Rising by Holly Kelly. #bookreview

Cover links to Amazon.com


Written by Holly Kelly

Genre(s): Mythology

In a war between the humans and the inhabitants of the sea--humans will lose. Xanthus Dimitriou--the most lethal Dagonian to rise from the ocean--is on a mission to save mankind from annihilation. But first there's one small thing he needs to do... kill a beautiful young woman in a wheelchair.

Killing her doesn't start out as part of his plan. He entrenches himself deep in the human world. Aligning with his enemies, he prepares to send them to Triton to face their punishment. Then Sara Taylor rolls onto the scene. Xanthus knows at once she's a criminal. And her crime? Being born.

She's a human/Dagonian half-breed, an abomination. Killing her should be an easy job. All he has to do is break into her apartment, slit her throat, and feed her body to the sharks. Simple, right? Wrong. If only she weren't so beautiful, so innocent, so sweet...

Saving the world may have to wait. It appears Xanthus has a woman to save. But protecting her may cost him his own life.

Kay Froebel's Review

Weak Female Lead, Inconsistent Plot, and Typos

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Rising by Holly Kelly. I had mixed emotions about posting as a 1 or a 2 star book. I will settle for a 1.5. Kelly portrayed a confusing world, filled with oddities like shown in the synopsis. The first paragraph mentions that he is on a mission to save mankind from annihilation from his own kind. Then the second one, it states that he is preparing to send them to Triton to face punishment. So… is he saving them or punishing them?

Apparently Xanthus plans to save humanity, approved and sanctioned by Triton, ruler of the seas, by sending 4 human beings to face the mighty ruler’s wrath. I honestly felt as the entire mission aspect of the book took a major backseat to the romance. And by backseat, I mean it was in the backseat of a car ten cars behind the romance car. It really didn't work well.

Xanthus himself was a strong character. Though I did find him a tad cliché, he was the only character in the book that made sense. His race is domineering and aggressive, like sharks. Naturally, he is the same way, which manifests very early in. Apparently Sara is fertile and smells really good.

I get the whole beast thing and pheromones and such, but it’s a bit overplayed. However when he became serious, and went into his “warrior” mode, I found him to be much more awesome. If this book had just been about him saving humanity, or punishing certain people of humanity, it would have been much more interesting.

That is it as far as positives for this story. Sara, the female lead for Rising, was completely and totally useless. I take that back, she was cool for about half a second. She came off as extremely independent paraplegic who wanted to do all that she could to live on her own terms. I can respect that. Except it lasted for maybe a chapter. Maybe. From that point on she becomes weaker and weaker. She constantly needs to be saved, even from her own feelings.

A prime example of this comes when she is cornered by three men who clearly have less than wholesome intentions with her. Xanthus shows up to protect her, and proceeds to drag them off into the distance where she hears torturous screaming. She surmises that he killed them, and is a homicidal maniac. Despite that realization, she has no problem when he returns and hugs her, to which she is instantly relieved. Even though he supposedly just dragged three men off and murdered them. Because that is totally normal. As the story progressed, I began rooting for the people trying to kill her.

Perhaps I have been spoiled of late, where dozens of new releases intensify the female leads, making them their own heroes. Between the fiery Katniss from The Hunger Games, to the determined Tris from the Divergent series, and even the Brilliant Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles, authors have embraced bold, powerful female leads.

This book embraced damsels-in-distress, which is most definitely not my cup of tea. It was completely disappointing. If this was made into a Disney movie, the feminist fury over it would make the angry mom rage of Merida from Brave’s coronation makeover seem like a British tea party. (Seriously, google it.)

As you can imagine, I could not get into the instant-love romance thing going on. I mean not even halfway in the book they are in love. It was just weird. He loves her after smelling her. She is nearly raped on more than one occasion because she is “breathtakingly beautiful” and they can’t seem help themselves. The “saving damsel from rape… twice” bit really left a bad taste in my mouth.

In truth, everything about Xanthus and Sara drove me crazy. He was a shark, and her a goldfish. They lacked chemistry, and the romance situations made me feel a mix between creeped out, and bored. If George Clooney and Oprah were to get married, it would make more sense than Xanthus and Sara. On a side note… How exactly does a half fish person get her period? Can someone please explain this to me? On second thought, I don’t want to know.

Beyond the character issues and absence of consistent plot in this book, it also lacked editing. It was littered with both simple and grievous mistakes. From forgetting to add a quotation at the end of a dialogue, to opening a plot line and just leaving it hanging, this book really felt like a rough draft instead of a published novel.

While the book presented a promising premise, and an interesting prologue, it ultimately fell flat on character development and execution. I truly wanted to love it, but I just couldn't.

Disclaimer: Book provided by the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.