Common Sense Media says

Sexier, slower second Nightshade prequel.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Rift began the discussion of the war that is featured prominently in the Nightshade series, but Rise takes it to a whole new level. The history of the Knights Templar, to which the Guard Ember belongs, is briefly mentioned.

Positive messages

Bravery, loyalty, love, and trust are strong themes. Ember must decide whether to stay away from Contatus and Tearmunn, which is at being overtaken by traitors and the evil creature Bosque Mar. Ember and Barrow also feel deeply for knights Kael and Lukasz, who are gay but can't profess their love for each other because of the risk of exposure.

Positive role models

Ember continues to be an honorable heroine and loyal ally of the Knight of Contatus. She will do anything to keep them safe, including her beloved knight Barrow Hess. She also fiercely protects her sister, Agnes, who seeks Ember's aid. And Agnes returns the favor in time of need. The Knights of Contaus stand up for their home to prevent the darkness from overtaking their land and lives.


Rise is very dark, with death and destruction at almost every turn. War is on the horizon, and a battle is being waged. A ship is wrecked and passengers are killed. A horse and child are also killed in the novel, but the death of the child is not shown. A minor character is beheaded, and a secondary character is slain by a sword.


Where Rift had some kisses and mild flirting between Ember and Barrow, sexual activity is taken up several notches in Rise. There's some intense kissing, and in one scene, Ember undresses before Barrow. There's an indication that Barrow engages in oral sex with her. Ember and Barrow desperately want to have sexual intercourse, but don't want to risk pregnancy. Barrow tells her that they must find someone familiar with herbs that act as birth control before they can engage in making love, but this never occurs. Alistair fantasizes about seeing Ember naked. Both Barrow and Alistair touch her breasts. Kissing and sexual intercourse between adults is also shown and mentioned briefly. Homosexuality is also discussed. Agnes is pregnant with a child out of wedlock.


"Bitch" is the only curse word. Ember swears under her breath, but there's no indication of what word she uses.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Ember, a teenager, and her fellow knights, who are adults, drink a clear, alcoholic-type beverage.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Rise is a second, sexier, slower prequel to Andrea Cremer's bestselling Nightshade werewolf series, following Rift. Rise has some violent scenes, including a beheading, the death of a horse and the death of a child used for a sacrifice. There's intense kissing, some touching, and sexual intercourse between adults is briefly shown. Oral sex is indicated but not shown. The novel also contains brief nudity.

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What's the story?

Ember has fled her home, along with Barrow Hess and two other knights, and they are now being hunted by a rising darkness. But when Ember discovers her sister is pregnant out of wedlock, she risks returning to Conatus. In order to gain access to the keep, Ember decides to toy with her friend Alistair's love for her. Will Ember be able to convince Alistair that she's not a traitor? Can she protect her sister, as well as her beloved Barrow and the Knights of Contatus, from the sinister Bosque Mar?

Is it any good?


RISE is an interesting but slow-moving addition to the Nightshade series. It's by far sexier and steamier than Rift, the first prequel, but Rift is more exciting and action-packed. All the political talk in Rise and scenes where not much happens might bore some readers. Yet, it picks up speed toward the end.

Readers will also have fun discovering how the werewolves in the Nightshade series were created, and by whom. The novel moves back and forth between the stories of Ember and Barrow and those of the villains -- Eira, Bosque Mar and Alistair. However, the villians' storyline becomes tiresome, especially Alistair's obsessive love for Ember. Some readers might end up quickly scanning these pages to get to the more exciting parts featuring Ember and Barrow. At times, Rise feels as if its written more for adults than teens, so in that sense it definitely has crossover appeal.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Nightshade series. What do you think about the author's choice do create a series of prequels after writing the main trilogy?

  • What do you think of how obsessive love is portrayed in Rise? What would you do if you knew someone was obsessively infatuated with you and you you didn't share the feeling?

  • How does having a child out of wedlock during the 15th century seem? How does that compare with how it is today?

Book details

Author:Andrea Cremer
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great girl role models, Horses and farm animals, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Ocean creatures
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 8, 2013
Number of pages:416
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Paperback

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