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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Strong messages of having faith in yourself and embracing who you are. Loyalty, empathy, selflessness, bravery help in the fight against prejudice and genocide.
Positive Role Models
Six major characters get a turn at narration: Hassan, Jude, Anton, Ephyra, Beru, and Hector. Jude has the most positive change as he begins to believe in himself more, allows himself to love. Ephyra, once again, changes for the worse. She lets power overcome her, does horrible things to keep it, including more murder. LGBTQ+ characters are represented. The main love story of the three is between two men. Talk of lesbian couples.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of deaths by the magical stealing of someone's life force, by sword, by falling into a pit. Possession and blood sacrifice. Fistfights, some in an arena for profit, some in heated arguments, one brawl in the streets when people are subjected to a mood-altering vapor. Talk of torture and two suicides. Talk of how forces would like to bring about the end of the world.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and groping, straight and LGBTQ+. A straight couple has sex repeatedly, not described beyond kissing passionately and being pulled down on a bed. Innuendo.
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Rare, but includes "horses--t," "s--t," "bastard, "d--ks," and "piss."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine and hard liquor drunk by 19-year-olds. Jude gets very drunk once. A few scenes in taverns with drinking. A mention that Anton's father "drank himself to death."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Katy Rose Pool's As the Shadow Rises is the second book in a fantasy trilogy for mature teens about prophets, kingdoms, magic, and possible end times. This sequel has more sexual content than the first book, There Will Come a Darkness. Straight characters have sex repeatedly, though it's not described beyond kissing passionately and being pulled down on a bed. Other straight and LGBTQ+ characters kiss and grope. Violence is less intense -- only mentions of torture this time -- but there are still a lot of deaths by the magical stealing of someone's life force, by sword, and by falling into a pit. There are also a lot of fistfights, some in an arena for profit, some during heated arguments, and a massive brawl breaks out in the streets when people are subjected to a mood-altering vapor. Drinking is prevalent for the main characters, who are all around 19 years old. Usually it's wine or liquor in moderation, but one character gets very drunk. Swearing is rare but includes "s--t." Some characters fare well in this book. Jude learns to believe in himself and embraces who he is. Other characters fare worse. Ephyra lets power consume her and does horrible things to keep it, including murder.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of the first book will be thrilled with this sequel, which combines ample helpings of romance, magic, and twisty dark prophesies. There are six major characters here that each get their turn narrating. The most compelling narrators are Jude and Anton. Their forbidden romance heats up, Jude questions his rigid religious beliefs that keep him from what he desires, and they both run from zealots that want to strip them of power and destroy the world. They are very easy to root for. Ephyra, on the other hand, is hard to root for. She thinks murder solves everything and starts a disastrous sexual relationship with someone she doesn't trust. Her treasure-hunting escapades are exciting, though.
The other two storylines also add intrigue. Prince Hassan falls in with the wrong rebels, who have more violent aims, and uncovers some important relics. Beru and Hector find a little romance and an evil force in the desert. Because they are all part of the Prophecy, you know the storylines have to come together eventually, and they do in dramatic, twisty fashion. Some of the twistiness is hard to follow -- like whose side the Hierophant is really on -- but the thrilling conclusion sets up the finale well.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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