Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here.
I have to say that I was so happily surprised with this book! Rise by Luis Almonte was such an easy and enjoyable read. I was sucked into the world immediately and I seriously need to know what happens next!
Maybe it’s because I’m in a bit of a Young Adult kick right now, but I just couldn’t get enough of this story. The novel’s protagonist, Alexia Wick, is a high school sophomore who has way more than school on her mind. She’s a witch in the Alerium coven, preparing for the pre-trials, a rite of passage that, should she pass, will earn her great respect. She must try to harness her power and live up to her parents expectations. But what happens when she falls in love? And what happens when the guy she falls in love with has a dark secret? Alexia must push herself to new limits in this fantastic and fast-paced story that will leave you begging for more. And you’ll be left asking yourself, can Alexia rise to the challenge?
This book was filled with twists, some of them very predictable, while others I never saw coming. For example, I guessed Kaleb (Alexia’s boyfriend)’s secret right off the bat. I think it was meant to be obvious, though, so it didn’t feel frustrating. But then you have the events that happen during the challenge, and I didn’t see them coming at all.
I feel like a trigger warning is needed because yes, this book does contain vampires. And people tend to run away now at the mere mention of this amazing creature. We can probably thank Twilight for that (I still enjoy it though). But do not shy away from this book on that principle. This novel is about witchcraft more than anything else, it just happens to have vampires in it. And these vampires don’t sparkle in the daylight. But they aren’t like Dracula, either. It’s described almost like a shapeshifter-like quality, and the description honestly reminded me of Buffy. Those vampires are pretty beautiful until they get out their fangs. This is the same kind of thing, which I liked.
Rise incredibly fast-paced, and I both loved and hated this! On one hand, it was wonderful because there’s nothing worse than a book that drags. Almonte gave us all of the information quickly and effectively, allowing us to enjoy the ride instead of rolling our eyes and asking, “God, why isn’t this over yet?”. But there are certain things I would have loved to spend more time on. The Trials, for instance. Alexia describes them as lasting a full day, or that they seemed to last for hours, whereas they don’t even last a chapter. It feels like minutes, and I wish Almonte would have delved deeper there. He definitely had the time, and he should have taken it.
There were a few spelling and grammatical errors, but for the most part the book was tidy. Almonte captured perfectly what it felt like to be a 15 year old girl. I have to particularly applaud him on Arianne! There were quite a few moments where she was the epitome of a mean girl. I knew a couple of girls like her in school, and he was able to make the reader despise, pity, and fear her all at once. It was very well done.
If I was strictly rating this without taking the genre into account, I’d have to give it 3/5 stars, because there were a lot of tropes and it felt a little rushed. But given that it’s YA, I’m giving it 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed it! It was a fun story, something that left me wanting more, and I thought the way Almonte covered witchcraft was intriguing. He separated himself from the pack on this one. I would recommend this to any YA lovers, especially those who love that paranormal/fantasy element!
Be sure to check out other reviews and the novel itself over at Online Book Club! Believe me, if you love YA, you’ll love this!