4 out of 4 stars
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There are very few occasions lately that I feel totally consumed by a book. More often than not, I've found myself discouraged and let down with what I have read. Rise by Luis Almonte is the true exception. Published in August of 2016, Almonte takes us on an original journey in his first novel, a contemporary Young Adult fantasy story. Rise is book one in the Trifecta series, with the other books still pending release. At a length of 212 pages, Rise is a short but totally consuming novel.
Our main character in the story is fifteen-year-old Alexia Wick, a witch in training. The story comes from the perspective of Alexia, which is appropriately relatable to a young adult reader. Alexia comes from a family of witches who are a part of the coven called Alerium. Alexia attends school at South Haven Academy for the Gifted and Talented, where there are two other covens in attendance as well. All witches are eventually called upon for the Pre-Trials, which is a test where certain witches are called upon to prove their abilities before they are considered for competition in the Trials. The Trials ultimately detail the amount of authority witches will have, and what level of spells they will be allowed to use. Although Alexia is a descendant of prominent witches already, she fears the outcome of the Pre-Trials and her ability to succeed for her coven.
Slowly starting to feel a drift with her best friend, Alexia dreads going to school. On the first day back after the summer vacation, Alexia runs into (literally) someone new, who immediately catches her attention. Kaleb is attractive, friendly, and shows the same amount of interest back to Alexia. While finding herself so drawn to Kaleb, Alexia enjoys the distraction from the Trials that he offers. Just as quickly as she finds herself involved with Kaleb, Alexia learns a dark secret that could tear them apart completely. Fighting to stay true to her coven and family are always foremost in her mind, but doesn't her happiness matter as well?
I was pleasantly surprised with how well the writing was done on this novel, as you can tell the author took careful consideration into how the reader would see the story in their own mind. As I was reading, I already had a complete picture in my mind of how the story would play out. The intense action and suspense kept me engaged until the end, and even then left me wanting more. The pace of the story was very steady, without lagging moments to drag out. I was also a fan of how this book stayed true to the young adult genre, with all dialogue and relationships remaining PG appropriate. As we already know, Rise is book one in the series, and I am already looking forward to hearing the rest of the story- with hopefully finding out more about Kaleb and his involvement.
It is my pleasure to give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars, with absolutely no complaints that I can come up with. (Other than having to wait for the second book.) The character development shown in this story is what makes it all so relatable for a me as a reader, and I look forward to reading more about Alexia's journey. Rise is very appropriate for Young Adult readers, but also still interesting enough for an adult to enjoy just as well. I look forward to reading more from this author, as his potential shines through so well in his writing.
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