Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

So, I have the ARC for this. (It comes out April 2nd). And frankly I have no idea how I have held off reading this for so many weeks. I love Kelley Armstrong. I’ve super enjoyed her two YA series. And I knew this book was going to include my favorite characters from the first series!
Reading a final book in a series is really hard. I don’t ever want to finish it too soon because then I know its fully over. Though, with YA lately, do you ever really know when stuff is done? But, also I just wasn’t too impressed with the beginning.
It takes place not long after book two finished. Maya’s crew (which is now just Daniel and Corey because the others are gone, dead, or captured) reaches out to a contact that turns out to be a false lead. However, the false lead does end up brining the kids to Maya’s long-lost twin brother, Ash. So not all is lost. Her brother has clearly not had an easy life and doesn’t exactly bring any optimism to the already depressing life on the run.
There’s reunions, running, gun shot wounds, captures, and escapes! They also get the opportunity to witness their own funeral. And while the first half of the book is jam-packed with action, I couldn’t help but feel I’d read it all before. There were just a few too many similar plotlines to the other books that came before it. Again, the main character finds herself captured and needing to escape. Again the bad guys come off as not quite as bad as originally believed. Again, there’s someone on the inside helping the main character. And again, against all odds the character leaves the bad guys in her wake to return to another safe spot where she hopes her friends are still waiting.
Stuff really picked up for me though with the love triangle. I loved watching Maya realize that there were two boys in love with her. It was pretty hilarious. I also loved getting to know her rebellious brother. But what I loved most was the combining of the project Pheonix kids with the Edison group kids. Seeing my old favorite characters again was pretty epic! And I loved how they all interacted with each other. I also loved seeing what relationships/friendships developed there. (I was actually finally for once happy with the epilogue!).
Any way, when the two groups combine, a final outcome/possible solution is formed. And I guess I just felt so relieved and happy that these kids might possibly be able to have a life that wasn’t always about being on the run. I liked that the characters wanted more than that because I didn’t get the feeling that they did at the end of the first series. And I liked that there was no real black and white any more: good and bad were a little blurred. Getting to a possible solution though is hard. It involves more kids being shot, captured, and knocked out. But that little inkling of hope, made the story just pick up so much more.
What surprised me the most was actually that I enjoyed all the relationship drama over all the action/suspense. I think I’m just too used to Armstrong’s style, and I was wanting a little bit more. All the same, there’s a smorgasbord of supernatural powers, plenty of running for their lives, and lots of violence. I loved how Maya was still mostly in charge. I loved watching her interactions with Ash and not putting up with anyone’s complaints. It was also interesting to read more about Maya’s culture. It wasn’t really talked about except in respect to her being picked on/hit on for her appearances, but still. I like having a main character who’s different.
Armstrong is really great at interactions and dialogue. I loved all the scenes with all of the teens interacting. She just gets it. She’s also excellent at the love triangle. I never was too disgusted with it, like I can be sometimes with YA love triangles. And I loved how highly Maya valued friendship. She never let boys get in the way of her friends. And she just comes off as way cooler/more independent person for this. She was sometimes really oblivious and kind of stupid, but she kind of made up for this in her other strengths, like loyalty and bravery.
I’m not the biggest fan of any of the adults in these books. Even Maya’s adoptive family (which rocked) were a little unreal for me. I mean how can they be living where they did and not figure some things out? But still, having no adults around gave everything a big kid power kick, which I love.
I give this one a 9/10. I loved the ending. I really did. I pretty much loved the whole 2nd half of the book. I just feel like the first half of the book was a little too formulaic/done before. All the same, I can say I’m happy with this ending. I can see the author possibly picking up this world/list of characters again in the distant future if she wanted to, but I like where it ended and it doesn’t need more –not that I would complain if there was.

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