The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember. For centuries they have kept vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns.
Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run in London, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant urges him to seek out the Stewards, Will is ushered into a secret world, where he must train to fight for the Light in the oncoming war.
As the Dark King’s return looms, reborn warriors begin to draw battle lines. But when the young descendants of Light and Dark step into their destined roles, old allegiances, old enmities and old flames are awakened. Will must stand with the last heroes of the Light to prevent the calamity that destroyed their world from returning to destroy his own.
Oooooooh wow! This book, Dark Rise by C.S. Pascat, blew my mind! If I knew how to add an emoji it would be the one with the star eyes. This is going to be one of those where it’s hard to put my thoughts into words because so many of them are feelings! Let me tell you a few things I liked about it…
The world building was great. Pascat has given readers such a fully formed world to slip into in this one. There is a lot going on in terms of the mythology behind the Stewards and the Dark King, and we are really dropped right into the action, but i never felt lost or over-explained to, just fascinated and completely absorbed in the story.
There’s something really clever, and i think subtle, in the differing perspectives throughout the book, so that Will and (other main character) Violet each see themselves as kind of ordinary, but each other as really extraordinary. I loved this contrast of the uncertainty they felt, compared to how someone they were seen by others, and the way this showed not only the respect they had for each other but how they had grown as the story progressed.
The story itself was fantastic and kept me gripped from the very start. I thought the pacing was good, and it really kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next. It was a fantastic ride, and one of those books where after finishing I kind of felt like I needed to stare at the wall for a while. It was a perfect first novel in a trilogy, with a great balance of setting up the story but still being pacey and action packed. I only wish we didn’t have to wait for the sequel!
I do want to note that the story does get quite dark at times, and while for the most part I felt like most of the violence was off the page, there were a few times when things got quite gory. I don’t think it is inappropriate for the YA market at all, but it is one I’d recommend for older readers.
Big thanks to Allen and Unwin for my early copy of this one!
Please let me know if you’re planning to pick this up – I can’t wait to talk to everyone about it!
Dark Rise by C.S. Pascat
Out now from Allen & Unwin
Source: I received a free copy for review from Allen & Unwin (thank you!). All views are my own.
Category: YA Fantasy series
Format: Paperback, 451 pages