Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler

After a long, disastrous relationship, Ashlyn Woods wants nothing more than a normal college experience -- focusing on her classes and ignoring her male classmates. Unfortunately, normalcy isn't in the cards. On her very first day, things immediately go awry: staring professors, mind-reading roommates, and dreams that come eerily to life. Yet the answer is even more bizarre. Ashlyn is a member of an ancient legion whose powers appear only when Evil gains the upper hand. Suddenly, she and her fellow Soterians are all that stand between California and utter destruction.

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.

Rating: 


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!





7 comments:

Karen said...

Interesting! A very original premise. I hadn't heard of this before, thanks for the review! I'll keep an eye out.

GMR said...

Hmm...sounds interesting but that cover is giving me a case of deja vu. Can't place it though.... *ponders*

Lisa said...

This sounds like such a great book. Plus the girl on the cover has such amazing green eyes. I'm a bit jealous.

Lindsi said...

Intriguing! I've seen this book here and there, but never really gave it much thought. I guess I need to go back and reevaluate ;) Awesome review Casey! You have a unique writing style :) LOVE it!

Jacquelyn Wheeler said...

Thanks for the review, Casey! Your summary is seriously so much better than what I wrote for the back cover of Rising Shadow. I love your style and hope to read something by you some day. Are you working on anything?

lisa :) said...

I keep telling myself not to embark on reading any more new series (since I'm in the middle of so many!), but then you keep pointing out ones that sound SO GOOD! *sigh* I'm doomed to an ever-growing TBR list. ;)

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Thank you so much Jacquelyn! I actually just started working on something, but I have a hard time balancing my reading with my writing! I don't know how authors do it!

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