I am a HUGE fan of the Nightshade series, so I was thrilled when I heard that Andrea Cremer was going to release a prequel series. Rift is set in the 1400's in Scotland, so clearly we have a whole new set of characters...with one exception. I'm not giving away any spoilers since Andrea said in an interview that one character from the Nightshade series makes an appearance in this book. For the life of me I couldn't figure out who it would be until the individual appeared. In retrospect, I should have known.
This book starts out with Ember, a sixteen year old girl from a noble family who wants nothing more than to leave her father's house to join the warriors at Tearmunn. They are a religious order that protects their lands from other worldly dangers. Her father does not want her to join the order, but he has no choice. When Ember was born both mother and child almost died and the family called upon Conatus's healers to save them. In return, the child was pledged to serve Conatus.
The first third of the book was a little slow for me. There was a lot of necessary history, background, and introduction to the characters. Once Ember was at Tearmunn and training to become a member of the guard, it began to take off. Once the character from Nightshade arrived, I was absolutely hooked and could not put it down.
You don't need to read the Nightshade series to appreciate this book. For those who have, we get more information about how the witch's war began. We see the formation of the Keepers and Searchers and what led up to the events that unfold in the Nightshade series. There is the beginnings of a love story, but it doesn't really develop until the end of the book. I was hoping "he" and Ember would eventually get together, but Andrea left us COMPLETELY hanging at the end of this book. The only good thing about this cliffhanger is that we don't have to wait the customary 1 year to get our hands on the next installment in this series. Rise is scheduled to be released January 8, 2013. I was not aware of this fact until I was getting ready to write this post. I was literally *squeeeeing* out loud. If I have anything to say about it, you can count on this to be one of the Book Nerd's read alongs in January. I absolutely love Andrea's writing style and would highly recommend all of her books.