Parents' Guide to

Dark Rise

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Almost no one to root for in cruel, mature fantasy world.

Book C.S. Pacat Fantasy 2021
Dark Rise Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Kids say (3 ):

This mature fantasy shows that solid world building can't make up for characters who aren't worth rooting for. Well, there may be one: Violet. She's a brave warrior woman and finds a cause to fight for after she's betrayed by her whole family. If she stays the course, here's hoping things turn out for her. Everyone else, eh. Will is not a well-developed character at first, and then his motivations are confusing, and then he betrays his friends and a woman who falls for him and lies to everyone, including the reader. Any other characters worth spending time with are slaughtered en masse or dropped for long periods of time from the story. One intriguing character who's dropped and suddenly returns starts to garner sympathy until the stabbing starts.

Dark Rise has other glaring problems as well. That solid world building is mostly crammed into the time when Will reaches the Stewards' fortress and it slows the story down. In big moments of turmoil people and objects that are vitally important go missing or are forgotten until the last minute, which is sure to stupefy the reader. Why didn't they search for James right away? How on earth could Violet forget about the shield? Also, there's a tone set in Dark Rise in a few scenes that combines sexual innuendo and desire with violence. It's something else that may push many readers further away. It's hard to say if the author will gather the young adult fan base she desires in future Dark Rise installments.

Book Details

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