Title: Rise of the Reaper (The Broken Lands #1)
Author: Lorna Reid
Publisher: Ravensforge Books
Release Date: November 20th 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Purchase: The Book Depository | Amazon
❝ Can prophecy be overcome, or does striving to avoid fate merely drive you into its arms? Since the day Danny Stone’s mother vanished, dreams of dark and strange places have plagued him nightly. Though years have passed, the burning pain of her disappearance still consumes him – as does his need for answers. Then one lazy summer day, Danny and his friends Katrina, Poppy, and Russell discover their parents’ long-hidden secret – and their lives change forever.
They enter a fragmented, broken world of magic, blades, and blood in a quest for answers, but the mystery of what happened to Danny’s mother only becomes more terrifying – and yet there is hope. But there are other, bigger threats at hand, too, as evil begins to stir and the Oracle’s prophesies herald a coming darkness.❞
The author provided me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Though it took me a while to get into, I think Rise of the Reaper is an adventurous and fun read, especially suitable for young(er) teens.
I’m going to be honest here and state up front that the beginning of the story did not really appeal to me. This is probably why I had a bit of a hard time getting into the story. The beginning was slow-paced, the introductions too long. The rest of the book completely made up for that though. Almost immediately I realized the presence of not only four protagonists with their own point of views, but also the presence of all of their parents. I had an incredibly hard time trying to distinguish which character was which and how they related to each other exactly. Though I certainly appreciate the idea of parents playing an important role in the lives of their kids, it did complicate the plot a lot.
Moreover, the abundance of characters left less space for a focus on individual characters – even if that focus was present to some extent – and created a lot of subplots which I feel would have fit better in a separate book. I do think that it’s easy for readers to relate to the characters and I hope that there will be more of a focus on individual characters in the next book(s) in the series.
Once I got over my initial concerns and once the pace picked up, I really started to enjoy the book. The world-building was superb, with more than enough creative details to keep the reader occupied, such as the oracles and the portals. One of my favorite things was definitely Aquattrox, a water sport played on eccentric dolphin-like creatures, aswell as the adventures at sea. I simply loved these two aspects to bits because it seemed so adventurous but also completely imaginable
Rise of the Reaper also teaches kids and teens a few important lessons. For one, how valuable friendship is and what it means to stand up for your friends. But also the value of family, that there is a reason why you should sometimes listen to your parents (hah!) and that they are there to support and protect you in times of need. For all of the excitement and fun, I believe this is also an incredibly important and great aspect of the book
To conclude, this book is great for a young teenage audience, especially the adventurous reader. There is definitely room for improvement, but I have high hopes for the next book in the series!