Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: Rift by Andrea Cremer

Author: Andrea Cremer
Release Date: August 14th 2012 (AUS) | August 7th 2012 (US)
Publisher: Atom (AUS/UK) | Philomel
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: Hachette Australia for the review copy!
Discover where the Nightshade series began. . .

Ember has always known that she owed her life to a mysterious order of Knights who saved her as a baby. The same order of Knights who called her best friend to service, leaving her behind to play the dutiful daughter.

But shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Alistair returns. Although he seems altered - shadowed and brooding - Ember places her trust in him, knowing that he's her one chance to escape.

Little does she know what danger lies ahead. For this is a tumultuous time, and Ember will soon be caught up in an age-old struggle between darkness and light. Neither she, nor her heart, can possibly survive unscathed.

While set in the same world as her Nightshade series, Andrea Cremer's Rift takes place hundreds of years before Calla and her wolf pack stalk the woods of Vail. Rift follows an entirely new set characters (with a reappearance from a known enemy), and surrounds us with a beautiful new land (hello, Scotland!). If you haven't read the Nightshade trilogy, fear not, because you can easily slip into Rift's stunning tale of daggers and swords, magic and monsters, treachery and romance. Fans of the series, however, will take away something a little extra, as we see what really spurred on the creation of the Guardians (while we see no hint of paw in Rift, there's no doubt that furry tails will someday soon be entering Ember's world) and what divided a once united group, into what will become the Keepers and Searchers. It's one thing to read reference to an event in history, but to view it on a more personal level? To become entwined in the love, betrayal, heartache and action-packed danger these people are facing every day? That makes it all the more compelling, makes history truly come alive. 

In Rift's day and age, woman are expected to marry and bear children for their men. They're not permitted to fight in wars and wield deadly weapons. But hidden at the heart of Conatus, there are woman fighting alongside the Guard (albeit, few in number), woman just as strong and skilled as the men. Thanks to a deal made at her birth, Ember Morrow is about to become one of these woman. Ember is thrilled to be free of her father's overbearing reign. She was not born to spin a wheel and sew, or bend to the will of a male. At her core is a blazing spirit, eager to ignite the world. It's hard not to form an instant liking to Ember; her confidence, strong set of morals and willingness to learn make for a mighty and admirable heroine. Even though she's unprepared for the monsters that lay at the heart of the evil Conatus fights, she doesn't let fear overpower her, and stalls tall, stands proud and slashes down her opponents with beautiful courage. She is going to make one hell of a warrior by the end of the series!

Ember trains under the mentorship of Lord Barrow Hess, a man who fascinates and thrills her with his deadly grace and gentlemanly... manliness! You can't blame the girl for falling for him. Unlike Nightshade, there is no love triangle drawing it's geometry in Rift, though there is another man, one who I assure won't be winning hearts any time soon! There's a flame simmering every time Ember and Barrow make interaction, but it doesn't overwhelm the story. It's set to a low simmer, maintaining a steady warmth that gradually builds in heat. When the flames rise up, you're consumed as much as they are, but when the plot demands attention, those flames don't incinerate it's significance. I love the balance of overall plot and romance.

Rift not only follows Ember's journey, but another woman warrior named Eira. This provides an intriguing parallel. Both woman play pivotal roles in the progression of the upcoming war. One is a warrior in training, strong in her values and intent to fight evil; the other is already revered and awed for her deadly skills, but in her beats a heart that craves more. And when the darkness offers that something more, are her morals as strong as her armor? It makes such interesting reading to see how the choices of these women take them on such differing paths and how supposedly good intent can twist into something much more sinister.

Andrea Cremer weaves the perfect balance between action, romance, supernatural, politics and history. You'll easily grow to love Ember and cheer on as she becomes embroiled in an exciting new world that equal parts terrifies and invigorates her. Rift does not fail to deliver everything that makes the Nightshade series such a success, and while the future surely does not bode well for our young heroine, I cannot wait to continue this journey with her!
 4/5 Golden Apples!

14 comments:

  1. I loved reading about Ember in Rift and I'm glad there wasn't really a love triangle. Great review!
    -Danna

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  2. I adored this book and I actually thought it WAY better than the Nightshade series, which I wasn't exactly a huge fan of . . . mostly because I was disappointed by the last book. Anyway yet another fab review coming from you, Brodie! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. Oh my WOW. How the HELL have you got me so excited for a prequel to a series I haven't even read? And and and... for some reason I KNEW this was set centuries before Nightshade, but I never stopped to think that, well, it was set centuries before, and historical and and and and... umm... I is excitered? Oh, and how you've described the romance. And the badassery. And Ember's longing for more... and and and AND! DJFHAJDF. ME WANTY.

    YOUR REVIEW. IT IS MADE OF AMAZING. Seriously, you have drive Sarah nuts with NEEDING TO READ BOOK NOW SUPER POWERS O____O

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  4. Incredible Review Brodie!!!!! This book sounds terrific! I like the sound of a confident heroine! Thank goodness there is romance in this story that does not overwhelm the whole plot! And a historical fiction story! Yay!!

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  5. I LOVE the sound of this, and your review was so good, Brodie! <3 I've yet to read the Nightshade series, (so maybe I shall read that first, so I can take that little extra XD) but I love the sound of Ember. It was awesome the way you described her, and her name certainly fits with her personality! GAAAH, my poor TBR list is stretching longer and longer >_< Thanks for another amazing review, Brodie!

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  6. I have been on the fence about reading this one, but your review....BRODIE! You make me want to read it NOW! I love the balance of plot and romance you speak of, too often this is not the case. I also think Ember sounds all kinds of awesome. Yup, I shall read this soon. Another awesome review!

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  7. I LOVE her Nightshade series, so I can't wait to get a hold of this. Ember sounds like an awesome girl and I'm excited to see more about the origin of the Guardians and the divide that was created. Awesome review, Brodie! :)

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  8. Lovely review! I'm glad to see you enjoyed it! I haven't yet finished Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series (I'm avoiding the last book after what I've heard!) but I did enjoy the first couple of books. Hopefully this will be just as entertaining for me too. It's cool that it's set in a different time period - I completely missed that fact at first! :)

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  9. Would you recommend reading Nightshade before this series, or could I read Rift first? I'm really intrigued by it as it's set in the past and I like that Ember is one of the women who fight alongside the Guard! Great review, you've definitely got me more excited for this book.

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    1. I think you would be absolutely fine reading Rift first. There's all new characters, it's before any of the events in Nightshade even happened, so there's nothing you actually need to know prior to reading. But for those who've read Nightshade, it's interesting to learn how everything originally began!

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  10. LOVE your blog re-design!

    As for the review, I'm very glad to hear there's no love triangle! I don't know that I could handle another Ren-like heartache! And why can't the US cover be this pretty?!

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  11. This sounds really good and I love the cover, too! Ember sounds like a kickarse girl-warrior!

    I still haven't read the Nightshade books that I won from you - I better read 'em soon so I can catch up and read Rift!

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  12. The Aussie cover is so PRETTY! It looks like watercolours and I loooove those swirly patterns! <3

    Ember sounds FABULOUS! I love that she's not immediately comfortable with the horrors she's facing but that she manages to reign in her fear and learn to deal with it. She sounds like an amazing character to narrate the history of Andrea Cremer's fascinating world. And I'm so happy that the romance isn't overwhelming!

    Are you sure that you're human, Brodie? How can one person write such convincing reviews EVERY. SINGLE. TIME?

    Sonia

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  13. Oo Can't look yet as I have to read this. Just need to put treachery and Bloodrose under my belt first. I liked that you had 4 golden apples, yay! I must admit I think I like US covers better I like having a girl visual, but that is ok:D

    Mich

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