Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Rift

RIFT
(Nightshade Prequel #1)
Andrea Cremer
Paranormal Young Adult
431 Pages
Philomel/Penguin
Available Now
Received at BEA

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Chronicling the rise of the Keepers, this is the stunning prequel to Andrea Cremer's internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy!

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.

With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels.


MY THOUGHTS 
Rift sprints from the gate as though the evil contained in its pages is nipping at its heels, immediately enveloping us in its dark and richly atmospheric world and continuing to coat us in layer after layer of complexity until we are so thoroughly ensconced in the life of the Guard that we dread the next page because it brings us one step closer to reaching the end. The time period is integral to the success of the story, the absolute control Ember’s father feels he has over her life instantaneously raising our hackles as we want nothing more than to speak out against the injustice of being treated as a commodity rather than a person. Additionally, the constant threat of zealotry from the townspeople surrounding Tearmunn as well as the Church itself–where whispers of witchcraft or an allegiance with the devil are enough to sentence any member of the Guard to a fiery fate–hangs heavy over our heads to ensure we’re fully invested in the health and welfare of Ember’s new Guard family.

Ember is an admirable heroine, choosing to embrace the path the circumstances of her birth dictated for her and throwing herself into it with a fervor that brings a smile to our faces. She's a young woman who fights what’s considered a female’s “role” in this time period, wanting to pick up arms alongside the men rather than be married and safely tucked away with a swollen belly, and she is determined to prove her mettle to the predominantly male Guard. There are times when her young age is readily apparent, mostly when she’s frustrated and takes to stomping her foot as a physical expression of that disgruntlement, but for the most part she’s someone we can easily support in her every endeavor–whether it be physical or romantic in nature.

Ember’s relationship with Barrow, her mentor in the Guard, is the kind of relationship that keeps us up late reading, following a mantra of “just one more chapter” to see if the tension thrumming between them will finally snap before we drag ourselves off to bed. They go from strangers to training partners to friends to something more at a pace designed to tease, their every interaction heavy with things left unsaid, and their every gesture garnering our intense scrutiny to see if we can decipher some meaning beyond the superficial. While there is a third player to the romance in this tale, Ember’s preference for Barrow is made clear to both us as readers as well as the other young man attempting to win her affection, therefore sparing us the formation of an actual triangle.

Readers, like me, who haven’t read the Nightshade trilogy in its entirety will have no problem settling into Ember’s world, and while we may miss some of the smaller details and hints as to what’s to come due to our ignorance, our overall enjoyment is not lessened as a result. We’re left on the last page at what’s clearly a beginning, the darkness that’s been set loose finally reaching the doorstep of Tearmunn and forcing the Guard into action, and the time until Rise is released cannot pass fast enough.

Rating: 4/5

59 comments:

  1. I have this one from the library but its overdue (bad me!) and I just don't have time to read it! Your review has me regretting that though. I love historical fantasy books. But I guess I can just try again in the future maybe... or I can say screw it and try to read it real fast. I guess we'll see. Maybe I will try to renew it and read it.

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    Replies
    1. I vote for the screw it and read real fast option:) It's a quick read despite being a thick book!

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  2. Yay! So glad that you liked this one, Jenny! I really enjoyed this one as well and I had never read the Nightshade series before.
    This reminded me a little of Grave Mercy, yet another favorite of mine, because of the historical setting!
    I love how you described Ember and Barrow's relationship :

    "Ember’s relationship with Barrow, her mentor in the Guard, is the kind of relationship that keeps us up late reading, following a mantra of “just one more chapter” to see if the tension thrumming between them will finally snap before we drag ourselves off to bed."

    That's exactly why I kept reading the book non-stop even though it was so late. Ember and Barrow reminded me of Rose and Dimitri!

    I'm excited to read the next book.

    Lovely review, Jenny! :)

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    Replies
    1. I still need to read Grave Mercy! Fail. I could not stop reading this one, I had to know if Ember and Barrow finally got together. I was hurting the next day I was so tired, but it was worth it:)

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  3. I only read the first Nightshade book and maybe the second ( I cannot remember) But somehow this earlier setting intrigued me and I heard lots of awesome things about this! I am so happy to hear that you liked it and that it#s fine to read it whieout having finished the Nightshade books!

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    Replies
    1. I only read the first Nightshade book as well. I loved the earlier time period of this one and the fact that there's no love triangle:):)

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  4. I did not know about this one, still maybe I should read that nightshade book first anyway ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'd be fine starting this series first given it's a prequel, then you'd have all the information going into the Nightshade series itself:)

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  5. Oooohhh!! I have the first two in the Nightshade series and thought about reading them next. Glad you liked it, because it gives me hope maybe I'll enjoy Nightshade since they're both by the same author and in the same world. Eeek! I'm excited. I'm not usually the one to read wolf books, so that says a lot. Heh.

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    Replies
    1. I enjoyed Nightshade, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed this one. I highly recommend giving this series a try even if the Nightshade books don't end up being your favorites!

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  6. Really enjoyed the relationship between Ember and Barrow -- they were an odd connection but it worked. Poor Ember -- I would not have been pleased to live back then when women had to fight for control of their lives from the man in their lives.

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    Replies
    1. I would have not been pleased to be a woman back then either. Being traded to the highest bidder thanks with the full permission of my father would not have been amusing:)

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  7. Phew! I like the sound of this but I didn't really like Nightshade and I never made it past book 1, so I was worried I wouldn't be able to read/understand this one. I'm so glad I was wrong.
    Ember sounds like a great heroine, and her relationship with Barrow sounds very appealing. The love triangle thing worries me a bit, but I guess I can live with it if it's not very angsty.
    Wonderful review, Jenny! So elegant.

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    Replies
    1. I had no trouble with this world despite only having read the first book of the trilogy, so you should be good to go. And I adored Ember and Barrow!

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  8. This sounds like a promising new series. I loved the Nightshade series (except the last book) and am definitely interested in in Rift. I really like Cremer's writing style- always action packed and it seems Rift is the same way. Thanks for the recommendation! Great review, Jenny!

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    Replies
    1. This one was definitely action-packed:) Never a dull moment for Ember!

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  9. I still have Nightshade sitting unread on my bookshelf. I feel like I have FAILED somehow, Jenny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FAILURE! *laughs and points* Ha! I kid. You're not a failure, but I do highly recommend this book. Maybe you'll end up liking Nightshade even more if you know how things came to be after reading this prequel series:)

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  10. I have not read the Nightshade series, although it is on my wishlist, so this would be a good intro to get a feel for it, lovely review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still need to finish that series, but for now, this prequel series has me hooked, so I'm definitely going to finish it out first!

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  11. As you know I've had a bittersweet experience with the Nightshade series, particularly with its conclusion, but I've been curious about this prequel series. I'm surprised I haven't read many reviews of this one but I'm thrilled that you can enjoy this series independently and there isn't a love triangle lurking here.

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    Replies
    1. I was worried about a love triangle given the Nightshade series, but Ember makes it clear early on that she has feelings for Barrow, and she sticks with them:)

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  12. OMG! Jenny!!! I HEART THIS BOOK! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I really do. I love the back history to the beginning of the Nightshade. I can not wait to read the next one.

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  13. Oh I haven't read the Nightshade trilogy, so I don't think that I would any of the issues mentioned with this book either. I love the way you described the relationship between Ember and Barrow, the slow building tension, I love seeing it in books! Another lovely review Jenny! I may just have to give this book a try! :)

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  14. I never finished the trilogy. I was upset by the triangle and just didn't get to it. Still might finish that one tho. Oh but this one sounds perfect for me. Ember sounds like Calla in the first book and I really enjoyed her in that book. Yep, needs to get this one.

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  15. I haven't read this series yet and I think this prequel might be a good place to start. At least the one more chapter on this one won't bite you in the bite tomorrow morning because it isn't too long so you shouldn't have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning,

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  16. Great review! I have the first two in the series sitting on my shelf...I feel like I really need to re-evaluate where they sit on my TBR now!

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  17. Training partners! It seems like there is always some sort of training scenario in books these days. Though I'm not complaining as it usually leads to interesting situations romance-wise. ;) I'm looking forward to meeting Ember and Barrow! Brilliant review as always. :)

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  18. It's good to know that you don't have to have read Nightshade to read this - I like the sound of this much better. Nightshade was a huge disappointment for me, so perhaps I'll check this out now with such a high rating from you. Fantastic review, Jenny! :D

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  19. Glad to you know you don't have to read the whole Nightshade series. I've only read the first one. I'd like to finish the trilogy before tackling this one though.

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