Title: Rift (Book .5 in – prequel to – Nightshade Trilogy)
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel Books – Penguin Group
Release Date: August 7, 2012

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.

I think that this book is better than the actual Nightshade series. Despite some predictability – in the plot and in the relationships – the fresh betrayal and intrigue, the medieval weaponry (like in Calla’s story), and the whole female warrior in a man’s world (but without the paranormal element in the main character) made it more interesting to me. Ember is an amazing character, and even though it’s written only in the third person, her voice comes across very strongly and so clearly that I feel every emotion that she does, and she thoughts and opinions are so clear to the reader.

One thing that made this book semi-unique from most YA fiction these days is that despite the “love triangle” with the best friend and the new guy, Ember rejects the friend’s advances so strongly. I love her clear notions of what she wants, or at least what she doesn’t want. She is such a strong character, and when she has no direction, she is dangerous and semi-unstable. However, Barrow gives her stability. After she is freed from her father, Barrow keeps her sane and in control over herself and her emotions. And I love that about him and his relationship with her. Although were points when I could have gladly kicked him in the shin.

The book was rife with emotional turmoil, especially from Ember’s vantage point, but with other characters as well. Alistair saddens me, as does Eria, but it’s also interesting to see how some things relate to the Nightshade series, like the Weavers and, unfortunately, Bosque Mar. Making the connections between the two parts of the story was fun and definitely a lot of fun to read. Besides all that, though, the cover is simply beautiful. I love the weapons in her hand, and reading about Silence and Sorrow in the book was awesome. I love the fierce, yet matter-of-fact look in the model’s eyes – it perfectly portrays Ember, and of course it doesn’t hurt that she’s pretty. The blue background with the silver-white of the title and the blades create a stunningly gorgeous trap for any reader who looks at it.

If you’ve read the Nightshade books, then this prequel is definitely a book for you. I can’t wait to read Rise, the second prequel (the sequel to the prequel, if that makes sense). Looking forward to it!

~Yours Truly

**Note: this book is recommended for 13 & up due to some sexual content/references.


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