Title: Rising Shadow
Author: Jacquelyn Wheeler
Pages: 375 (ARC)
Received from: author
Ashlyn Woods just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops amazing powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.
Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.
And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.
I hadn't really heard much about Rising Shadow before I was contacted by the lovely Ms. Wheeler for review. So I obviously began with a pretty unbiased point of view, prepared for the scale to dip either way.
Ashlyn is, as stated above, a college student transferring schools. Right away, you get the sense of something off. The prologue--the first page, in fact--involved our girl leaping from her car window while caught in traffic and flying to discover the source of the jam. In a rather obvious trait of forboding, tis--a dream!
In the author's defense, I dig her worldbuilding--the concept that evil can't really be destroyed, only backed far enough to that it doesn't pose to large of a problem. This is where the Soterians come in. They, you know, do the backing up.
Turns out, Ashlyn is one of these Totally Awesome Dudes (who wudda thunk it?) and is drafted into this ancient group, much to the dismay of...well, herself.
I hate books like this. Not because they're badly written, or because they make me want to reread Batman comics to make me feel better. Just because its so undefinably there I can't decide whether I like it or not.
Starting with the romance; Ms. Wheeler sold her novel to me by explaining how all the love and relationship crap starts off pretty early on in the book. I liked that. No more dancing around each other like five year olds! No more going through hell and back before realizing they ZOMG belong 2getha!! No more countless pages of awkward hallway confrontations and teasing! Just get it done with, like taking off a bandaide. And for the most part, thats what was found in Rising Shadow. But then, that left more room for the actual romance--not necessarily a good thing.
Not that I have anything against Kai. I'm sure he's a really upstanding fellow and all, but he and Ashlyn didn't...work for me. There didn't seem to be any connection. Actually, no on seemed to work for me. Everyboy came off as flat archtypes. It was kind of a turn off.
Otherwise, the entire thing wasn't horrible. Again, its hard to explain. But I guess I shouldn't take it so seriously, and accept it as what it is; a fun, entertaining first enstallment to a promising new series.
Rating: 6 out of 10