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Monday, June 01, 2015

Rising Fire by Terri Brisbin

I'm always willing to try a new series, especially if it combines two or more genres that I like. It's not a secret that I love anything paranormal or fantasy. However, one of my guilty pleasures happens to be historical romances. This book promised all three so I didn't hesitate to pick it up. Although I have mixed feeling about this first book of the series, it does have a fantastical world that is detailed and enchanting. I just wished there could have been more to the story and to the characters because besides great world building, I wasn't crazy about very much else.

Brienne is a young woman who, on the cusp of adulthood, realizes that she has magical control over fire. She always knew she was adopted, but when Lord Hugh de Gifford rides into town, claiming her as his biological daughter, she is confused and sad about leaving her adoptive parents. Lord Hugh takes her under his wing, helping her gain control of her magic, but when things get dark, she starts having second thoughts about Lord Hugh's intentions. Her naivety and immaturity is quite obvious and at most times, aggravating. She does grow stronger as a character as the book  goes on but I still had problems connecting with her, even in the end.

The other main character, William de Brus, is a little bit better, and an overall well rounded character. His dedication to the crown is admirable and since his mission is to investigate Lord Hugh's affairs, he easily comes into contact with Brienne. Their love at first sight is unbelievable and quite honestly, a little bit annoying. The magic that pulls them together is insubstantial, which probably makes it hard to understand. For literary purposes, since they're bound to be together anyways, it makes it easy to view them as a couple, however unlikely the instant love is. What makes it even more unbelievable is the fact that whenever Brienne is in danger, no matter how far apart they are, William's magic surfaces and he turns into a bigger, stronger and bluer fighter. The physical transformation even scares his closest friends and allies, and most definitely scares William since he has little control over it.

The mythology behind the warring gods is an interesting one, albeit confusing. A century old battle between the gods and their followers resurfaces in 13th century Scotland and because of their magical powers, Brienne and William are noticeably drawn to the conflict.The idea of circles of standing stones being some sort of prison is original. I just wished it was presented a little bit better, with more information instead of supposition.

There's definitely room for improvement in the books to comes. I love the setting, and what we know of the mythology. I'm sure both will be expanded in the next book. It looks like minor characters will have important roles in the next installment, and honestly, I'm more interested in them than I ever was in Brienne and William. It's obvious that the author's background is historical romance, and I think her attempt to add paranormal elements to this book is mediocre at best. The ideas are great but the execution is confusing and leaves us with lots of questions, questions that are never truly answered, it seems.

While I wasn't overly fond of Rising Fire, I think the series has potential. Battling an ever angry, imprisoned fire goddess is bound to be interesting, and I'm curious to see where Brienne, William and their allies will lead us. I've always been fascinated by the mystery of standing stones so I will most probably give this author a second chance.

Read an excerpt

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Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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