Rise of The Sparrows by Sarina Langer
Rifarne is a country opposed to magic. When its people demand harsh action, King Aeric sees himself with no other choice but to outlaw those with the gift. Rachael, a homeless orphan with the rare gift of a Seer, soon finds herself with visions of her own violent death. When her escape goes wrong and she ends up in the clutches of a vicious Mist Woman lusting for her blood, she finds she is the only person to stop the war against people like her – and assassinating the King to become Queen to a people who once wanted her dead may well be the only way to do just that.
**** 4 STARS ****
Up front I'm going to admit this book is everything I typically stay away from. The last YA books I read were the Twilight ones because my daughter assured me the books were better than the movie. I haven't done YA since then. Just not a fan of books where teenagers are the lead, too much drama I guess. I also am not a fan of fantasy. I can watch a fantasy/sci-fi movie no problem, but reading about them...I don't know my mind has a hard time wrapping itself around the idea of that fantasy type of world. All that is said because I went into reading it not sure of how much I'd be able to enjoy it since for me it had two big negatives already.
Things started a little slow for me. I got hung up for a little while on Rachael being barefoot in winter, in snow. I just kept thinking she should have major frost bite, but I was able to move past it. I liked Rachael. She was a street-smart girl and she didn't act like your 'typical' teenager. That could be because of the life she lived, she had to grow up fast, but either way she was very mature and logical and I liked the way she thought things through. Cephy was the same way. She was younger than Rachael and hadn’t been on the streets for quite as long so I expected her to act more immature than she did. The relationship between them was sweet. They had a big sister/little sister vibe and I thought it was adorable how Cephy wormed her way into Rachael's life.
There were a lot of characters introduced and since this is supposed to be a trilogy I expected all of them to be around at the end. I was wrong. This didn’t bug me, but it did surprise me. I also expected the war to be the theme that carried through all three books. I'm guessing it will, but just not in the way I thought it would. Surprises are good, it’s what keeps you interested in a book, so Sarina delivered there. Sometimes I felt like things were repeated too often. Points were made about a certain topic, then flipped around and said again just in a different way. An example of this would be in the prologue when Aeron talks about her importance. The reader already knew from the first mention she was more important than the Mothers, and well everyone else according to her, but we are told this several more times.
In the end, Rise of The Sparrows was a good read. Once all the characters were introduced and the action picked up things moved faster for me and kept me interested in what was going to happen next. I’m not sure how I feel about the love angle that was introduced. Other than Cale being interested in Rachael for her role in the prophecy, I didn’t feel the change in his feelings for her to something more romantic. Maybe that’ll be explored more in the next book that will allow me to connect to him. I did not expect the ending and look forward to seeing what happens with that.
The world, although fantasy, still felt like a real place and I could easily get a layout of it in my head. Also a big thank you to the author for not making the character names something really out there and hard to pronounce. I'm glad I took a chance on reading this book and look forward to reading the next one.