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The Rising

(The Alchemy Wars #2)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,035 ratings  ·  269 reviews
The second book in the Alchemy Wars trilogy by Ian Tregillis, an epic tale of liberation and war.

Jax, a rogue Clakker, has wreaked havoc upon the Clockmakers' Guild by destroying the Grand Forge. Reborn in the flames, he must begin his life as a free Clakker, but liberation proves its own burden.

Berenice, formerly the legendary spymaster of New France, mastermind behind
Paperback, 480 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Orbit
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,035 ratings  ·  269 reviews

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Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-shelf, sci-fi
You know, I just can't tell whether this novel just happens to have solved any of the issues of the one directly prior to it, whether I preferred it because it was filled with a lot less outright torture, whether this just happened to tickle all my funnybones at exactly the right time, or whether I've just gotten used to the writing style and it just doesn't bother me anymore.

Any way I look at it, though, I loved this second novel. I had no issues with any of the main characters, even if mr. rob
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I loved Ian Tregillis’ The Mechanical, and I’m pleased to report the sequel does not disappoint. Although I still have to give edge to the first book—mainly because the impact it had on me was so profound and unexpected—The Rising takes up the baton and carries on running at full throttle, ramping up the action while still keeping the themes of historical fantasy and existential philosophy at the forefront.

The Alchemy Wars

4.5 stars (revised from 3.5 after further reflection 2-14-2017)

Good but a bit slower than the first book.

I'm glad that bitch Bernice's plans got foiled in the end, and I was happy to see Lillith back. I hope she returns in the next book too.

What put me off was the long winded battle scenes, I skimmed alot of them. I had no love of the Captain, and was exasperated about hearing about him so much.

Was it really necessary to have so much cursing all the time? I'mno prude, but it just se
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Full review at Tenacious Reader:

The Rising by Ian Tregillis continues to explore the rights of the mechanicals and the war between France and Netherlands continues. In fact, the war dominates. This book is much faster and I feel like it featured more action than the first book. While action is good, I have to confess that is not what made me love The Mechanical. I love the exploration of freedom and free will and how that relates to the Mechanicals, I als
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I haven't been a tremendous fan of historical fiction or alternate histories in recent years, but this series has me captivated. The alternate history that Tregillis has created with the Dutch ruling much of the world through the power they've commanded through controlling their mechanical servants has so much depth and breadth, it's fascinating. This book was quite different from the first. The first set everything up, it established who the characters were and what they wanted and brought thin ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this took everything that was great about the first book and made even greater.

The three way battle over free will continues ad the Dutch, French, and mechanicals (clakkers) go for broke. This book really ups the tension and action which continues to the final words in the book.

This is absolutely one of my favourite new "universes" or settings. With strong male and female (and mechanical) characters on all sides of this conflict, all fighting for control of the mechanicals (including the
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An intense, action-filled, powerful second volume in the Alchemy Wars trilogy. A great read! REALLY looking forward to the October release of The Liberation!
Oleksandr Zholud
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a second volume of the Alchemical Wars trilogy. This review contains spoilers of the first volume, The Mechanical.

So, the forge making mechanicals in the New World is destroyed, former French spy-master is captured and a rogue clakker Jax is again alone. Of course, the destruction is assumed a French plot and Dutch decide to end with those pesky frog-eaters once and for all. Therefore, the grand setting of this volume is the siege of Marseilles.

Like in the first volume, there are three m
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Last month I gave a favorable review to Ian Tregillis' The Mechanical, part 1 of a coming alt-history trilogy that imagines what the world would be like if the Dutch Empire had managed to invent robots in the 1600s; so that's why I don't have much to say about volume 2 of the series, The Rising, that I did
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A solid sequel in one of the more memorable series I've started recently. It might have been cursed with the usual story issues that tend to come with middle books of trilogies, but even though the conclusion here was on the predictable side, getting there was still a fun ride. Knowing what to expect from the writing also helped with my enjoyment this time around and the sharp drop off in the number of info dumps also helped.

We obviously learned a bit more about the world and it's clockwork inh
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, scifi
Considering that The Mechanical was one of my favorite novels of 2015, I was surprised at the short shrift I gave the novel in my review. This was entirely due to the fact that I was afraid that by discussing the philosophical elements of The Mechanical I would inadvertently blow certain plot points that may damage enjoyment of the first volume of the Alchemy Wars. Now that you are reading The Rising, I feel a little more comfortable being less obtuse about the book. But that's not even where I ...more
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, fiction
See my other reviews at Never Enough Books

Jax, a rogue Clakker, wreaked havoc upon the Clockmakers' Guild by destroying the Grand Forge. Reborn in the flames, he must begin his life as a free Clakker, but freedom proves to be its own burden.

Berenice, formerly the legendary spymaster of New France, mastermind behind her nation's attempts to undermine the Dutch Hegemony -- has been banished from her homeland and captured by the Clockmakers Guild's draconian secret police force.

Meanwhile, Captain
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, steampunk
Very strong second novel in a trilogy.
The story has us follow 3 characters :
- Jax the freed Clacker who is trying to reach others freed Clackers.
- Berenice, the former spy mistress for the king of France in exile.
- Hugo, the captain of the defense of Marseilles in the West. His is the best role by far, he is full of snarky and desperate humor and makes for a wonderful character.
The book is jam packed with action as Marseilles in the West becomes under siege one third of the way in and part of th
Fantasy Literature
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed Ian Tregillis’ The Mechanical, the first book in his THE ALCHEMY WARS series, and I’m happy to say that book two, The Rising, continues the story in strong fashion, showing not a whit of sophomore slump.

The series is set in an alternative history world where Christiaan Huygens’ discoveries led to the Netherlands dominating the world via a mechanical army of “Clakkers.” The sole resistance is led by the French in North America’s “New France,” (old France has already been conq
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Pretty goddamn good.

Superbly compelling plot, characters, and world. If you're hesitating on this series because it's steampunk, don't. It's not like most/any other steampunk, and it's very well executed in its historical roots.

Chris Kayser is another apparently hidden gem in narrators. His French accent was immersive, and he had distinct, believable voices for each character, down to the robotic speech of the mechanicals.
The steam punk/fantasy adventure of Jax, a liberated "mechanical" robot/golem, continues amid the battle between the Calvinist Dutch and Catholic French monarchy in the New World. (Meanwhile, French spy Bernice goes sailing to investigate the Dutch secrets of robotic alchemy on her own.)

Exciting adventure story with some interesting philosophical underpinnings. Suck it, Asimov.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I could live without the war sequences, but interesting book all the same. Surprisingly quick read, given its size -- Tregillis is an excellent author, the words just flow right off the page.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
While still a decent story , this book felt like a bit of a let down. The author tried to make things a bit to grand scale and also introduced a new characters viewpoint. While this viewpoint is not horrible, it was honestly quite a let down for me personally as it ended up depressing the entire book. Much of the uniqueness of the original story seems to have left the book as well with the robots now just acting like super strong humans and the humans like the super strong machines. Its a bit ha ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa, alt-history
A little better than the first one, but still... not that interesting. To be honest, if I didn't have to read it, I wouldn't even start. ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book needs six stars.
Philip Shade
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A bloody good followup to Tregillis's "The Mechanical." And I don't mean bloody in the British sense, but in the "wow a lot of people die" sense.

The middle book in the Alchemy Wars trilogy "The Rising" lacks some of philosophical underpinnings that made the first book so interesting, but it makes up for that by being a page-turner of an action adventure that you won't want to put down. (No really, I was reading by candle light in the back of a bar at one point.) If you enjoyed "The Mechanical" g
Even though there were some things I didn't love about this book, I STILL REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK. I can't help but love Berenice so much, she's so arrogant and resourceful and clever and really fucking lucky. It was nice to get to see Longchamp's perspective as well. I wish there'd been some more about Queen Mab and the Lost Boys - I can only hope Tregillis will get into that in the 3rd book, because there's so much there that could be explored!

This book included a lot of battling...there were a
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
the first book had a lot of world building; this one was more non-stop action. *interesting* action. battle scenes, but with secret strategies and mechanical soldiers. queen mab's neverland of free mechanicals in the far north. near escapes, unsteady alliances, unlikely reunions.

and there were shades of the american civil war, immoral free mechanicals, and the exciting end I'd hoped for - but still really interested to see how it plays out in the next book. great series. really original, fascin
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book, and to some extent the previous book, was driven by one thing going wrong for the protagonists after another, and there are a relatively large number of skin-of-the-teeth escapes from horrific danger. These got a bit repetitive, but the world on display here is an interesting one. It doesn't quite feel fully developed; The focus on Marseille-in-the-West, New Amsterdam, and the French-Dutch conflict means that there's really no information about how any of these entities interact with ...more
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the first book in this series (The Mechanical) but this one not so much. I still thought it well written, but for me there was too much detail about the workings of the sentient robots themselves and also too much detail about the bloody battles. But it's a great idea - the concept of Holland ("the tulips") ruling most of the world because they developed sentient robots (clakkers) which became obedient servants, almost unbeatable soldiers, untiring laborers, etc. made me chuckle. The tul ...more
Don Priest
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every plot strand and character from the first book gets tied neatly together in a wonderful package this time around. Berenice and Jax have already shaken the world. Now, the Dutch are finally getting serious about eradicating the last bastion of the French monarchy. Jax continues seeking freedom, which begins to fail his expectations. Berenice is dancing on a knife edge, trying to unravel the secrets of the Clakkers in time to save her homeland. Everything comes to a head, and if you thought t ...more
Kurt Douglass
May 20, 2015 rated it liked it
I was not as impressed with the sequel as I was with the original. Every chapter of "The Rising" is comprised of a violent, drawn-out action sequence that reads more like a screenplay than a novel. Missing were the philosophical and existential speculations about free will and determinism that gave the gravitas of good science fiction to the original. Many of the new characters were one dimensional and Tregillis' frequent, over-the-top descriptions were annoying. Still, it was an exhilarating re ...more
J Haymanjrosehayman
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I cant wait for the next volume, but there are so many strands to persue, I don't know how they can be resolved in just one more book.
This was one of the most satisfying books I've read this year. The characters are vivid, and the mechanicals are just as real as the humans. In addition the plot is gripping, and full of surprises. If you haven't read the first book in the series, then that is the place to start. I recommend this book unreservedly.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Typically not a lot happens in the second book of a trilogy. It's all about the set up for the spectacular finale of the final instalment. That is not the case here: action and plot development abound.

Where this book is a little lacking compared to its excellent predecessor is that there are fewer profound questions about free will and consciousness. Nevertheless, an excellent and fascinating read.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked this installment infinitely better than the first. I don't know if that is because of the action in this book or that I finally acclimated to the alternate history. In any case, I think this story left off at a really good place, it was not at all predictable and I am really anxious to see what happens next. ...more
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Other books in the series

The Alchemy Wars (3 books)
  • The Mechanical (The Alchemy Wars, #1)
  • The Liberation (The Alchemy Wars, #3)

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