Fall of a Kingdom (Flame)

by Hilari Bell

Reviewed by Coral

Two great nations are about to collide; in the end, one will fall.

Farsala is a nation that has never been conquered. Where the rich deghans live a life of ease and luxury. Where a donation to a temple can buy a deghan free of even a murder charge. Where there is no justice for the poor.

The Hrum Empire is a land where there is justice for all. Where even the military commanders have laws to keep them in check. Where, once they begin an invasion, they have a year to finish it before law dictates they sue for peace. Where they have conquered 28 of the 32 countries they have marched against.

With war coming down upon them, the lives of three very different people will never be the same. Soraya, spoiled daughter of Merahb, Farsala's general, is forced to go into hiding when her father's enemies bribe the temples into saying that her sacrifice will grant victory to Farsala's armies. Jiaan, illegitimate peasant-born son of Merahb, will find out just how much faith his father has in him, and find himself in a position he could have never imagined. And Kavi, a poor peasant who has been wronged by the deghans many times, who will be forced to choose between saving himself and betraying his country.

I'm sorry, are we supposed to be cheering for Farsala?

Soraya is such a tired cliché of a character. Spoiled brat who gets away with treating people - even the ones who want to help her - like crap, yet who gets everything she wants. It probably didn't help that she spent more than half the book in hiding. Out of the three main characters, her story line was the least interesting and the most pointless. Maybe it'll get better in the next book, but I'm not holding out much hope.

Jiaan is also a cliché character, but at least his story line was more interesting. His character was also more sympathetic and more developed.

Kavi was actually my favourite character. I really felt for him and the decision he had to make. Can he choose to betray his country for a system that guarantees laws and fairness for all - where the injustices that happened to him won't happen to others? Or will he refuse, probably costing him his life, and leaving in place a system that favours the rich at the expense of everyone else?

Over all, I think this was a pretty decent book. Interesting enough that I'll want to continue with the series, if I ever find the second book.

Grade: B