Review by Jasmine Sov, 15

Dark Rise By C.S. Pacat

For centuries, the forces of Light and Dark were at war. Now, all that remains are the remnants of their battles, the half-broken monuments from when the Light defeated the Dark once before. Will is just a simple dock boy toiling away at a London harbor. Day by day, he works until his limbs are beyond sore, with nothing but communal dinner to look forward to. One day, when an old servant tells him of his destiny to fight alongside the Stewards, the sworn soldiers of the Light, he is swept up into an ancient, half-buried world of magic along with a girl named Violet whose own powers put her in a perilous position. With the Dark King’s return threatening all of London, Will must train to take up his fate-ordained mantle and join the Light in conquering the Dark once again.

At first glance, Dark Rise may seem like the classic tale of good versus evil, “Light” against “Dark”—Will as the Chosen One and Simon as the not often seen but frequently mentioned antagonist. Later though, the book proves to be far more richly complex and morally gray than it initially appears to be. Author C.S. Pacat notes in the acknowledgements that more than ten years of worldbuilding went into Dark Rise, and it truly shows—the duplicitous streets of early 1800’s London, the shining Hall of the Stewards, and the very auras of certain characters are all larger than life. The characters themselves—Will, Violet, side characters and antagonists alike—are all quite well-developed, and at a few points in the story we even receive some additional insight into the personalities of minor characters. Dark Rise pulls the reader in for a thrilling tale of magic and chivalry and doesn’t let go.

5 stars.


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Catalog Number: N/A

451 pages

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