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on May 07, 2013 :
The world of Rising is an alternate reality where tech and magic coexist. Like all good fiction, it is a world with a long, complex history, and this story is but a brief window into that world. The characters are similarly dressed with motivations, peccadillos, and tendencies to behave in ways consistent with their personal nature.
Rising takes place in Outback City, a metropolis distant from the rest of civilisation, surrounded by vast plains and the Great Desert. It's an island of humanity where living is more intense, more dangerous, and mistakes are costly, but where success can mean only living until the next day.
Clara has travelled to Outback to find the man responsible for killing her family and her village when she was a young child. She is a young witch, and though powerful and talented, is acutely aware of her limitations - experience, knowledge, and raw power will all mature with the time that her reason for visiting Outback does not allow - and yet she can still be petulant and impulsive, yet also curious and full of wonder. The dry rasp of wisdom gained over centuries has not yet settled on her shoulders, and normal human needs yet occupy much of her mind.
The first day in Outback lands Clara in an ever-expanding web of intrigue, personal history, difficult choices, remembered pain, discovery, and distasteful compromises.
With no wasted passages, the story moves forward at a steady clip, each chapter adds something new while building on what has come before in easily digestible bites. This is a novella, so don't expect long winding passages about the quality of sunlight as it falls over the skyscrapers of the metropolis. Instead, expect a crisp, concise narrative where there is enough information to reveal both the characters and the surrounding environment in the readers' eye, but little more. This is a book that assumes we know what rolling water sounds like, what an echo is, what a dim light bulb or a dank city alley mean to the atmosphere of the story.
In Rising we are introduced to a huge world where there are innumerable possibilities for complex, meaningful storytelling. This is no two-dimensional Belgariad or Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (both of which I read more than once), but a world with layers of backstory that directly affect and provide logical motivations for the protagonists.
(reviewed long after purchase)