Book Reviews

Review: “The Rising,” Kelley Armstrong

June 28, 2016
Review: “The Rising,” Kelley ArmstrongThe Risingby Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkness Rising #3
Published by Atom on April, 2013
Genres: Werewolves / Shifters
Pages: 407
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the St. Clouds and a rival Cabal, they’re quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it’s not like they can just go to the authorities for help.

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they’re so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting out of control.

But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she’ll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can’t keep running forever.

The Rising was a disappointment. Having liked – but not been completely head over heels for – the rest of the series, I was hoping that the finale would really make Kelley Armstrong’s Darkness Rising series a memorable one. Unfortunately the plot dragged, the relationships changed and I didn’t feel like anything got a pleasing conclusion. Spoilers in the full review.

 “Just my luck. Finally meet my twin brother and, turns out, he’s an ass.”
– Maya

My main problem with The Rising was that it felt like nothing happened. I’ve seen other readers complain about this series and how it doesn’t feel like anything’s actually happening – or that Kelley Armstrong didn’t really have enough material for a trilogy. While I could understand that notion with the previous two books, they had been so enjoyable and fast-paced that I didn’t find it in me much to care. With The Rising, however, it was clear that it was too little too late where plot was concerned. It was slow, even though a lot of plotlines had to be wrapped up in the 400-or-so pages.

New characters, such as Maya’s brother Ash, were introduced and I can’t stress how much I hate when useless characters that contribute nothing to the plot are brought in to a series on the final book. Ash in particular was quite two-dimensional with the limited time and although we ‘learnt’ a lot about him, I didn’t feel like he became real on the page. What was his point other than for Maya to finally meet her ‘long lost twin’? Ash never really felt part of the gang, nor did he grow on me.

As for the Project Genesis kids, they were quite ‘meh’ apart from Chloe. Yes, they had more reason to be within The Rising than Ash did, but once again I just couldn’t get behind the new introductions. I felt like Kelley Armstrong did such a great job fleshing out her characters after the long trial in The Calling – and for her not to use characters such as Sam and Hayley more was something I didn’t understand.

 “I love you. I’m not sure if it’s the way you want me to. I think it might be. But I know that I love you. I absolutely love you.”
– Maya

While I was never a big fan of the Maya/Rafe relationship, I wasn’t pleased with how it was so easily pushed aside in favour of Maya/Daniel. Yes, I had been hoping that Maya and Daniel would get together… but for Maya to only realise her feelings for Daniel in a time of crisis – after someone had mentioned he was in love with her – felt a little contrived. Skip eight months into the future with the epilogue and Maya simply bats away her previous ‘love’ for Rafe as a silly crush under extreme circumstances – I wish that so much emphasis hadn’t been placed on it for three books if that was the case. Although I got my victory with Maya/Daniel, I wasn’t able to revel in it.

The ending itself left a lot to be desired. How different was Badger Lake to Salmon Creek? The gang seemed to end up back where they started, with the only bonus being a bit of power of negotiation. Maya stated that they would use everything they were offered in order to get stronger, better and become better soldiers – then they would finally be free of the Cabals once and for all. Fair enough, but I want to see that story… why wasn’t that the series we got instead?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad I finally finished this series after many years of it being on my TBR pile. I just wish things had been steered in a very different direction and not felt so disjoined and pointless at times. There were some great characters and aspects hidden within this series, but unfortunately I don’t think they ever reached their full potential.

About Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

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