Genres: Science Fiction
Series: The Rift Uprising #1
Published by Harper Collins, Voyager on October 4, 2016
Seventeen-year-old Ryn Whittaker is a Citadel: an elite, enhanced soldier specially chosen to guard a Rift, a mysterious and dangerous portal to alternate Earths scientists cannot control or close. Trained from the age of fourteen, Ryn can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which is good when you’re not sure if a laser-wielding Neanderthal or an axe-wielding Viking is trying to make it through the Rift and into her world.
But the teenager’s military conditioning and education have not prepared her for the boy who crosses through—a confused young man, seemingly lost and alone. Because while there’s an immediate physical attraction, it’s his intelligence and curiosity that throws Ryn off balance. The stranger asks disturbing questions about the Rift that Ryn herself has never considered—questions that lead her to wonder if everything about her life and what she’s been told these past six years has been a lie. Are the Rifts as dangerous as her leaders say? Should her people really try to close them . . . or learn how to travel through them?
I was really excited about this book when I saw it featured on a “What’s New” table at my local bookstore. I was intrigued by the summary on the jacket and I thought the cover was very artistic, the way it combined nature and technology. I was fooled by a deceiving summary and a pretty cover. Overall, the idea was good but the writing lacked maturity. The characters were quite frankly annoying, unrealistic and self-absorbed.
It’s important to note that the booked was shelved in the adult fiction department, and at first, I thought it was a mistake, but it’s definitely published by an imprint catering to adults. Personally I think it would have been better suited for young adults. I have nothing against Young Adult books and honestly, about half the books I read are YA. However, the writing was not my favourite. It lacked finesse, description and was very unrealistic. Even if it was a YA book, it wouldn’t have mattered. The science was unrealistic no matter how much futuristic technology the author tried to hide behind. It’s impossible to have a 110 pound girl physically overpower a huge viking no matter what technology she has implanted in her brain or in her DNA. Physics just doesn’t allow it. I thought the story would be more about trained soldiers, guarding a gate to alternate worlds but it felt more like a high school drama, full of teenage hormones and keeping secrets from parents.
I really wanted to like Ryn, the main character, but she was so self-absorbed despite the fact she tried to do everything to convince me otherwise. When she discovers a conspiracy in the organization that made her the soldier she is, the way she confronts the authority is completely wrong. She thinks herself a great team leader but her attempt to overthrow the organization is unplanned despite all the military training she’s supposed to have. She wants to be treated as a mature adult, but despite the possible danger she faces, her first instinct is to deprogram her inability to romantically touch someone she likes without killing them. Like I said, teenage hormones. I don’t even know if it’s even possible to program thousands of teenagers to avoid sexual or romantic touch, let alone secretly train them to be soldier without anyone knowing. Also, Ryn’s love at first sight romance is just another reason I fail to understand her character.
Oddly enough, despite the book’s many flaws, I enjoyed the story. One thing I really appreciate were the many pop culture references, even though some references were a little to old for Ryn’s generation. For example, I think it would have been more appropriate for 17 year old Ryn to reference The Vampire Diaries instead of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that’s just my opinion.
I think the series has potential, and I’m curious to see where the next book goes. I’m not against reading the rest of the trilogy but I really hope Ryn matures and the author’s writing style evolves away from the high school teenage drama.