Rise Against by Hailey Edwards
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published: 22nd August 2019 (Piatkus)
Luce: ‘Didn’t your mother teach you to wait until you’re invited in to enter a room?’
Santiago: ‘No. My mother ate one of my siblings because she wasn’t a fan of uneven numbers.’
After what felt like a slight wobble in Death Knell, this is a blinding return to form. Fourth and penultimate book in the Foundling Series, this instalment gives us a Luce who seems ready to be herself, finally reconciled with who she is as both human and charun. The theme of self understanding and self acceptance has been important throughout the series, but it’s especially relevant as things begin to escalate out of control. Luce has found her own way to deal with each aspect of her character, including the treacherous remnant of Conquest, always eager to resume control. Now that the dangerous, more powerful part of herself is needed for the fight, she must let it out more often. It’s a slippery slope that might well lead to oblivion. But while Luce has been knocked down hard by all the revelations, betrayals, and losses, this book is about her finding a sense of peace with it all. Or at least an accommodation. And there’s a reason for that beyond the simple passing of time. There are no more closed eyes, there’s no more holding back. It feels like the calm before the storm. Like the end is coming…
‘Believing you’re flawed, broken, or wrong was ten times easier than trusting you were perfect just the way you were or whole or right. Bad things always stick with us longer than the good. I don’t know if that’s a self-esteem problem or a human problem, but it’s true.’
Outside of the fact that Hailey Edwards has created a stunningly original world and set of characters, what this book proves is that she can pull it all together to make something truly memorable. It’s a story with multiple levels of connection, but its foundation is all heart. That this instalment goes right back to the beginning, rounding up all the people who matter the most to Luce, was exactly right. No, more than that, it was goddamn exceptional. Without giving anything away, a few much needed conversations were had and some very important things resolved. Parts were expected but others came as a genuine surprise. Most importantly, the way it was done was brilliant. Serious scenes that developed bonds between characters, ones that included all the things that needed to be said for people to move forwards, were finely balanced by the comedy we’ve come to expect. It ensured the story remained affecting without losing the fast pace and high action thrills.
Each new direction, every twist, all the feels had me grinning like crazy.
It’s really funny, with the kind of snark that has you laughing out loud. The way it forms the basis of so many of the relationships in the series is perfectly realised, the deep emotional connections so many characters would struggle to verbalise revealed through humour and bitching. Distance closed as effectively by a sarcastic comment as some big life-saving action. There’s nothing over the top about it, no exchanges that feel like they’re trying too hard. These quiet scenes are just as affecting, just as important as the crazy battles and the shock twists. The slow building of trust is heart warming and each step forwards makes you realise how much you love these characters, how much their happiness means to you. A real emotional hit. Of course, that just makes it all the more stressful to imagine what comes next, what happens when world ending war puts every single character in danger. I’m nervy as hell about it. At the same time, I can’t wait.
Now if this has made you excited got get stuck in, then I don’t blame you. But if you haven’t read this series before, don’t start here. This isn’t something you can just pick up anywhere and get stuck in. There’s too much emotional build up, never mind the sheer amount of crucial stuff that’s happened before this point. Start with Bayou Born and be part of Luce’s journey. She’s the kind of hero you can’t help but love, a real person who had all manner of trouble dumped into her lap, a fighter who will do anything to save those she loves. I’ll be with her every step of the way and you will be too.
This is definitely the best book of the series…. with just one more to go. I can’t imagine at this point how its all going to be resolved, but I trust in Hailey Edwards to keep surprising me.
This book is OUT NOW
You can order it at Book Depository (free shipping)
ARC via Netgalley