The first fantasy novel I read was also the one that to date I still love the most. It might surprise you that it isn’t Lord of The Rings or any other really well known classic. No, my first venture into a medieval world of sword and sorcery was when I read volume 1 of the Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Autumn Twilight. The book was written by authors Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickmann and emerged from the popular Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game. I read this book as a teenager, during a time where bullies were making my life very miserable at school. I had hardly any friends, and it was a very dark and sad time where I truly struggled to find anything that made me happy. To say that book helped me deal with things is an understatement. The thing is, the book had such amazing and lifelike characters, that at times they began to feel like a family. Yes, I know that sounds weird. But the friendships and camaraderie that these fictional people had was simply amazing and it managed to really lift my spirits. It also introduced me to the best character I have ever encountered: Raistlin. But that is a story for another time as today I am not going to be talking about Dragonlance.
So what was the whole point of this set up? Well, bare with me because I will explain. You see, I have always thought that one of the most important thing for any entertainment medium, are characters that you grow to care about. That you want to see thriumph over evil, and cry about when they lose a fight or even worse, their lives. While a lot of novels that I have read had some very cool and interesting ones, not a single book ever came close to that level of warmth that I felt in the Dragonlance Chronicles. Until now that is. Now observant readers might think that the name of the author of the book I am reviewing seems familiar. You would be right. Yes it’s a book written by our very own Cain , blogger extraordinaire and my very good friend. Now Cain is one of those guys that just always seems to downgrade himself and doesn’t think he’s all that special. Which of course as we all know isn’t the case. His blogging skills, combined with his wonderful (and quirky) sense of humor is one of the many reasons that I like him so much. He has had a very rough time lately, which I’m not going to go into here, but suffice it to say that I can only hope something good happens to him soon. This review is long overdue, but it’s finally here. So Cain old buddy, this one is for you!
Rise is an epic fantasy novel starring two amazing female leads along with a host of other wonderful characters that populate a magical and wonderfully designed world. Chara is a simple farm girl living in a quiet village where nothing ever really happens. She isn’t really happy with her life, especially because she is also supposed to tie the knot with a boy she isn’t really in love with. A fact that isn’t really helped by her mother putting a lot of pressure on her. One day when she is out near her village she is attacked by a nasty bunch of goblins. Just when she is about to get raped, a mysterious and beautiful warrior woman appears out of nowhere and saves her life. After the woman kills the evil creatures, Chara thanks her and finds out that the warrior is a mute. The young girl decides to take her to her village, because really why not? This chance encounter sets into motion a whole sequence of events that will change Chara’s fate for ever. The warrior who saved her life is no ordinary woman. She is a Blessed of Ramor, imbued with a special Divine Gift from her God and who will become known as Ramora. She has her mind set on one goal: to find the man that took everything from her, and take revenge. A quest like no other is about to start, where young Chara will play a vital role. If she survives that is…..
Man oh man how I enjoyed this book! It’s been a long while since I have read a fantasy novel, especially one that is this good. Right from the start, where Cain starts to give his readers a short history of how this world came to be, I was captivated. It’s when the real story began however that I knew I was in for something really special. When I first encountered Chara I had no idea she would turn into a character that I would grow to love so much. And I guess the same could be said of Ramora. It’s amazing how the friendship between the two women eventually blossomed into something truly beautiful, especially considering the fact that one of them is a mute. I love it when characters undergo an emotional and mental transformation, and find a hidden strength in themselves. While both women have their own flaws, it’s exactly that which makes them so much more human and life like. Their relationship becomes even more complex however when the two meet the Werejaguar Esteban. Yes you read that right, a Werejaguar. You might be surprised to hear that this not fully human being is maybe one of the most human characters in the book. And the book is chockfull of these. It’s even hard to pick a favorite, and without going into spoilers I at times hated Cain. (And you know damn well why buddy, killing off so many cool characters…ugh….)
Another thing you will find in this book is well, sex. There are lot of steamy scenes in this novel, and on more than one occasion I had the feeling the heat was turned on to max in my room. But in no way was this a bad thing, as it really wasn’t just thrown in as an afterthought, but truly felt right to the story. And what a story it was. It was very hard to put this book down, and I went through a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from laughter (the humor in this book really is awesome), excitement, sadness, fright, and a host of others. Now I know what you guys must think. Cain is your friend, and this is just you promoting this novel, and not saying even a single negative thing about it. I can assure you this is not the case. If the book had sucked I would have let you know as well. (With probably a lot of apologies to mr. Latrani). But well, it doesn’t. If there is one negative thing I can mention it’s the fact that the book ends on kind of a cliffhanger, and there is no part two….yet. So all I can say about that is: Would you please for the love of the Gods go and finish the next installment already Cain? Because really: I MUST find out what happens next to Chara, Ramora, Esteban and all the others. To everyone else who is reading this review: go ahead and buy this novel. It’s an awesome read that I guarantee you will finish in no time whatsoever. The best books will make you do that…..
I give Rise-The War Witch Saga 1 a 10 out of 10 score.