Author: M. Ainihi
Genre: Dark Fantasy
An ordinary Saturday morning hike sends Amanda to a magical world of genies and evil sorcerers after she and her father stumble across ancient ruins in the forest. When Amanda tries to unearth a strange relic buried in the ground, she falls into an underground cellar. She has no idea how she escapes from what should have been her coffin, but she’s pretty certain it has something to do with the mysterious guy who materializes out of thin air in the middle of her kitchen.
Rise is perfect for young adult fans of fantasy and adventure. It is the unique story of a teenage girl who accidentally summons a genie, one who does not disappear after three wishes, like the ones in folklore, but is bound to his home and her service “til death.” To be freed, either Amanda or Erol the genie must die. To further complicate things, an evil sorcerer seeks Erol, and now Amanda, to help him track down a ring that will give him the power to alter the world.
This unique plot, combined with the magical worlds that M. Ainihi weaves in her novel, makes Rise a memorable tale. Enthusiasts of Sarah J. Maas will enjoy the dark world of jinn (genies) and evil sorcerers that Ainihi creates and will find themselves wanting to know more about this mythical place. Fans who enjoy the Twilight series will take an interest in the romantic triangle Amanda finds herself caught in, as she has to decide with whom she can trust her life and heart: her genie, Erol, or the ifrit sworn to find the magic ring at all costs, Aden.
While Rise moves quickly, it sometimes lacks the depth to develop the characters and background fully. The world of genies and magic has a long history, which Amanda pieces together when she is kidnapped by the evil sorcerer. Going back and forth between different worlds, dreams, and reality makes it hard to fully understand the world of magic and the conflict Amanda finds herself in the middle of. At one point, Amanda has a vision of another little girl who discovers a magical ability within herself–a girl whose story is made clearer in the epilogue, but who distracts from the adventure Amanda is on.
Readers seeking a story with a strong heroine who must use her wit to overcome evil will not be disappointed with the protagonist Amanda, who discovers that she is stronger than she realizes and has a little bit of a dark history herself. While Amanda proves how tough she is again and again throughout the story, she also acknowledges her vulnerabilities, sharing moments of doubt and fear as her situation becomes more threatening. Because of the quick pace of the novel, her development seems rushed and it isn’t completely clear how she transforms from an insecure teenage girl into a strong, smart heroine.
Rise is a thrilling, fast-paced read with a little bit of everything sure to interest young adult readers: adventure, romance, dark magic, and the story of a female protagonist who loses everything and must prove how tough she is to save the world, or lose her life in the process.
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