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on 4 August 2012
I've followed Andrea Cremer's Nightshade Series from the beginning, so when I first hear about Rift - the prequel to Nightshade, I knew I wanted to read it. I adore everything about Andrea's work, her style of writing, her unique storyline's and I love that she's not afraid to take risks with her stories too. And if I sum Rift up into one word it would be, FANTASTIC!

Ember Morrows is a sixteen-year old girl who is suffocated by her father's rules to be married off at a young age. So when she's called to fulfil a family obligation to join the Conatus Guard, she is more than thrilled to be away from her father's strict rules. Once there, Ember is trained as a guard to help fight the evil in the world, but when one of her leaders starts dabbling in dark magic Ember must choose which side she's on.

While diving into Rift I have to admit, I knew it would be good but I didn't know what to expect. With story pre-dating Nightshade, it's based in the early fifteenth century so it did take a few chapters to get into this new world and the style of writing, but once I got past them first few chapters it became a great read. I really enjoyed that this was a historical paranormal read but there are only a hint of paranormal through-out the book, mainly because to start with, the story focuses on Ember's journey and her discovery of this new world. It was quite slow paced but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. The real excitement comes near the end because we start it see the paranormal aspect in full force and with the return of Bosque Mar; well you can only imagine what he's been getting up too.

The characters of completely different to those who are in Nightshade and as much as I loved them characters, it was nice for Andrea to create a whole new set of characters that were just as unique and made them stand out on their own.
Ember is a strong, determined and a courageous young girl, she wants to throw herself into the firing line and help stop the evil of the world. She isn't what her father wants her to be and her boyish qualities are frown upon by him. But with the guard, she can be who she wants to be and take charge of her future.
Barrow is the strong silence type, broody and always tries to do right, he helps Ember become the guard she needs to be. He fights his attraction to her for many reasons but love over rules all, and he's soon falling for her. I loved that he was willing to protect Ember from the start, even though she is capable of looking after herself, he still wants to be there for her. Their relationship isn't a key role in this book, it's not until the end that we see it so I'm hoping with Rise; book two, we will see more of it.
The secondary characters were also great. There are many laughs with them which brings the humour into the story. Some of them like Sorcha and Lucasz quick became my favourites.

Andrea Cremer has done a fantastic job creating a whole new setting for Rift and not only that but writing this book really shows the talent's she has as an author. Rift is not a book without detail and Andrea really captures the setting well. I can't wait to see what she with next.
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on 31 January 2013
I confess, I only ever read the first book in the Nightshade series. I enjoyed it, so I don't really know what happened there - missed the publication date, never managed to track it down in the library, forgot all about it. It's the downside of trilogies. We're itching for the next book when we just finish reading, but by the time the thing is written and published and available to buy, we've moved onto whatever the next thing is.

Or is that just me?

Anyway, I digress. Rift has been enough to remind me that I really enjoyed Nightshade, and to give me that feeling of `ooo I can't wait for the next one' all over again. Here's hoping I don't forget all about it in a year's time.

I actually preferred Ember's world to that of Calla's. I'm a big sucker for swords and horses sort of fantasy, especially when said swords and horses are pitted against revenants and wraiths and other such ghoulies. It's like an explosion in the `things that I like in novels' factory. Rift was pure indulgence.

To go with horses and swords and ghosts, there was also romantic tension and chemistry enough to make you feel a little hot under the collar, artfully dragged out in a way that never felt contrived. In fact, a lot of Ember's relationship development reminded me a lot of Kristin Cashore's Fire and the smouldering relationship between Fire and Brigan. You know it's meant to be, and every obstacle is a frustration, but not the `accidentally caught snogging some other bloke by the lockers' high school sort of obstacle that is prevalent in teen romance. Obstacles here are war, politics, grief and loss, and while there is a bit of `best friend would be lover if he had his way' sort of drama, it's not of the variety where you're cursing the real love interest for being so stupid.

Rift promises to be the first in an excellent trilogy. I only hope a) I don't forget about it and b) it doesn't fall foul of second book syndrome. That would be so disappointing.

Rating: 5/5
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on 28 October 2012
Let me just start by saying WOW! I absolutely devoured this book in about 2 days.

Rift is a prequel to the Nightshade series, going back to the beginning of the witch wars. Although it is probably not necessary to read Nightshade first, I would reccomend that you do (although there were times in the book when I also wished I didn't already know how it was ultimately going to end!)

Rift is set in Scotland in the 1400's and is told from the perspective of Ember Morrow, a 16 year old girl who is to enter into the service of Conatus, a mysterious secret order who saved both her and her mother from dying during child birth. Ember is desperate to breakaway from her father, who believes she should be learning to sew and play music, when all she really wants is to learn how to use a sword.

On joining Conatus, Ember learns the true nature of the order and their task of keeping the creatures of the Otherworld from harming people. Ember becomes a Knight and her training is undertaken by Barrow, a Knight with a fearsome reptutation. I absolutely loved Barrow and the relationship that forms between him and Ember.

Also serving at Conatus is one of Ember's oldest friends Alastair. Although they have been friends since childhood and she views him as a brother, he has other ideas. Alastair feels he has a claim on Ember and often treats her like something that belongs to him. I have to say he is my least favourite character and I often wanted to slap him!

Throughout the book we also follow the story of twin sisters Eira and Cian, the first two woman to become Knights of Conatus. They are both fearsome warriors, but Eira dilikes the interference of the church and seeks a way to remove the power of the Bishop over Conatus. This leads her down a road from which there is no return, and will forever change the path of Conatus.

Cannot wait for the sequel to Rift
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on 27 August 2012
Also posted: [...]

Most of you know how much I HATED the ending of the Nightshade series, Bloodrose. So now you're wondering why the hell I'm reading another one of Andrea's novels AND why I'm even bothering with the prequel. My answer - I loved the world Andrea's created in Nightshade, and I was more than interested to see how it all began in this prequel. In the end, the Nightshade series is still better, but this was a very enjoyable and unputdownable read.

What I really like about RIFT was the main character Ember. Thank God she wasn't some whiny snobby bitch like Calla (from Nightshade). Ember's brave, intelligent, and just downright awesome. She's a perfect example of a fierce heroine. And it's not just Ember. What makes me love Andrea's novels is that she always makes me feel for each and everyone of her characters. I laugh with them, I cry with them, I kinda want to slap some of them. Even the minor characters all triggered an emotional response from me. And can I just say how much I love Kael? He's just Ember's friend but he is by far my favourite; he's funny and charming. Anyway, Barrow (the love interest) reminded me so much of Dimitri from VA. Which isn't really a negative thing, just something that I noticed. So if you fell in love with Dimitri (well, who hasn't?), then I think you'll swoon over this knight.

At the start of the book, I thought there would be a love triangle. BUT. It's pretty obvious from the start who Ember likes. The other one was just there. And I kinda understand why he did what he did at the end (I won't say no more - spoilers). Though I still freaking hate him. Anyway, another one of Andrea's strongest points are her kissing/lovey scenes. She just knows how to write a good hot sexy scene. And I can't wait for RISE, just saying ;).

What brought down this to a four star rating was probably the language and writing. That's not to say the writing wasn't gorgeous (it is!) but I just found it too formal and people like me just get bored easily and lose interest. The way she described the setting was just so long and boring. But I did appreciate her world building and fighting scenes.

I wish authors would do prequel series more. I loved this prequel to Nightshade series and also the The Infernal Devices by Cassie Clare. It just makes the story far more special in my opinion. Though I do think that even if you haven't read the Nightshade series, you can and will be able to understand this.

Overall, RIFT is a highly creative sequel with bad ass characters that I'm sure you'll fall in love with just as much as Nightshade.
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on 22 August 2012
I liked this more than any of the Nightshades books - color me shocked because I loved those books, and I really couldn't see how the story could get better, but it did. What I really loved about Rift, the first of a prequel series, was that it got a little medieval. That took the feel from paranormal to fantasy, and I LOVED it! There wasn't a hint of a werewolf though, so rabid wolf-loving readers should approach Rift with that knowledge I think, in order to stave off potential disappointment. I'm sure they are coming, but you'll have to wait a while longer.

I really connected very well with the heroine, Ember. She begins Rift under the heel of her overbearing and rather disgusting father... forced into suitable pursuits for a young noble girl, like needle craft, while she tries very hard not to wreck her fancy gowns. All the while, she sneaks off into the middle of nowhere to practice wielding a sword. Her one beacon of hope is that since birth she has been promised to a shadowy branch of the church called Conatus... she doesn't know a lot about them, but she fantasizes about what her life could be like with a little more freedom.

When Ember is summoned to begin her service in Conatus, her father blusters about and threatens them with all kinds of hot air, to try and keep power over her and see her married off to a nice boy; it was delightful to read how easily the knights of Conatus just shrugged him off. One knight in particular immediately made note of himself... Barrow Hess. Oh, Barrow. You may have a slightly strange name, but I'd love to... *blush/swoon*... where was I?! He will absolutely push his way into your top ten book boyfriend list. Yes, he is a first grade kick ass knight, and he steps up to become Ember's mentor. If I've never mentioned how much I love a good mentor/mentee relationship, now is the time I cite the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, and the Covenant series by Jennifer Armentrout. *wink* Forbidden hotness & self-denial in spades, as you fill find here. The romance that was woven into Rift was toe-curlingly good. It was gently done - executed in the style of Jane Austen, in terms of lingering looks, uncertainty and pounding hearts - and it built magnificently to two simply delicious scenes that pretty much reduced me to a limp, satisfied, wreck of a reader.

I really enjoyed reading about Ember's transition from stubborn & determined new recruit to a woman not to be messed with. She is tenacious, slightly naive, and a joy to read. She picks up some knightly skills, bizarre but awesome weapons (which I had to Google to see if I had imagined them correctly), and the best horse that I've read since Kiki in Magic Study by Maria V Snyder... this one doesn't talk, but he munches thoughtfully on Ember's braid.

Of course, being as this is a prequel book there are certain plot points that readers know will happen in the future. It lends a serious sense of impending doom to the read that would be otherwise quite difficult to create. I found it fascinating to see how the character of Bosque Mar from the Nightshade series made his mark on Rift. For much of the book, I really could have been reading about an entirely different world, due to the difference in time setting (AD 1400 rather than present day); when the shift happened to join the Rift world up with the Nightshade world, it was done very well and with a good deal of subtle horror.

The future for Ember and Barrow is uncertain, but I can't wait to find out what's in store for them. Oh the wait for Rise, the next book in the series, is going to be a painful one. *sigh*
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on 10 March 2013
I had high expectations for this book, and I wasn't sure if I was going to be disappointed with it, which is usually the case when I have so high expectations. I love and adore the Nightshade trilogy and I will have to say I ended up loving this book even more than those!

You need to read this book! Even if you did not like the Nightshade trilogy!
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on 14 January 2013
I really enjoyed this book, just as much as Andrea's other books. I would recommend this book to any teenage girl who enjoys adventure and romance books. Definitely worth reading.
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on 7 July 2013
Great books. Great i could not put them down. Enjoyed the storyline and the characters. Wud recommend to anyone who enjoys these kind of books
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on 26 June 2015
Brilliant book, as expected!
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on 27 June 2015
A bit confusing!
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