This is been sitting on my desk for quite a while, so apologies to Greg Cox for the delay in getting this review done.

Riese: Kingdom Falling is a well crafted tie-in novel that builds the backstory for the lead character in the web series.

Taking material from series, Cox weaves the story of Riese in the present day as she and her wolf rescue a young girl, Usla, from the depredations of her village. The girl is pregnant, and she’s fleeing for her life and the life of her unborn child, who will be taken from her and put into service by the Sect.

The backstory gives us a glimpse of how the kingdom of Elysia fell to the Sect — as they played both sides against the middle and provided some Victorian era Borg technology to tip the balance of power from one side the the other and back again. In the midst of this, a budding romance between Princess Riese and a young man named Micah, who turns out to be not exactly what he claims.

We also get a glimpse into just how Riese’s aunt Amara comes into the picture just in time to take power. Turns out she’s the opportunistic relative who overstays her welcome, and is in the right place at the right time with the right sympathetic ear, and she rises to a position of authority quickly while the king is away battling the Nixians, who are overpowering the Elysian forces with their high-tech weaponry.

Greg Cox has always shown a talent for hearing characters’ voices and being able to write in their different styles and patterns, and Riese: Kingdom Falling is no different in that regard. Given that the web series is only 10 episodes (so far), he didn’t have a lot to work with, but this book definitely feels like it belongs in the universe. One can picture the action sequences as he describes them, almost as if you’re seeing them on a screen. The final battle sequence is especially visual. Overall, race Kingdom falling is a good read with solid characterization and a plot you can easily follow. And the sequence involving the mirrors is a good bit of “how will Riese escape?” suspense.

Definitely worth adding this to your library.

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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