Recently, I was lucky enough to be part of a book tour for Rising Shadow, by Jacquelyn Wheeler (courtesy of International Book Tours). The blurb on the jacket of the book peaked my curiosity and I was interested in the philosophy behind “Soterians” described as people who develop powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil’s favour. I liked the idea that neither side could triumph, just like yin and yang there must always be a balance.
The main protagonist is Ashlyn Woods, a young college student who just transferred to a campus on the west coast. I have to say, it was nice to read about an older person (a lot of YA books are featuring 13-16 year olds) so it made a change to read about a 20 year old going to college. Ashlyn quickly realises that she is different and after a strange incident, she discovers that she has special powers. She then hooks up with three other students who develop different abilities and together they form a unit. Later on in the book, we are introduced to another unit and this definitely made it more interesting as the two units worked together to maintain the balance between good and evil. I liked the suggestion that these units exist everywhere and so it might have made it even more interesting if we could have seen units in other countries or included some kind of power shift that was international instead of just happening in California.
This book was definitely a plot driven novel rather than a character driven novel. It centred around politicians who wanted to see their evil plans put in motion once elected. I did like the twist at the end though when the main culprit was revealed. One thing that did frustrate me however, was the introduction of the mythical creature “Deimos” towards the end of the book. I’m guessing this was a reference to the devil and how he should be feared but although his name was mentioned and alluded to several times towards the end of the book, nothing ever came of it. At first I was thinking “what was the point of adding him in the first place?!” On reflection, perhaps it was a ploy by the author to introduce him now, as he would feature heavily in the sequel.
Although this book was somewhat refreshing (no vampires/zombies/ wolves/ ghosts/angels in sight) it did feel a little lengthy to me. I’m not sure if this was because I was having a rough time at work and had to meet a deadline to send it on to the next reader or not, but it was a thick book. And sadly not what I call a “Just another chapter” kind of book. You know the kind, when you race home from work to read it, when you can’t stop reading and suddenly it’s the early hours of the morning. Don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining but I’m not sure if I really want to read the sequel when there are so many great books on my TBR pile at the moment. Personally, I think this story would work better visually as its very action based and I’d love to see it as a TV series. Just like the Vampire Diaries books didn’t work for me, I love the TV series with a passion.
This is a very mixed review and so I would always encourage people to read the book for themselves and make up their own minds.If you visit the Soterians website, you can actually download a PDF version of the book for free. Click here to visit the site. The sequel “Merger” is out now and I believe there is a goodreads contest to win a copy.