Author: Andrea Cremer (Twitter)
Publish Date: August 7, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess.When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.
Ember Morrow knows what her fate holds for her. She's destined to live and die by her father's rules, and she'll be married off at a very young age without her consent. But when circumstances change and she is called to the Conatus Guard, she jumps at the chance, relishing the opportunity to escape the rigid confines of her life. Ember learns that the world outside the Conatus is darker than she ever knew, and the magic she learns will come in handy...if she can stop herself from falling head over heels in love first. But nothing is black and white, and Ember has choices to make - ones that could cost her more than her life.
I have a confession to make. I have not read the entire Nightshade trilogy, and that is in large part to the seemingly overwhelming dissatisfaction with the series' end. I did, however, read the first book, and I loved the characters, the writing style and the journey through the pages. Rift is written in the same voice that I grew to love in the authors previous works, and I'm thrilled to say that author, Andrea Cremer, crafted a thoughtful, passionate and action-packed prequel that's every bit as thrilling as her other novels. With careful precision and expert craft, we're drawn into a world of magic and intrigue that, despite the danger, we're not certain we want to escape.
I'll admit that I was a bit hesitant to read Rift because of its daunting size. While I know that it takes time to establish a real paranormal world full of magic and multiple character arcs, I worried that I'd be stuck in a maze of a novel from which I couldn't escape. I couldn't have been more wrong. From the very first page, the book sets off at warp speed, delving into the inner workings of this world in which Ember lives. The magic is tangible and forceful, and it's clearly defined, which makes the story easier to become absorbed in. Because we're offered every intricate detail, we can see this world in sharp focus, and I had a clear vision of the light and dark elements of the story, all of which fueled the plot. Though I was worried that the time period in which Rift is set, I was pleased to find that it's an element of the story that is entirely necessary - and poignant - in terms of every event, action and setting we see throughout the book. I do have to say though, the characters are what truly made the story for me. Ember was such a well-rounded character with clear motives, intentions and personality. She wants nothing more than to break free of this mold her father seems to have in mind for her, and she has this powerful force inside of her that drives her to be (and do) more than others expect of her. Her courage and determination made it easy to become invested in her plight, and I'm thrilled to say that she's become a new favourite in terms of heroines for me. There is a also a steady, beautiful, budding romance that soars throughout the novel, rivaling that of another student/mentor relationship I loved (ahem...Vampire Academy). It's a powerful, developing relationship though; one which we see evolve from mutual admiration, to friendship and, ultimately, into a careful, steady and searing romance. Though there is a touch of a love triangle, which you probably know is the kiss of death for me, Ember's choice is always quite clear, and for that I can forgive the blasphemy of yet another triangle. My only issue with the story is that, though I loved the writing style, I struggled with the language of the story for a bit before getting comfortable with it. I'm sure it will work better for others.
Overall though, I was extremely impressed with Rift and with the adventure I took through its pages. I give it a very strong 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal stories, paranormal romance and fantasy.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.