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Rise Paperback – September 13, 2016
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Science fiction makes "Their world exploded" literal in this ensnaring SF mystery set on various fragments ("shells") of a shattered planet that still orbit around its glowing core. Set up by the Ancients, the shells host colonies of humans who depend upon the infallible technology of their ancestors to survive. But it is starting to fail, and Logwyn, a scribe, is sent by her dragon queen to interview four outsiders from different shells and cultures to piece together why. Armed only with a box whose contents she has not dared to view, Logwyn tries to draw the others out and gather up their separate but linked accounts, hoping to understand why the Ancient computers are losing data. Guthrie neatly if straightforwardly weaves together the four stories, letting events repeat without contradiction (no Rashomon here); his worldbuilding is complicated enough, including the characters' ability to rewrite the "code" of reality, to require some simplicity of plot. Raising more questions with every answer, this volume should intrigue readers enough to look for the sequel. (Sept.) - Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Based out of Germany, Brian Guthrie is a serial author of science fiction, fantasy, and more. His first novel, Rise (book one of a series of four releasing Sept 2016) won the Inkshares Nerdist Contest and his second novel, After Man (co-authored with Michelle Guthrie; book one of three slated for release early 2017) won the Inkshares Geek and Sundry contest, making him the first author on Inkshares to win two contests. He has completed Rise's sequel, Fall, and has plans for an anthology piece, some historical fiction, and much more. He is married to Michelle Guthrie, a father of a nine-year old girl who is as much boy as she is girl, and has two cats.
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Top Customer Reviews
In all fairness, maybe it turns into a great book, but I will never know.
Boy, was I disappointed. Right from the very beginning, I found the writer's style and presentation very confusing. One of the main things I look for in fiction, especially science fiction, is how the author paints the world in rich detail so that I can feel immersed in it. But in this book, the author goes right to the plot and we are expected to learn about their world as we go. This was extremely tedious since the plot of the book is based heavily on how the physical world is constructed. There were some inconsistencies in the construction that I had a tough time getting past. For example, the main source of light on this world is the core left behind by the shattered planet. Each 'shell' is revolving around the core and the core is always said to be below the shell. So I have no idea how the light from the core gets to the surface of the shell if it is shining from below. But that is only a minor issue as compared to some of the other stuff that I had to deal with.
There are a handful of characters that you can call protagonists in this story. The narration is always in first-person based on whose story is being told. Sometimes, the narrator changes abruptly and it takes a while to realize that you are following a different person's perspective. That is OK if there is a chapter break with a character's name mentioned on top (like GRRM in ASOIAF), but nope. Mostly, we have guess based on dialogue as to who is speaking. Also each character is referred to using multiple nouns which may denote their name, title, race etc., so it gets confusing pretty easily.
The action scenes are also very confusing. Due to the lack of proper description of the world, it is tough to imagine how the action unfolds. Most of the time, the characters seem to be in mortal peril, only to resume their journey in the next chapter as if nothing happened. There are many attempts at 'mini-cliffhangers' like '...little did I know what would happen next', except in most cases they are complete letdowns.
The author also seems to be caught in two minds whether or not his world is 'magical'. Sure, there are dragons that appear out of nowhere and then disappear without any notice. The world is technologically advance enough to have 'gravity beams' for hover-board like gadgets. Characters are able to 'script/alter' which is a way of altering reality using code. But they can do it on the go, just by 'thinking/muttering' the code?! Why not just call it magic and be done with it? They carry tablets called 'padds' around but don't seem to need them for this reality alternation. That can only be described as bizzare!
Finally, my biggest problem with this book is that there is absolutely no closure. None of the storylines are even remotely resolved. I realize that he's setting us up for multiple sequels, but it is very hard to anticipate them when you really don't care for any of the characters. *BEGIN SPOILERS* Is Quentin dead? If he is, then how did he narrate his side to Logwyn? If not, then why does Micaela insist he died? Or did he fall on to another shell? These are all questions I have that are no answered. Not to mention Micaela's brothers and dad who may or may not be dead, but that plotline is left for dead halfway through the book. What is the deal with the dragons with respect to the two battling shells? I don't know that either. *END SPOILERS*
I sincerely suspect that some of the reviews here have been planted by the author/publisher. I have never seen so many positive reviews for a work that can only be described as tedious and incomplete at best. One of them raves about the protagonist who loves paper and office supplies; that could have been written by someone who read the 'Look Inside' feature of this book on Amazon!
I do know that the author is active on this forum and he will most likely see this review. I do feel bad for him because I really like reading sci-fi and supporting up-and-coming authors. But at this point, I can honestly say that I will not be purchasing the sequel.
The characters are intriguing, and Guthrie breathes life into each in a unique way. I have a few theories about one in particular - but I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
If I had to nitpick, I would say that while a lot of important things happen in this story, there wasn't as much resolution as I would have liked. It definitely leaves you wanting more. Which isn't a bad thing. With its sequel, Fall, already written, I recommend picking up a copy and getting lost in this great story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Our story takes place in a world formed of scattered landmasses or ‘Shells’ that that are kept in gravitational rotation around the earth’s core...Read more