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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Uprising by Dawn Jayne


Heralds are the most powerful of all angels, secretive and feared, created for a single purpose. Only those most courageous and worthy earn a place within the elite choir, and only by breaking ancient oaths held sacred can the honor be stripped. It's a punishment that hasn't been imposed in over two-thousand years, until a single reckless act sets off a firestorm, threatening to consume all creation.

Rise Hawke never suspected she'd been marked to play a role in the deadly events unfolding in the spiritual realm. Independent and resistant to authority, she isn't thrilled when she meets Dominik, an angel with new wings, an old grudge, and a mysterious agenda he's determined to impose.

Vowing to uncover the secrets kept from her, Rise soon learns that knowing what you are isn't nearly as dangerous as discovering why. Hunted by those who want to destroy her, and controlled by those who would see her fulfill her purpose, she is forced into a brutal battle set in motion long before she was ever born. It soon becomes clear that what one angel will risk to earn the title of Herald, is matched only by what another will do to keep it.

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An oddly compelling book that starts off fairly low key and unassuming, but gradually builds upon itself, pulling you in deeper as it goes. It reads quite quickly, even for a slow reader like myself, and for a long while it seems merely ordinary. Good, but ordinary. Then, somehow, it becomes more than that, and by the end it will have you all turned right round wondering which way is up in this complicated tale, and just how deep does the rabbit hole go, for I don't think we've even begun to plumb its depths by the end of this book.



The world the author builds in this book is quite fascinating, and includes a rather unique take on angels, the higher powers that exist, and the nature of souls both human and celestial. In particular she manages to weave together the seemingly opposed ideas of Free Will and Predestination in a way that manages to make sense, albeit a somewhat confusing sort of sense. I only wish that a little bit more had been explained as to the nature and purpose of the different celestial choirs and what deadly sin each of the 7 colors of souls corresponds to. Many are defined, but there are others that are mentioned yet never truly explained, though to be fair such explanations aren't strictly necessary to the story and explaining everything likely would have resulted in too much info dumping.

Rise is an easy enough character to relate to, and her frequent anger and uncertainties are completely understandable given the various things she's already had to endure in her short life. Initially you want to feel sorry for her, but she's so independent and so proactive about trying to change her situation for the better that you can't help but admire her. She's thrown into a great many difficult situations, given only dribbles of information for a long time and flat out denied explanations that most would feel are owed her, so it's hard not to feel her frustration along with her. Just when you think you have her figured out though, she goes and does something unexpected and you once again have to re-evaluate what you think of her. Much the same can be said of Dominick, though I'm not sure we ever really get any real insights into his character but instead we merely get to see various facets of him that don't seem to gel into any sort of cohesive whole. Then again, perhaps his true character really is that multifaceted and self-contradictory. Whatever the case, it's obvious by the end that there are deep-seated ties between him and Rise that are only beginning to come to light. No doubt these will be further explored and revealed in future books in the series.

****SPOILER ALERT****
If I have one criticism here, it's that there is far too much coincidence involved in everything for my taste. By the end of the book, almost everyone we've met ends up tightly related or connected to everyone else in one way or another, most revolving around the same event that we witness at the beginning of the book. While this is kind of neat in a way, it also gets carried out to an extent that begins to strain the bounds of believability. I would have preferred it if everything hadn't been tied up into such a neat little ball. Another minor quibble is that I find it hard to believe that Rise's adoptive father would have just let her walk away seemingly so easily given what a controlling ass he is. It's not like she was really hiding from him.
****END SPOILERS****

Overall, while this book left my somewhat confused, thoughts in a jumble, I have to conclude that such is a good sign and is something that's in the book's favor. It's part of what brought my rating up, for honestly this was riding at a solid 3 or somewhere in between a 3 and 4 star rating for me most of the way. The twists at the end, and that dumbstruck feeling it left me with, cinched the deal for a 4 or slightly above. I'd recommend this to anyone that likes non-traditional stories about angels, likes urban fantasy, or simply likes a book that will make you think a bit. I'll definitely be interested in reading the sequels to this one to see where the story goes from here.

1 comment:

  1. *Spoiler alert*

    I share your thoughts about her father. I kept expecting him to come banging at her front door and they never did anything at all!

    I did like how everything linked with everyone, though. I thought it was pretty neat but that's just me.

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