Jen at Reading Lark's Reviews > Rise

Rise by Andrea Cremer
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Jan 26, 2013

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Read from January 14 to 26, 2013

So far, I have proved a total fangirl for Andrea Cremer. Everything she has written, I have loved. Even when I hated Bloodrose, and wanted to throw the book across the room, I still loved it. So color me shocked that I didn’t love Rise. It was ok. I feel a bit let down.

Rift was SUCH an awesome prequel to the Nightshade series. It took the story back several hundred years, and across the Atlantic to medieval Scotland, and a protagonist called Ember. Ember was a girl trapped in a man’s world... there was nothing she hated more than sitting about sewing and being girly, and nothing she wanted more than to wield a sword and stand up for herself. She was a girl I could empathize with. She left home, joined a knightly order called Conatus, kicked butt, learned to use some crazy circular swords, ride a headstrong stallion, and she got to make out with the coolest knight of all. And then everything changed; a fellow female knight (Eira) let Bosque Mar, villain of the Nightshade series, into the world and Ember had to flee Conatus.

Rise picked up the story as Ember and a few others were fleeing Bosque Mar and Eira. Alistair, her jealous childhood friend, is sent out to hunt her down with the help of scary wolves made of smoke and fire, and Ember manages to save both herself and Barrow (*swoon*) by promising Alistair that she will think really carefully if she might love him after all, and then she will return to him. Enter a sea voyage, a Kraken, two near fatal accidents for Barrow and a snide French knight who thinks Ember is just a silly little girl. Ember decides that she should return to Conatus, and try to find out more.

The main problem for me in Rise was that, to be honest, butt kicking Ember was nowhere to be seen. She became subservient, and spent a lot of time sewing while trying to work out what was going on with Alistair and generally forgetting her super secret spy mission. She didn’t once wield Silence and Sorrow, and Caber was a distant memory... I was also disturbed by the sexuality of the novel. In Rift, Ember and Barrow certainly smouldered away at each other, but it was secondary to the story. In Rise, a large portion of time was spent with the pair of them wishing they could only find the herbs necessary to prevent Ember from getting pregnant. There was also a scene which I felt bordered on inappropriate in YA fiction – any teen with their wits about them will know that Barrow gave Ember oral attention of the most intimate kind, despite the fact that the scene cut away.

What I did enjoy was seeing how the werewolves from the Nightshade trilogy came into being. Alistair really did come up with a genuinely dastardly plan, which Bosque Mar helped him to execute. I also found the explanation of the Scion and the Elemental Cross really engaging. I just found that those elements came too late in Rise to save it for me. I needed more from Ember than I got. I think the problem lay in the nature of the fight; Bosque Mar is capable of raising wraiths which are essentially indestructible, so no one even tried to fight them. I think that if Rift had been a different book, I might have enjoyed Rise more, but in the end I found that Rise failed to live up to the high standard that Rift had set it. It worked fine as a linking book to the Nightshade trilogy, but I was disappointed that it is the last new book I’ll read of that world, to my knowledge. I would still recommend the series, and I think that readers would do well to start with Rift and read through Rise into the Nightshade trilogy.

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01/16/2013 page 63
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