Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Review: Rift by Andrea Cremer

I'm always a little iffy about prequels. On one hand, they can be whole new adventures with hints of the original book woven through, while on the other, they could be stale shadows of the original. "Rift" by Andrea Cremer is the first of a two-part prequel series to "Nightshade", which I loved despite the fact that I found myself rooting for the other guy who doesn't get chosen! The series is completely different from its original series, with new characters (save our favourite bad guy!) and an entirely new world.

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.

I don't really know whether this is a new thing with me, or whether it's a sudden realization that's come to me, but I'm beginning to find these love-at-first-sight romances way too unrealistic and sappy. Unfortunately, the relationship between Barrow and Ember seemed a little too sudden and shallow to be interesting--the development of their romance consisted mostly of Ember staring at Barrow's muscles...yeah. One thing that I will give props for is Barrow's attitude toward Ember and his budding lust/love for her. He remains a gentleman, which I preferred immensely to Alistair's pretty crass what-the-hell-invoking attitude. That guy really needs to get it when he's friend-zoned.

Ember herself was an okay character to me. I liked that she had a kick-ass side to her, but she was honestly kind of boring at times. There was no self-struggle save for her inner battle against the lust/love she feels for her handsome, brooding mentor. When the only really dynamic thing or huge problem that the heroine herself faces is romance, there's just not much to work with to make her character compelling. In fact, I found myself enjoying the chapters told from Eira's point of view rather than those told from Ember's. At least Eira had some dark flaw that kept things juicy.

I am, however, fairly interested in the potential development of the plot. The big bad Bosque Mar is here (for those of you who haven't read the "Nightshade" series, he's there too!) and ready to take over the world. I liked how Ms. Cremer brought in a character from the original series--it's like an inside joke that only readers of "Nightshade" share with the author. There's a lot of potential with how the storyline could go in the next book, and I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

Overall, "Rift" is a fairly okay prequel to the original "Nightshade" series, with potential for both character and plot development in its second installment. I'd definitely recommend reading the original series first if you haven't done so already, but I'm a little iffy about the prequel series. I'd say read a couple of chapters to see whether it clicks with you, and if it doesn't, just skip it.

Rating: 2.5/5

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