Monday, August 20, 2012


Rift (Nightshade Series)Series: Nightshade Prequel, #1
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Pages: 431
Source: Received ARC from publisher
Chronicling the rise of the Keepers, this is the stunning prequel to Andrea Cremer's internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy!

Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.

With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels.

Before Calla Tor, there was Ember Morrow and Rift is her story. Rift is an adventure, in life and love. It is a story of freedom, and choices. A discovery of magic and darkness.

Ember is born of a time when a woman's place was the home. But she wants freedom, something she can have by joining the Conatus.Within the secretive society, Ember finds her true home. I will say that I did like Ember. She's fearless, makes smart decisions, and is loyal to her beliefs. I guess you could say Ember is a 15th century feminist, and I do admire that. She is so ready to join the cause of the Conatus, to fight evil and protect the people. The only problem was, as soon as she met Barrow, Ember lost most of her focus. She still fought well, but so much of her thoughts were consumed by her infatuation with Barrow. That is completely understandable, she's sixteen years old. I just felt that I was given a mixed message because Ember is so determined to give her life for her beliefs, but then she spends so much of the book obsessing over Barrow.

I honestly didn't feel as if I knew most of the other characters in Rift particularly well. Barrow seems like an honorable man, determined to do his duty to the best of his ability. His steadfastness, kindness and the fact that he is Ember's mentor reminded me of Dimitri Belikov from the Vampire Academy series. Alistair was charming throughout the first half of the story. Later, he begins to act in a confusing, off-putting manner and I never felt that it was authentic. I just didn't feel his motivation. It was as if a flip switched in his brain.

I always find Cremer's writing to be beautiful, well-paced with a beautiful flow. I continually find myself engrossed in her stories, even when I don't love what's happening. I started off thoroughly enjoying this story. The mood of the story is a bit dark and intriguing. I wanted to know what darkness was around the corner for Ember. Would love find her? But then... then a thought struck me during one dialogue-heavy scene: Why do Scottish characters, in Scotland, in the 15th century, sound like an episode of The Tudors? Just so you know, I've watched Brave and I know how Scottish folk speak. (I'm kidding, kind of.) But really, with the exception of a few words like "lass", "loch" and "aye" thrown in, this was flat-out, boring old Queen's English. When this realization hit, Rift lost most of it's luster for me. I spent the rest of the story focused almost solely on the sad that hit me over the non-existent Scottish dialect.

Rift is an adventurous story with a strong heroine. It is an interesting look at the back history of the Nightshade sequel, the magical and religious influences that lead to the Searchers and the Keepers.  If you love medieval fantasy, this book may be for you.

Favorite Quote:

"  'So it's all an act?' Ember said bitterly. 'The vow means nothing?'
    Barrow turned suddenly, looking into her eyes. 'Does it mean nothing to you?'
    She gazed at him and slowly shook her head. What she'd given up had in turn granted her freedom. She thought of Caber's pounding hooves and the wind tugging at her hair.
   'It means everything,' she said." (ARC, pg 181)

You can purchase RIFT at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository


  1. Great, honest review. This is a series that I've been meaning to check out for a while, so thanks for reminding me to do so! It's a shame this one wasn't amazing, though!

    Steph @ Stepping Out Of The Page

  2. I've seen this book and was interested it. Thank you for the honest review, it's great. Helps me know what to expect.

    1. Steph and Ellen - Thank you. I hope you both enjoy it if you do decide to read Rift.

  3. So is this something that you should read the original series first, or doesn't it really matter? I've been seeing reviews for this pop up but I haven't read the Nightshade series.

    1. You don't need to read the Nightshade series first.

  4. While this doesn't sound as good as the Nightshade series it still sounds good. I have heard that a lot of people aren't really feeling the characters so much. Fantastic review!!

    1. Thanks, Amy. I hope you like it if you decide to read Rift.

  5. Bah! I hate it when you have a great heroine that you are rooting for and then all of a sudden a guy comes along and she just goes off the chain. I haven't read the Nightshade series but the cover for this one catches my eye. Brave!!! I'm totally fluent in Scottish now too ;) Great review Andrea!

    1. The cover is totally gorgeous. I wish Ember had stayed a little more focused. And yes! Brave made us all Scots-fluent. Thanks!

  6. I still haven't read the Nightshade series, and I'm on the fence about starting it. I've heard good things from the series as a whole, but haven't really heard much about this one. I'm wondering if I should start w/ this one or skip over it... I love Medieval Fantasy, just not big on religious aspects. Thanks for the honest review!

    1. I read Nightshade, but not the rest of the series. I don't think the religious aspect is too much. It's certainly not preachy, just more on the social and political effects of religion during that time. Thank you!

  7. Ember sounds like and interesting main character. Sorry that you didn't connect the best with the characters though.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  8. A wonderful review Andrea! I haven't read the Nightshade series as yet but I have been intrigued by Rift since I first saw it, it's a shame a few things let it down for you.

    Thank-you for sharing your honest thoughts :)

  9. Great review, Andrea! It sounds like a fantastic book! Do you think I'd be better off reading the Nightshade trilogy before this?

  10. I really do want to read this one! I'm a little worried about it after reading your review. I'll still read it but maybe not right away.


  11. Hey, I see that you're reading Anna Dressed in Blood. I just started that today! :) Looking forward to your review.

    You know I'm a sucker for covers, and the cover of Rift is awesome. I do like Medievel fantasy stuff, but I'm not sure about the character issues you describe. It sounds a bit angsty, which isn't my favorite plot device.

    Great review, as always!

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