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.
Set at a time when the Church holds much influence and authority, the story starts off with Ember being called to serve as a guard in Conatus. Without much fighting experience, Ember quickly learns that combating requires much more skills than just physical strength. Although Ember enjoys her training, she finds herself attracted to her mentor, Barrow. As the villagers accuse the people in Conatus practicing dark magic, the clerics, craftsmen and warriors in Conatus must work together to diffuse the accusation. But what if there is some truth in the accusation … what if dark magic has already taken roots inside the walls of the Conatus stronghold in Tearmunn?
Being a fan of the Nightshade series, I was eager to find out what might have happened in the Prequel to cause the war between the Searchers and the Keepers. Rift takes us back to a time where people travel in horse carriages and guards use daggers, swords and arrows to defend the lands.
I like the setting. It’s medieval but not uninteresting. I like that the guards have to fight against mischievous and dangerous magical creatures like kelpies, redcaps and hobgoblins. I like that the warriors have to trust one another as a team and be willing to die for one another in a battle.
It’s interesting to see how quickly Ember adapts to her new life as a guard in Conatus. Having an eagerness to prove herself as a worthy apprentice among the guards, Ember starts out ignoring the warnings of her mentor but quickly learns that taking precaution is a vital step to stay alive. I like that she is strong but not overly stubborn. I like that she takes action to learn as best as she can to be ready to fight against the mysterious creatures that she thought would only exist in fairy tales and bedtime stories. But my favorite character is Barrow. Being the mentor, he constantly has to pay attention to the strengths as well as the weaknesses of his apprentice. When Ember feels troubled by her friend, Barrow takes her out of the walls of Tearmunn so that she can have some quiet, peaceful time in nature. He is caring, protective but not possessive. I like that he upholds his respect for women and he actually says “I love you” when he really means it.
With an ending that helps me see how darkness can deceive and bring out the worst in people, I now feel like I must get my hands on Rise the sequel. I bet I’ll be reading and writing a review on Rise very soon.