Monday, January 18, 2016

New World: Rising - Book Review

     Tartarus. A decaying city stained with betrayal and danger. A place where no one can survive alone. There is only one choice, either join one of the five Tribes... or die.

     Phoenix, however, defies the rules of the forsaken city. As a young girl she witnessed the murder of her parents at the hands of Ravagers, and then watched as Scavengers stole the clothing from her mother and father minutes after their deaths. From that moment on, she has refused to give her allegiance to any Tribe. Her only goal is to follow the last words of her mother. To be strong, and survive.

     Years later, Phoenix is still alive. She has developed her own methods of survival based on encrypted messages in a notebook given to her by her father before he died. She trusts no one, only depending on herself.

     Phoenix’s way of life is changed drastically though, when she decides to help  a young girl being chased in the streets. She is disturbed by an unfamiliar sense of protectiveness and loyalty towards the girl, but the girl reminds her so much of herself after the loss of her parents. Frightened and alone.

     Injured while protecting the girl, Phoenix wakes up in a building she has never seen before. She eventually learns it is the headquarters of The Subversive, a group of people dedicated to undermining the Tribal system. The plan includes finding answers outside of Tartarus, beyond the electric force field holding them entrapped within the city. It means returning to the Sanctuary, the place where Phoenix was born but cannot remember. 
A place that may not live up to it’s name.


     The only disappointment I felt after finishing this book was realizing I would have to wait for a while before the second book is released. The story has a very dystopian feel to it, similar to Divergent by Veronica Roth, or Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. However, the storyline is fresh and set apart from other works in the genre.  

     Phoenix is a well-developed character. The reader witnesses her strength, her insecurity, her fears, and her potential. She is not full of herself, yet she doesn't completely wither under her own self-depreciation. There are a good many layers to Phoenix's backstory, such as where she was born, her nightmares and loss of memory, as well as her ability to survive the city.

     While a romantic thread is introduced, I don't think it distracted from the story. I know that some people find romance annoying in this genre, but I don't mind as long as it strengthens the characters instead of turning them to putty. Triven gives Phoenix the ability to lower her defenses, even if just a little bit, and I think he is important in the process of her healing from the events in her past.

     One element I found especially interesting is the corruption of the world beyond Tartarus. While it is believed that no one can escape the city because of the force shield, the Ravagers somehow seem to have access to newer, improved weapons. The only explanation seems to be that the weapons are being smuggled in from the outside. This part of the story was super interesting to me, and seems to be an promising plot point.

     New World: Rising kept me interested until the very end with elements of backstory, survival, fighting, relationships, and discovery. I'm excited to learn the secrets of the Sanctuary and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

     Visit the author, Jennifer Wilson's website for more information about the series, and to buy your own copy of the book visit this page on Amazon.