthus. After Magnus stops a drunken Aron from raping a girl, the two talk, and Aron confesses that he murdered Queen Althea because Gaius asked him to. Magnus intends to take Aron back to Auranos and confront his father, but Aron lunges at him, and Magnus kills Aron.

The rebels attack the road camp to avenge Brion’s death. Jonas is caught and stabbed in the heart, but a Watcher, Phaedra, takes human form and saves him with earth magic. Xanthus, Phaedra’s brother, finds them. Phaedra is overjoyed to see her brother, but Xanthus works for Melenia and he kills Phaedra. Jonas escapes, but Lysandra is captured.

In prison, Lysandra is reunited with her brother, Gregor. Before her death, Phaedra visited Gregor in dreams and told him that he and others like him can make a difference. She also told him that when Lucia’s blood is spilled and sacrifices made, the world will burn.

At the castle, Cleo suspects Lucia is the powerful sorceress who was prophesized. Cleo visits Lucia’s chambers and finds the girl heartbroken and sobbing. Lucia accidently killed her pet rabbit with her magic. Cleo comforts her, and her ring glows. Lucia feels calmer and more in control, and Cleo knows it is the ring’s power giving Lucia balance. Cleo offers Lucia friendship, and she accepts. Cleo believes that Lucia’s magic and the ring are the keys to destroying King Gaius.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

Cleiona and Valoria were Watchers who took the power of the Kindred, becoming so powerful that they are worshiped as goddesses. Valoria is worshiped in Limeros, and Cleiona is worshiped in Auranos. Cleo prays to the goddess Cleiona for help and Lucia prays to the goddess Valoria for forgiveness and salvation. Melenia tells Gaius that the power of the Kindred can make them immortal and as powerful as gods.

Authority Roles

Gaius is cruel, violent and indifferent to his son, and Magnus hates him. Magnus believes he is as cold and cruel as his father, but his mother, Queen Althea, assures Magnus that he is wrong. Althea drugs her daughter to keep her asleep, acknowledging that if Lucia wakes up, she will have to kill her. Gaius arranges Althea’s murder and frames Jonas for the death. Althea was always cold to Lucia, and Lucia isn’t saddened to hear of her mother’s death.

Profanity/Violence

Profanity includes: s---, a--, and d--n. Name-calling includes * b--ch,* whore and * b--tard.* Thank the goddess, oh goddess and goddess forbid are used as a swear phrases.

Soldiers kill poor Paelsians for resisting and burn entire villages to the ground. Enslaved Paelsians fight back, and soldiers brutally kill them. Rebels and soldiers get in fights leaving many dead and wounded.

Gaius kills a nobleman who publicly opposes him. Gaius also murders a servant girl because he thinks she is eavesdropping on his conversations. In a dream meeting with Melenia, Gaius angrily slaps her across the face. Gaius slaps, chokes and threatens Cleo to make her continue with the wedding to Magnus. Gaius tells Aron to stab Queen Althea to death.

Aron also kills Brion, and Magnus kills Aron to avenge his mother. Althea uses a blood magic potion to keep Lucia asleep. She lures one of Lucia’s suitors to his death to get the blood to make the potion. An exiled Watcher murders his sister. Blood is depicted.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Cleo is ashamed of the night she got drunk and had sex with Aron and was disgusted with her forced engagement to him. When Gaius breaks their engagement, Aron tells the royal family that he and Cleo shared flesh and must marry. At first, Cleo denies having sex with Aron, but she eventually admits the truth.

Gaius tells Magnus that he can refuse Cleo since she is no longer pure, but Magnus admits that he has also had sexual relationships, and he accepts the betrothal. After the wedding, Magnus and Cleo have no physical contact except for a kiss they share when prompted by a crowd of well-wishers on their wedding tour. Both are surprised that the kiss is more pleasant than they thought it would be.

Jonas is attracted to Cleo, and while they hide from palace guards in the woods, he kisses her. Nic is in love with Cleo, but she doesn’t return his feelings. Prince Ashur of Kraeshia is attracted to Nic. He consoles Nic over his broken heart and kisses him. While Nic is surprised, he doesn’t spurn Ashur’s advances. Aron attempts to rape a girl, but Magnus stops him.

Magnus is ashamed of his romantic feelings toward his sister, Lucia, which are not returned. Magnus overhears Lucia telling Gaius that Magnus’ romantic feelings make her uncomfortable. Afterward, Magnus closes his heart to her. Melania visits Gaius in dreams, where they are intimate. She promises him immortality and the opportunity to rule by her side.

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Alcohol: Several characters drink wine. Aron drinks heavily and is often drunk.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

14 and up

Genre

Fantasy

Author

Morgan Rhodes

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Razorbill, an Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Released

On Video

Year Published

2013

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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