This original caper is a fun read that serves as a refreshing change of pace in modern fantasy novels. Though drawing on the paranormal, Jacquelyn Wheeler does not resort to the ubiquitous mythical monsters; rather, she constructs a brand-new mythology, complete with world-saving superheroes. The history of the Soterians is marvelously detailed, making them seem utterly real despite their superhuman abilities. The cast of characters who make up the Soterians are an eclectic group whose personalities create a lively interplay as they learn to work as a unit. Christoph is the most vibrant member of the group, his sunny personality contrasting comically with his sheer massiveness.
The heroine, Ashlyn, though initially lacking heavily in self-esteem, turns out to be the tough one in her relationship with Kai -- creating a thankfully stereotype-free (if occasionally cheesy) romance. Her cynical and skeptical mental voice ground the reader in reality and make the flights of fancy in the novel seem entirely plausible. The political catalyst that drives the plot is timely, and will speak to the concerns of contemporary readers. Though this aspect initially seemed a little preachy, in the end the reasons behind it became clear. Wheeler has deftly combined realism and fantasy to build a world so vivid that readers will expect to see Soterians on every streetcorner long after the story ends.
Click here to purchase Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler
Disclosure: I received this novel as part of Teen Book Scene Tours. This did not affect my review in any way.
Come back on January 31 for a character interview with Kai!