Series: Nightshade Prequel
Published by Philomel on 7 August 2012
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal
Summary from Goodreads: Chronicling the rise of the Keepers, this is the stunning prequel to Andrea Cremer's internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy! Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.
Rift is the first book in the prequel series concerning the Nightshade universe. I was completely engrossed in this story, I loved Ember, as I usually love strong female protagonists. I also really liked to understand more about what happened during the Nightshade novels, the mythology, the hunger for power, the fight against evil, and the true companionship among the the guardians of the world.
Ember is a true heroine in my opinion, she is strong, both mentally and physically. She is able to follow her own convictions, even when someone close to her is not acting the way she’d expect them to. She handles all her new challenges remarkably well, and adjusts to life in the Conatus as well as can be expected. Her childhood friend Alistair does not act completely as a friend should act, but we soon realize why after Eber arrives at the Conatus compound.
The way Ember learns to fight, and how she behaves in situations that are truly stressful made me love her. She always strives to become better, and she wants to be respected as a warrior, even more so because it is not all that common for a woman to become a warrior within the Conatus. Ember’s father is acting like his daughters belong to him – and are only good for making him more wealthy by trying to marry them off to rich men with a lot of land and other property.
Barrow is a wonderful character, a great warrior and a strong man. I have to admit I was a little miffed with him in the beginning, but he grew on me fairly quickly. He is a little stand-offish in his ways, but he is also loyal, strong, a fighter and someone who can always be counted on. He understands that Ember is strong, and he admires her for it, all the while giving her the space she needs to grow into her new position.
Eira started out as a strong woman that could be admired, but the lure of power and of changing things in the order got to her quickly, and the things she was ready to do to further her case were reprehensible.
I look forward to reading more of this series, I loved the complete Nightshade series, even the last book (I know some of my fellow readers didn’t), and I love the universe and the secrets it hides.