Release Date: January 8, 2013
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The sequel to Rift and the prequel to the New York Times bestselling novel Nightshade.
Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.
Richly sensual and full of magic, action and danger, Andrea Cremer's fifth book set in the Nightshade world is an edge-of-your-seat page turner.
Rise was, in my opinion, much better than Rift. While it still didn't thrill me to my bones, I still loved it, and that's saying a lot. The characters are more mature and instalove didn't factor into this one. While still not perfect, it was throughly enjoyable. It was a dark, lovely, and entertaining read. It was also much more developed than the first one.
Ember is whiny. Endlessly irritating. The type of heroine that I occasionally want to punch in the face. But she got much better in this book as opposed to the last, and she isn't wholly unlikable. She starts to really stand up for herself while also working for what's right. She sometimes makes mistakes, but we all do and she's truly just doing what she thinks is best. She's fighting hard for the side of good in this one, but it's an uphill battle.
THE LOVE INTEREST
Barrow. Okay, I actually liked him more in this book than the last. He's sweet and protective of Ember but he doesn't come off as creepy or pushy. He's clearly a warrior, and he wants to fight against Bosque and his unnatural creatures but he also doesn't want to risk lives unnecessarily, which I really enjoyed seeing in him. We definitely see his softer side in this one and I loved that as well.
Okay, plot-wise this book was also much better than the first one, though it still wasn't perfect.
For one things, it dwells way too much on Alistair being obsessed with Ember which is weird and incredibly disturbing. I was just really over it. I get that his obsession does drive some major plot points, but it still spends too much time on it and it's just totally unnecessary. We get it. Alistair is sick in the head. Let's move on from that.
I like that there are several side plots, but the side plots have this amazing tendency to be completely predictable which was annoying. There's one involving Ember's sister and I could guess exactly what it was and who it involved the moment it was mentioned. Come now, Rise. Surely you do better than that. Don't be so cliché.
As for the whole thing with Eira and Bosque, that was weird and greatly disturbing too. Like, what? What the hell was the point? I mean, okay, I get why it had to happen…but the way it happened was so awkward and weird and completely unconvincing. If you're gonna do something major like that please make sure it's thought through.
But that aside, I loved the whole good vs. evil thing and the rise of the Keepers and Searchers. I wish there had been more detail on that but oh well! It was really interesting especially to see the origins of the Guardians and where they came from and how they were created. That part was creative and done incredibly well.
Other than what I've mentioned, I really don't have any more problems in this area. I do think it could have been developed better but it was still fascinating and effectively held my attention.
I try not to do double jeopardy with instalove, so I tried to consider this book a clean slate as much as possible. And I was happy with what I saw! I still think the romance could have been developed more, but it was much better. I got the sense of real feelings between Ember and Barrow, more than just physical attraction, which I really liked. They're also very mature about their relationship, and they don't let their hearts overrule their heads in a ridiculous way.
I'm not sure I'll ever be able to complain about Andrea's writing. It is, simply put, gorgeous. I don't know how she does it, but everything flows so gorgeously. I honestly just adore it. The description, everything. Her third person voice has also improved. Where I felt disconnected from Ember in the first book, her voice was more solidified in this books and allowed me to get to know her better, which was awesome.
The ending was really nice. I mean, we know that it is the origin story of the villains in the Nightshade series, so obviously the ending can't be too happy. But I thought it was nice. It was very open and it was clear which direction it would go in next, like in the modern world of Nightshade. I liked that even though there was a sense of loss and sadness, there was still at least a bit of a happy ending.
So in the end, I did like this duology of Nightshade prequels overall. They have a certain darkness to them that sets them apart from the Nightshade series, like I've said, and there was something very alluring in that. So, I think I'd recommend this to fans of fantasy and historical fiction. It's definitely worth a try.
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