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Dark Rise

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The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember, and they keep their centuries-long vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns. Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember, and they keep their centuries-long vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns. Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant tells him of his destiny to fight beside the Stewards, Will is ushered into a world of magic, where he must train to play a vital role in the oncoming battle against the Dark. As London is threatened by the Dark King’s return, the reborn heroes and villains of a long-forgotten war begin to draw battle lines. But as the young descendants of Light and Dark step into their destined roles, old allegiances, old enmities and old flames are awakened. Will must stand with the last heroes of the Light to prevent the fate that destroyed their world from returning to destroy his own.


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The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember, and they keep their centuries-long vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns. Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember, and they keep their centuries-long vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns. Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant tells him of his destiny to fight beside the Stewards, Will is ushered into a world of magic, where he must train to play a vital role in the oncoming battle against the Dark. As London is threatened by the Dark King’s return, the reborn heroes and villains of a long-forgotten war begin to draw battle lines. But as the young descendants of Light and Dark step into their destined roles, old allegiances, old enmities and old flames are awakened. Will must stand with the last heroes of the Light to prevent the fate that destroyed their world from returning to destroy his own.

30 review for Dark Rise

  1. 5 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    OH SHIT!! The book is the byproduct if Demon Slayer had a threesome with Lord of the Rings, and The Dark is Rising series. I'm dead serious. This was really good, in a slow moving and elegant kind of way. I would shelve this as 'light fantasy', so newcomers are welcome and anyone looking for less high strung intricate fantasy. This is exactly the type of book I can see blowing up on BookTok (TikTok). We got a super slow burn romance, enemies to lovers, villain origin stories, characters reborn OH SHIT!! The book is the byproduct if Demon Slayer had a threesome with Lord of the Rings, and The Dark is Rising series. I'm dead serious. This was really good, in a slow moving and elegant kind of way. I would shelve this as 'light fantasy', so newcomers are welcome and anyone looking for less high strung intricate fantasy. This is exactly the type of book I can see blowing up on BookTok (TikTok). We got a super slow burn romance, enemies to lovers, villain origin stories, characters reborn and reimagined, and basic YA tropes (chosen ones, best friend, warrior, love interest, etc.) all subverted and flipped on their heads. Very very nice. However, while the beginning started off extremely strong, the middle half of the book kind of dragged a bit and I was looking at a 3 star read. And then the last 50 pages and the ending happened and so I'm left screaming and panicking and already NEED the next book. FUCK. I can already tell things are about to get really, really interesting. ' Oh did I mention the main character is bisexual? HERE FOR IT. Anyways, 4 DARK STARS. Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰

    things that have been confirmed by the queen herself; 1) "this story is a classic battle of good and evil in a world full of ambiguities, reversals and twists, where nothing is as it seems." 2) it's a whole new cast of characters and YES the books will have "LGBTQ+ characters as well as some intense relationships" 3) it's releasing sometime during fall 2021 things that alex can confirm hereafter; 1) i'll take 20 please and thank you. things that have been confirmed by the queen herself; 1) "this story is a classic battle of good and evil in a world full of ambiguities, reversals and twists, where nothing is as it seems." 2) it's a whole new cast of characters and YES the books will have "LGBTQ+ characters as well as some intense relationships" 3) it's releasing sometime during fall 2021 things that alex can confirm hereafter; 1) i'll take 20 please and thank you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    me, reading this book: a summary pages 1-400: oh, this is cool. i like the old timey london, the magic, the ancient order of stewards/guardians, the fight of light vs dark, and the chosen boy who is born to defeat evil. hmm. a little slow. yeah, definitely slow. and wheres the romance? oh yeah, its c.s. pacat. that wont happen until book 3. at least theres nothing problematic so far. lol. im really liking this. 🙂 pages 400-464: WHAT!? no way. oh my gosh. oh my gosh. what the heck!? *screams* 😱 THAT me, reading this book: a summary pages 1-400: oh, this is cool. i like the old timey london, the magic, the ancient order of stewards/guardians, the fight of light vs dark, and the chosen boy who is born to defeat evil. hmm. a little slow. yeah, definitely slow. and wheres the romance? oh yeah, its c.s. pacat. that wont happen until book 3. at least theres nothing problematic so far. lol. im really liking this. 🙂 pages 400-464: WHAT!? no way. oh my gosh. oh my gosh. what the heck!? *screams* 😱 THAT. ENDING. the reveals! the twists! the plot thickening! all of it - absolutely delightful. i went on a mini rant awhile ago about how predictable i have been finding YA books, so the fact that how the plot progressed towards the end caught me off guard is a gift from the book gods. im beyond thrilled by the turn of events. what a way to start a series. ↠ 4.5 stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    Probably 4.5 stars but h

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    I finished Dark Rise last night with an upset tummy, a tremor in my hands, and my heart in my throat. Lawd… I told myself that I would make this book last for DAYS -- to savour it and to cherish it because I’m going to have to endure a whole FREAKING year (and then some) for the sequel for goodness sake. BUT HOW IS ONE SUPPOSED TO CONTROL ONESELF WHEN ONE FINDS ONESELF READING A BOOK THAT IS DISGUSTINGLY UNPUTDOWNABLE? ///SNIFFS IN GAY Listen. I have let this book marinate for over 12 hours in I finished Dark Rise last night with an upset tummy, a tremor in my hands, and my heart in my throat. Lawd… I told myself that I would make this book last for DAYS -- to savour it and to cherish it because I’m going to have to endure a whole FREAKING year (and then some) for the sequel for goodness sake. BUT HOW IS ONE SUPPOSED TO CONTROL ONESELF WHEN ONE FINDS ONESELF READING A BOOK THAT IS DISGUSTINGLY UNPUTDOWNABLE? ///SNIFFS IN GAY Listen. I have let this book marinate for over 12 hours in my brain and yet the gaping wounds on my soul still continue to bite, throb, and sting like a mofo. LIKE A MOFO. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO RECOVER FROM THIS FREAKING BOOK PLSSDJALKDJLAKSJDLKASD?! If you thought you knew pain, THINK AGAIN, BITJ. YOU HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED PAIN UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED THIS BOOK HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I went into Dark Rise with expectations that even I couldn’t comprehend. They were so, so, SO massively high that I often worried about how grossly unfair they were. Was I doing myself a horrible disservice by thinking that this book was going to move mountains? How was I supposed to curb my expectations, though? This is C.S. PACAT, we’re talking about. PACAT FREAKING SENSEI. My favourite author of all time. My favourite author of all time who created my favourite trilogy of all time. The trilogy that literally changed my LIFEU. The trilogy that has its claws wrapped around my heart. The trilogy that pumps blood into my veins. The trilogy that feeds my essence. The trilogy that breathes life into my very being. The trilogy that I can’t talk -- or in this case, write -- about without tears springing into my eyes. The trilogy that means more to me than anything in this world. (Jk. My mom kind of takes 1st place but Captive Prince is a close 1.5) AND YET… and yet. OF COURSE Dark Rise exceeded ALL of my expectations and then some. OF COURSE IT DID. My fears were totally unfounded because when has Pacat Sensei ever disappointed? C.S. Pacat and failure don’t belong in the same UNIVERSE. When she conducted her Q & A session over on IG and said that, “Dark Rise is so much better than Captive Prince”, I... hmm. I guess I was rather unsettled because a big part of me doesn’t want anything to up Captive Prince. Nor can I wrap my head around such a concept, really, because impossible is impossible, you know? But I also can't say that it isn't better than Captive Prince because 1) Dark Rise isn’t complete whilst Captive Prince is and 2) they are 100%, totally, COMPLETELY different from each other. Like, so different. It isn't fair to compare them. (There are some VERY interesting parallels, though…) (Parallels that MADE ME WANT TO HURL) (In a good way) That being said, Captive Prince will never be usurped from it’s throne. For me, that is. However, if Dark Rise continues being as epic as its 1st book, then I can MOST DEFINITELY see it replacing AFTG as my 2nd favourite series of all time. That would be a tremendous feat, by the way, because like Captive Prince, all 3 books in the series make me bawl. Only 13 books have managed to make me cry thus far and so if every book in a series manages to break me like that, I consider them powerful entities that I shouldn’t mess around with. ANYWAY, before I GUSH about Dark Rise, -- in bullet points, of course -- I would like to first address this one thing that made me see red for a bit. Although this book is BEYOND spectacular and pretty dang close to perfect, there was a scene in the second half of the book (around 60% - 70% mark) that INFURIATED me to no end. For 3 reasons that aren’t “objective” in the slightest but entirely, wholly, undoubtedly PERSONAL. Because they are personal, -- and according to my sister, highkey petty -- I don’t want to get into it but just know that you shouldn’t worry AT ALL because GIVEN THE CONTEXT (context matters a lot in this case!!!), most people aren't even going to bat an eye or even notice it, really. I mean, now that I’ve finished the book I can kinda see why it happened (not really), but I’m still pissed about it -- and will forever be pissed about it -- just because I think that if you take into consideration the er... life... circumstances (???) surrounding the character(s) involved in the situation, then that one specific thingy could’ve been executed differently/avoided all together. Again, though... I'm petty. 2/3 of my reasons are petty, at least. Anyway, here's to me calling myself out first so you don't have to. OTL OKAY. WITH THAT OUT OF THE WAY… 10 BULLET POINTS TIME!!!!!!!!!! LET’S GOOO~ 1) FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2021? METHINKS (knows) SO. Fence #2 has to take a backseat this year. :( 2) DARK RISE IS EXCITING FROM BEGINNING TO END. Dull moments? Bad pacing? Unnecessary bits? Info-dumping? Easily-confused-by-world-building me not understanding anything? DON’T KNOW THEM PLS. 3) WATCH YOURSELF DIE REPEATEDLY WHEN YOU HIT THE… er, what mark was it? 70%? Something like that. From that point on until the end of the book, you will find yourself HISSING at anything and anyone who DARES interrupt your careful study of Dark Rise. 4) FANTASTIC CAST OF CHARACTERS. EVERYONE IS LIKABLE. Except for this one character who I don’t want to name BUT YEAH. James is my favourite, of course. I can’t say much because spoilers but when I tell you I ///WHEEZED IN GAY whenever he made an appearance? When I tell you the noises that came out of my mouth were so full of DAKLJDALKSJDLKASD that even I went “???” every time I made them? YOU BEST BELIEVE IT, GORL. 5) Shocking me is easy because I’m not the brightest when it comes to analyzing/predicting/figuring stuff out so make do with this bullet point what you will but THE TWISTS!!! THE REVELATIONS!!! THE SECRETS!!! KJASLKDJALKSDJLKASJDLKAJDLKASJDL!!! 6) There is barely any gay in this book. Almost none, really. If you’re familiar with Pacat Sensei's work then you know that romance won’t bloom until, idk, the last bits of the 2nd book, perhaps? BUT OHOHOHO… the thick, palpable tension between Will and James? THE WHOLE LIGHT VS DARK THINGY? THE LITTLE TOUCHES HERE AND THERE? THE ZAPS OF ADRENALINE YOU GET WHEN THEY SO MUCH AS LOOK AT EACH OTHER? THE THINGS YOU DISCOVER MUCH, MUCH LATER ON? HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I’M REALLY… OMG. I JUST CAN’T. I C A N ‘ T. I’M HONESTLY THIS CLOSE TO FROTHING. ///HYPERVENTILATES IN GAY 7) AMAZING FIGHTING SCENES. AMAZING NON-FIGHTING SCENES. AMAZING EVERYTHING. 8) Gotta love the character development, though, dang. I honestly have NO IDEA what the 2nd book is going to look like because Will… omg. I WANT TO ///SCREECH IN GAY BECAUSE I CAN’T SAY ANYTHING BUT SKLDJLKAJDLKAD. 9) Pacat Sensei wasn’t afraid to GO THERE, man. I’m still reeling from one particularly bleak, bleak chapter even. OOF. 10) THE ENDING NEARLY HAD ME PEEING IN MY PANTS. Lie BUT IT WAS THAT GOOD. I’M GOING TO REREAD IT AGAIN. BRB. I’m back. I reread those last few pages 3 times and my heart feels like it’s about to BURST out of my chest. Anyhow… I’m so freaking grateful that my friend gifted me an arc. You have NO IDEA how grateful I am. I wanted this so, so, so bad. So bad I actually dreamt about it. BUT NOW… NOW IT’S OVER AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO . Everything hurts. EVERYTHING H U R T S. ///SOBS IN GAY If you have not pre-ordered this book, do it at the speed of gay. You won’t regret it. Dark Rise will end you but in the BEST. WAY. POSSIBLE. I just know I’m going to be thinking about it for months and months on end. ///WAILS IN GAY I kind of need the friend who gifted me this arc to read this book asap because it’s only fair that they suffer, too. I ALSO NEED SOMEONE TO SCREAM WITH DKLAJDKLASJDKLASJDLKASD. I am going to go and nurse over my bruised and wary soul now. GOODBYE AND SEE YOU IN 2022 WHEN MY GHOST RE-ENTERS MY BODY JUST IN TIME FOR DARK RISE #2.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    We have a cover and a synopsis! YAY!!! XD I'm sure this is Will on the cover! <3 This is going to be fun! I can't wait for this to get outttttt!!!! AHHHH!!! _________________________ I'm on my way to work right now and I almost choked on my coffee reading this! OMG!!! Please someone tell me this is going to be gay!!! 😍🌈 I've been waiting for another C.S. Pacat series for ages!! I'm dying here just knowing there will be one in 2021. *weeps* We have a cover and a synopsis! YAY!!! XD I'm sure this is Will on the cover! <3 This is going to be fun! I can't wait for this to get outttttt!!!! AHHHH!!! _________________________ I'm on my way to work right now and I almost choked on my coffee reading this! OMG!!! Please someone tell me this is going to be gay!!! 😍🌈 I've been waiting for another C.S. Pacat series for ages!! I'm dying here just knowing there will be one in 2021. *weeps*

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    DNF @ 50% i haven't picked this book back up in two weeks, and i just really don't want to force myself to read the rest and put myself into a worse reading slump than 2021 has already been. but i would 100% die for Violet, and i'm 99% sure i'd die for Will, too. i might pick this one back up at a later date, and if the reviews from my friends come back positive, but right now i just don't have the urge. trigger and content warnings up until the 50% mark: blood depictions, loss of a loved one, mu DNF @ 50% i haven't picked this book back up in two weeks, and i just really don't want to force myself to read the rest and put myself into a worse reading slump than 2021 has already been. but i would 100% die for Violet, and i'm 99% sure i'd die for Will, too. i might pick this one back up at a later date, and if the reviews from my friends come back positive, but right now i just don't have the urge. trigger and content warnings up until the 50% mark: blood depictions, loss of a loved one, murder, death, torture, captivity, violence, branding (willingly), colorism + racism (always in a negative light but still doesn't feel good to read, especially because it includes the use of words like rat and mongrel to the biracial south asian mc >.>), brief mention of animal abuse/death, and an impending arranged marriage with a very gross age difference (17 and 37 - again, always in a negative light) Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

  8. 4 out of 5

    rin

    my biggest problem with the book is that it's VERY VERY pacat during the will & james scenes (the chemistry is off the charts, balls to the wall, the dialogue is excellent, james is my little meow meow, another blond bitch boy with a trauma to my collection) but the rest of the book felt like a very 2014-esque YA novel... i was just so bored. until the plot twist/cliffhanger. i had seen it coming from a mile away BUT i vibed with it a lot and that's why i did not completely give up on it. i would my biggest problem with the book is that it's VERY VERY pacat during the will & james scenes (the chemistry is off the charts, balls to the wall, the dialogue is excellent, james is my little meow meow, another blond bitch boy with a trauma to my collection) but the rest of the book felt like a very 2014-esque YA novel... i was just so bored. until the plot twist/cliffhanger. i had seen it coming from a mile away BUT i vibed with it a lot and that's why i did not completely give up on it. i wouldn't call it a game changer or trope wrecker but i would say it was nice. however you can clearly tell the entire book is basically just a setup for the ending (a very long, drawn out and tedious setup at that) and perhaps that's why my reaction to it was more negative than positive. i expect a lot of people will dnf the book early never reaching the fun stuff and im not gonna blame them also i spent 80% of the book being annoyed at the protagonist because i felt like he had a personality of wet cardboard (only flourished in the scenes with james) BUT i would say it WAS salvaged a little by the cliffhanger, so we'll see. (but i really wish the pov switches weren't a thing here. violet is a good character but she never felt like a lead and she had as many pov scenes as will did. i feel like she doesn't get established much as a character, she doesn't really develop that strong of a bond with will, we don't really focus on HER growth. to me she still felt like an npc by the end of the book, and i wish it wasnt the case.) (and what was the point of katherine pov?) (view spoiler)[also the super far-fetched romance.... glad it was flipped by the end of the book because it came absolutely out of nowhere (hide spoiler)] i PERSONALLY feel like pacat is way better at character-driven stories, not plot-driven stories, i wasn't very sold on the plot here. but the dialogue, the push & pull, the power dynamics between will & james? (view spoiler)[the way those power dynamics got FLIPPED? the (potential) relationship built on LIES? (hide spoiler)] insane. im looking forward to the next book only because of it. it's promising to be super juicy if she plays her cards right in conclusion, dark rise 2 stars, kept giving me whiplash on how GOOD will & james scenes are and how much of a slog is the rest of it (excluding the last ~15% but) dark rise (JAMES ST CLAIR CUT) 5 stars, 11/10, will wait for the second book please pull a pg P.S. SIMON IS A TERRIBLE VILLAIN NAME it kept throwing me out of the book every damn time

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marti ♡

    This is not an"OMG I loved it so much I'm screaming" sort of book (like Captive Prince was). Through the first 100 pages or so, I was pretty bored and a little disappointed. It's still too good for me to give it less than four stars I think, regardless of the parts I didn't like. I want to say I’m very tempted to add hidden spoilers to talk about some specific parts, but I don’t want to tempt you if you haven’t read it because being spoiled in this book would really ruin it for you. So, if you’ve This is not an"OMG I loved it so much I'm screaming" sort of book (like Captive Prince was). Through the first 100 pages or so, I was pretty bored and a little disappointed. It's still too good for me to give it less than four stars I think, regardless of the parts I didn't like. I want to say I’m very tempted to add hidden spoilers to talk about some specific parts, but I don’t want to tempt you if you haven’t read it because being spoiled in this book would really ruin it for you. So, if you’ve read it and you want to discuss some spoilers, message me! In short, I found the beginning boring and the ending amazing. If that's enough for you, go read the book. In case it isn't, I'll be a bit more specific. The story: Will's mother is brutally murdered in front of him. Since then, Will is in hiding, working on the docks of London trying to figure out who's behind his mother's death. Long ago, in the old world, there was a Dark King who threatens to come back, and if he does, he'll bring the end of the world as Will knows it. Will is captured by the people who are trying to bring the Dark King back, and he starts to look for the part he plays in this battle to stop the Dark King from rising. By this poorly executed summary you can probably pick up at least three plot archetypes in fantasy: the dark lord, the chosen one, and the battle between good and evil. There are many other subplots: romances, betrayals, mentors, family drama, special artifacts, and more. The beginning: I think it was roughly the first 25% of the book that had me bored. I did not connect with Will, and the setup seemed to be overcomplicated at first. Too many characters, too many promises. It feels like there are too many plot points being juggled around, and it would be easy to lose some along the way. So much is happening to so many characters that it’s hard to follow at first. Mind me, this is at first when you have no idea where the story is going. It pays off to know all these things in the end. The characters: James, James James. You came around and created this fog over all the other characters (which are a lot), and since the moment I saw you, all I could think about was you. I think this was intended but it also backfired, because James was present for so little and the boring parts felt so much more boring without him, and all I could think of was I couldn't care less what's happening to Will right now, let's see what James is doing. CS Pacat is great at creating blond perfect boys, elegant tigers that can stand perfectly still and attack at any moment, who will kill you both with their looks and their knives given the chance. Is James Laurent? No, nor was he supposed to be. Was he my favorite part of this book? Of course yes. I'm sure he'll appear much more in book 2 and I’m thankful for that. Will was, sadly, very much the opposite. Let’s say with James it was love at first sight, whereas with Will it was a very slow burn. I found him plain. In every scene he was in except at the end, Will blends with the background. Even if you’re seeing things from his point of view, even if things are happening to him, you kind of forget he’s there. I have a theory on why this happens but I can’t say it cause spoilers. Knowing this, I kind of forgive his boringness. I liked Violet since she appeared. Her character arc in the book was my favorite one because it was handled so beautifully. We immediately understand how important her brother Tom is to her. We know what she wants, what she can’t have, and what she loses if she makes "the good" choice. The most emotional sections of this book come from her POV, and a couple of those happen in the middle of that beginning I’ve been bashing so much. (It’s not that bad then, you see? You can survive through it.) I’d talk about her more if I could spoil, so when you’re done reading this please come back and text me so I can get it all off my chest. The secondary characters are there to tell you that you might like them. They are also there to say they could be killed at any minute. Or not. Who knows? I guess that’s the fun of it huh? Be careful who you give your heart to. You’ve been warned. The scary YA promise: I’m tired of YA guys. Like, really, really tired. I don’t want to be, because I have SO FREAKING MANY young adult books I still need to read, and I love them. I do! Don’t look at me like that, I swear to you I do enjoy them most of them while I read them. It’s just lately I feel like I've read the same YA book over and over: underdog character needs to do something. They don’t know how to. They learn how to, something goes wrong and there’s a secondary (but who are we trying to fool, it was always the main) romance plot. There are always very dark discussions but it’s always just mentioned, you never see people dying grimly or people having sex, which should be pretty normal right? I have a specific YA in mind now, Wither, where the main character manages to stay a virgin for so much longer than would be realistic considering her situation. I don’t know, maybe it's because I’ve been reading more adult stuff now, but I really hate when these things happen. The point of this useless rambling was that I was scared when I learned this was going to be a YA book. I should’ve known to give CS Pacat some credit. I heard her describing the genre as a young adult with adult crossover, and I agree. There are some tropes of the YA genre (parents are dead, protagonists are young kind of,) but it’s darker than a YA. I’d almost confidently say it’s the darkest YA I’ve read so far. She managed this crossover brilliantly, is what I mean. The World Building: *Can I say it was awesome and leave it at that? No?* Well then, when I started reading the book I was worried. I’ve had bad experiences before of fantasy books taking place in our world. Some authors I think (won’t mention anyone specifically because I don’t want to be mean), don’t want the job of coming up with a whole new world. I’ve found that this often leads to lazy writing. You still need to research the shit out of whatever time period you’ll set your book in, you still need a believable magic system, a well-structured plot, and it can almost be harder because you need to keep in mind aspects from the real world while also being true to whatever you’re creating. In a fantasy world, if something doesn’t work you can make it work by changing the world as you wish. You can’t do that with the real world. A young girl wearing pants in Rome during the 1500s without any explanation would sound a little weird, it might take you out of the story. Dark Rise was obviously very well researched, and the world-building is spectacular. Really I thought I’d hate it, but it ended up becoming one of my favorites. Nothing is said or shown or done by chance. The inevitable Captive Prince comparison: It’s not better than Captive Prince. I’m sorry. It was great, I really enjoyed it, I’m REALLY looking forward to the next one, but guys. Captive Prince is just too high of a bar for me. I’m writing this section mostly because many of you have asked me the question is it better than Captive Prince? so there, that’s my answer. I’ve read one or two books in my life, and I don’t think there’s a story I go back to more than Captive Prince. The plot is so complicated, the characters are SO complicated (so much so in fact, that it’s made it highly controversial among our community). I love everything about it. I still need to write an appropriate review for it because I want to take the time and explain what’s so great about that series, especially for the people who get scandalized by the dark themes. But more on that some other day. Dark Rise isn’t like Captive Prince. It didn’t grip me since the beginning, I didn’t finish it in half a day. But before I keep boring you, let’s play a little compare and contrast, shall we? - In Captive Prince, the most important things are not said to you. You know how Laurent feels in a scene because of how he moves, how he reacts to what surrounds him, and not because you’re told Laurent looked sad. There is not one single “I love you” in Captive Prince. Did you know that before I said it? That’s how good it is at letting you infer. This isn’t absolutely true for Dark Rise. Even if there are many things left to the reader to imply, there’s a lot more than they tell you about what’s happening or how characters feel about this thing. - Both Damen and Will are unreliable narrators. - The way characters are crafted is similar in the sense that you feel you know them even if they just appear in one scene. - There are multiple POVs in Dark Rise, so you get a breather from Will (I’m sorry. He’s really not so bad. He gets better. Omg I’m so sorry). - The impossible tension between Damen and Laurent doesn’t exist in any character of Dark Rise (at least so far). There is some tension, but nothing that compares to those two. - Dark Rise is less graphic. By that I mean there’s no sex. Nevertheless, the blood and violence in Dark Rise exceeds that of Captive Prince, at least in my opinion. - They are both so well thought. I know for a fact CS Pacat thought about these stories so hard, it’s going to be very hard for you to find a plot hole. - Some of you are worried about the triggers for Dark Rise. If you’re one of these people, you can rest easy. There’s no slavery, rape, or anything like that in Dark Rise. Okay while I was writing that I remembered something. Let’s try it again. Don’t worry, there’s almost no slavery and rape (none that happens in the present.) It’s definitely much less than in Captive Prince. The question of romance I've seen plenty of you complain about the fact that there isn't much romance in the book. (I think what you mean is you're sad that Will and James didn't sleep together, but maybe I misunderstand you.) Knowing CS Pacat, I wasn't expecting to find even a little kiss on the cheek between two characters, so I personally wasn't disappointed. If this is your case though, I would advise you to read certain scenes again, maybe parts where the characters you're shipping interact with one another, and read between the lines. The writing: I think it won’t surprise you by now that CS Pacat is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is fascinating, from the way she transports you to a setting to the way she makes you fall desperately in love with non-existent people. Her writing is, simply put, magical. She masters the art of creating beautiful sentences, and as a fan of aestheticism, I find this very satisfying while I am reading. If your enjoyment of books is mostly measured by the quality of the writing, you are going to love Dark Rise. Overall, I’d say this book didn’t disappoint me. Of course, I didn’t expect to like it more than Captive Prince, but I did enjoy it a lot. I hate that we have to wait for the next one because I have a feeling it’s going to be even better.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    ✅✅ James ✅ World-building ✅ Plot ✅ James and Will's interactions ✅🆗 Rest of the characters ✅🆗 Pace 🆗 Kinda romance? ❗️❗️ Not a cliffhanger per se, but some HUGE revelations are just dropped like bombs before the book ends. ❗️❗️ Not too explicit violence, murders, and torture 3.5 stars WTF?! This is NOT where I thought this was going... That ending... I am still shocked. 😲 Ok, so this is a good book, but I was expecting more. I was promised a dark queer enemies-to-lovers romance, and I didn't get it. The ✅✅ James ✅ World-building ✅ Plot ✅ James and Will's interactions ✅🆗 Rest of the characters ✅🆗 Pace 🆗 Kinda romance? ❗️❗️ Not a cliffhanger per se, but some HUGE revelations are just dropped like bombs before the book ends. ❗️❗️ Not too explicit violence, murders, and torture 3.5 stars WTF?! This is NOT where I thought this was going... That ending... I am still shocked. 😲 Ok, so this is a good book, but I was expecting more. I was promised a dark queer enemies-to-lovers romance, and I didn't get it. There are hints that imply that it might be coming in the next book, but still, I am disappointed. Also, having absolutely ADORED the Captive Prince series, I was hoping for amazing characters with incredible character development, but that's not exactly what I got... “Long ago,” said Justice, “there was a world of wonders – of what you and I might call magic. Great towers and palaces, fragrant gardens, and marvelous creatures.” It was like the words of a familiar story, yet it was one Will had never heard before. “In that world, a Dark King rose, growing in power and killing those who stood in his path.” The light from the room’s only candle flickered, obscuring the planes of Justice’s face. ”It was a time of terror. The Dark King’s shadow spread out across the lands. Armies broke against his power. Cities fell to his hordes. Heroes gave their lives to hold him back just for a moment. The lights of the world went out one by one, until there was only one light left, the Final Flame. There, those on the side of the Light made their last stand.” The Stewards are a group of gifted men and women who are fighting the dark evils of the world for the last few thousand years. Their enemies are Simon and his followers, the ones trying to resurrect the Dark King, and will stop at nothing to see it done (it gave me LotR vibes)... And, stuck in the middle of the war is young Will Kempen... Will has been on the run for months now after the brutal murder of his mother. He doesn't know why she was killed, only that he needs to constantly be on the move because whoever killed her is after him now. His life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Violet who is the bastard daughter of a wealthy aristocrat working for Simon. Violet wants nothing more than to impress Simon and earn her place by his side... That is until she discovers that he and her father don't care about her at all and are also responsible for some horrendous acts. The only problem is that Violet has her family's blood in her veins, automatically marking her as an enemy of the Stewards, and now she doesn't know where she belongs and who to turn to. On the other side of the battlefield is James. He is The Betrayer come back to life. He was the Dark King's most trusted general thousands of years ago, and is now alive again, thanks to a dark ritual. He is currently "Simon's Prize" until the Dark King rises again and James can take back his place by his side, and his mission, for now, is to locate Will, capture him, and destroy the Stewards. The whole concept is interesting and well developed. The whole battle between dark and light is nothing new, but I liked that it took place in a Victorian London setting instead of a fictional fantasy world. Honestly, the world-building is great and I really felt and enjoyed the vibe of this book. The pace was quite slow for the first half though. The second half picks up as there is more action, more traveling, and more interesting interactions between the characters (#JamesIsTheBest). The last 50 pages or so are just brutal, it's plot twist after plot twist and I was shocked. Now the book is over and I am still reeling about those revelations and wondering about what will happen to Will and James!? “My whole life, all anyone's ever wanted was to possess me," said James. "The only one who ever set me free was you.” James is definitely my favorite character in this book. He honestly saved the day when he started to be more important in the plot after the 50% mark. His chemistry with Will is insane and their dialogues were a delight to read. Pacat does know how to create great characters with great chemistry. Will on the other side was a little disappointing honestly. He redeemed himself with the last part of the book and he was starting to get more interesting so I have good hopes for the next book because he didn't impress me much for the first 60% of the book. He is not a bad character, but he was nothing super original or impressive either. He felt like the typical YA "chosen one", only with a little Londonian vibe. "The boy savior," said James conversationally. "Simon’s Prize," said Will. Still... James and Will... There is so much potential for an enemies-to-lovers (or even just an enemies-to-BFF would make me happy) between them and it's the main reason why I want to read the next book. I need to know what will happen to them, and also between them. There is obviously a pull there, part of it might be magical, but I also see great potential for an M/M romance, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed! “I think what people were is less important than what they are. And what people are is less important than what they could be.” A big part of this book is about characters and the choices that define them. Violet shows us that just because you're born in a family that serves the "dark side", doesn't mean you're meant to be evil and that you will inevitably turn evil. The opposite is also true, being "on the good side" doesn't mean that you won't do bad things for good reasons, or that you won't end up having to choose between two bad options that will hurt people around you. Now, there was one completely useless character (in my humble opinion): Katherine. Why did she get her own chapters at the end? I didn't care about her at all honestly because we almost didn't see her for the whole book. Then she just appeared and become a somewhat important character just before the end of the book... The kinda-romance involving her also felt quite far-fetched and useless to the story. It is explained in the very last chapter, but it still felt pointless to me. But again, that's just my opinion, and I admit that I didn't like her as a character from the beginning so I might be biased. This book as a whole was good enough but not as epic as I was hoping for. Still, the next one promises to be better and I will definitely read it because I want more Will/James moments and I'm dying to know how their relationship will develop.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Xia Xia

    Probably a good book if you’re like … 12. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the book for me. What I expected from C.S. Pacat’s Dark Rise. And what I got. Listen, I know this wasn’t going to be Captive Price #2. I didn’t come here for Captive Prince. I came for vibrant characters, outstanding character development arcs, an intriguing and original plot and wonderful worldbuilding. Instead, I got Camelot’s most useless knights fighting Sauron and his Nazgûls. I got “My Precious” and scenes plucked from the Lo Probably a good book if you’re like … 12. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the book for me. What I expected from C.S. Pacat’s Dark Rise. And what I got. Listen, I know this wasn’t going to be Captive Price #2. I didn’t come here for Captive Prince. I came for vibrant characters, outstanding character development arcs, an intriguing and original plot and wonderful worldbuilding. Instead, I got Camelot’s most useless knights fighting Sauron and his Nazgûls. I got “My Precious” and scenes plucked from the Lord of the Rings. I got a main character with the personality of a stale loaf of bread. And the biggest issue, I got a book where the most intriguing parts happened behind the scenes and were later told via exposition. Not even James could save this book for me, especially since he appeared for like 3 minutes in the entire story. But whenever he appeared, he made me remember why I loved Captive Prince and why I’ll probably pick-up the next book in the series like a masochist. P.S. This review is being brought to you by Princess C*ntosaurus.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura (thebookcorps)

    MY HEART OMG 🤯 RTC __________________________________ seriously I'm not joking I will not shut up about this book until I have it in my hands and even then I'll probably keep going MY HEART OMG 🤯 RTC __________________________________ seriously I'm not joking I will not shut up about this book until I have it in my hands and even then I'll probably keep going

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anyta Sunday

    Incredible story, I need more Talk about a book hangover! I listened to the audio of this book over three days and every night went to bed dreaming about what I thought might happen, and I was soooo excited to read on, and was not disappointed! This first book is setting up for a most epic gay romance within the fantasy, and . . . God. C.S Pacat is pure magic with her pen. I feel like once book two comes out, this trilogy will take off! Is it too early to already want a movie too? 😍😍😍😍

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    will pay much money if this 'young descendants of Light and Dark' thing specifically manifests in an villain romance will pay much money if this 'young descendants of Light and Dark' thing specifically manifests in an villain romance

  15. 5 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    Hmm. Hmm. Hmmmm. Honestly, I don't know about this one. Let's get this out of the way first : I did not hate my time with this one. But did it grip me, surprise me, pull me in? I have to say.. no. In some ways this book is pretty predictable. And by some I mean.. almost all of it? Add to that fact that the pitch of this set up an expectation of a big dark queer enemies romance and we get none of it in DARK RISE. The story ends in a way that implies it could still happen in book two but I obviously Hmm. Hmm. Hmmmm. Honestly, I don't know about this one. Let's get this out of the way first : I did not hate my time with this one. But did it grip me, surprise me, pull me in? I have to say.. no. In some ways this book is pretty predictable. And by some I mean.. almost all of it? Add to that fact that the pitch of this set up an expectation of a big dark queer enemies romance and we get none of it in DARK RISE. The story ends in a way that implies it could still happen in book two but I obviously had prepared myself for something that I did not see pan out. So that's kind of a bummer. So between the predictability, the lack of romantic tension, and then.. Well, I've kind of lost track of some of the POVs but most of them are new to this fantasy world. Only two really matter in the point I've trying to make though which is : the outsiders seem to have become bigger players than those who had been in this world, living this fantasy life, the whole time. And eventually there is a reason for this (a spoilery one) but at the same time I felt like there was just little to no shock value? No reluctance to believe? I feel there often should be a balance between struggling to come to terms and also settling in all nonchalant like and yet not being too much one or the other. I'm not sure I can properly explain this without you experiencing it but hopefully you know what I mean. I'm also not sure I ever really felt any stakes after the first few chapters. Those had some good tension, a lot of uncertainty, but the deeper we went into the story, into understanding some of the world, which is when you would think the stakes get higher -- and I definitely should've felt this because they are basically end of the world as we know it stakes -- but.. I honestly felt nothing. Maybe because I wasn't invested in the world? Or the characters? I was never quite pulled away from this story or distracted by other things but I definitely was very conscious of reading things, not living things. If that makes sense. Ultimately, now that certain events have played out, I think this is very much a first book in a trilogy/series (whatever it's going to be) issue. It's very possible, now that we have our footing and our reveals, and we stand on the precipice of the romance I wanted, that book two will give me something to sink my teeth into. I sure hope, at least. But in the meantime.. lower your expectations a smidge. And it's possible you might enjoy this more than I did. 2.5 stars ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    I WANT IT

  17. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    screaming foooooreeeeeveeeerrrrrr

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joshita ❤

    OH MY FUCKING GOD C.S. PACAT IS WRITING A NEW FANTASY SERIES WITH GAY CHARACTERS!!! I. am. dead. !!!!!!!!!!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Devanshi

    ⭐⭐⭐. 5 Of course you are. What on earth were those last 4 chapter?!?!? I'm losing my head over this omg. LET ME SCREAM SJSLDIISSOKS. After I got over that ending (spoiler: I'm not over it yet), I'm still not sure what to feel about this book. The whole concept I'd say was amazing. The whole dark-light fight bought into a modern setting and the reborn aspect of it was brilliant. But was the execution slow? Yep. Definitely. I was waiting most of the first half of the book in the ancient London ⭐⭐⭐. 5 Of course you are. What on earth were those last 4 chapter?!?!? I'm losing my head over this omg. LET ME SCREAM SJSLDIISSOKS. After I got over that ending (spoiler: I'm not over it yet), I'm still not sure what to feel about this book. The whole concept I'd say was amazing. The whole dark-light fight bought into a modern setting and the reborn aspect of it was brilliant. But was the execution slow? Yep. Definitely. I was waiting most of the first half of the book in the ancient London backdrop for things to start happening. Which they did around the 55% mark when James came in to save the book. I absolutely love James' character and I know he's gonna be one of my favorite. And once things started happening, I was sucked in but yep, not totally. Maybe I went in with some totally different expectations, and that was the reason I kinda didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. But that's what happened. BUT There came that savior in the form of that brotal last 60+ pages. Classic Pacat style. Making you shout in your bed. That initial WHAT?? turning to NOOOO!! and HOWWWW?? and that ascending realisation that the book ended and leaving you with those brutal questions of NOW WHATTT?? Such an unexpected twist. I feel like if I reread it rn, every slow setting or page of the book would make sense. And the next book is absolutely gonna be something coz I'm extremely curious how Pacat is gonna take the story from here. You could run from your enemies. You couldn’t run from yourself. So was this book as a whole epic? No. But was it worth it? Yes because the sequel would be something to look forward to.

  20. 4 out of 5

    cal

    "It's like this world was a blur. No one else was in focus. Until you." dark rise from c.s. pacat is my first book from this author and it turned out, surprisingly, amazing. it is this classic take of good versus evil, of light versus dark kind of storyline. of new found friends, of destined prophecies, and of course, a boy who lived to save them all. trust me this story sounds like harry potter but it's not. especially with the the twists and the surprises in the last chapters that "It's like this world was a blur. No one else was in focus. Until you." dark rise from c.s. pacat is my first book from this author and it turned out, surprisingly, amazing. it is this classic take of good versus evil, of light versus dark kind of storyline. of new found friends, of destined prophecies, and of course, a boy who lived to save them all. trust me this story sounds like harry potter but it's not. especially with the the twists and the surprises in the last chapters that fucking gutted me. i screamed. i gagged. took me a long ass time to finish this because certain scenes felt way too much. it's is one of those adult fantasies disguised as a young adult one. 'They can't fight magic.' The Stewards, with their supernatural strength, could outmatch any fighting force in the world. But they couldn't fight what they couldn't see. That's why they need me. just a heads up, dark rise is firstly and mainly a young adult fantasy with a romantic elements for like less than 1%. i was ready to give this one up because the romance wasn't really there but the story got me so invested and gripped. i was turning the pages fast, praying nothing happens to my beloved characters. well fuck me sideways because they were happy and thriving in the earlier chapters and in the next they were dropping like flies. The bright star holds, even as the darkness rises. overall, i'm fucking thankful to myself that i placed a good bet in this. i'm looking forward to what will happen in the next books, especially for the romance category because i can see an unhealthy relationship coming. the story ended in a cliffhanger way. or hfn? i'm not sure myself. also, i'm on board with my gay ship! it sailed and hopefully nothing bad will happen to it. it wasn't really much clear until it did.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    I've been watching the advance reviews for this book trickle in from places like NetGalley and Edelweiss and rolling my eyes at most of it, because the general consensus seems to be "this is not anything like Captive Prince and therefore I hate it." For one, the fact that it's not like CaPri is fantastic, given that this is a YA book. It's ostensibly for children, so we should all be glad about its thematic dissimilarities to erotic France vs. Sparta military fiction. On the other hand, though, i I've been watching the advance reviews for this book trickle in from places like NetGalley and Edelweiss and rolling my eyes at most of it, because the general consensus seems to be "this is not anything like Captive Prince and therefore I hate it." For one, the fact that it's not like CaPri is fantastic, given that this is a YA book. It's ostensibly for children, so we should all be glad about its thematic dissimilarities to erotic France vs. Sparta military fiction. On the other hand, though, it actually is a lot like Captive Prince. Let's back up a bit. At the outset, Dark Rise is a pretty straightforward YA fantasy novel. You've got a multi-POV cast of teens in various precarious positions within the war between Good and Evil. You've got a Most Special Special, a chosen one who has descended from the greatest ancient warrior and is destined to defeat the bad guys. You've got the Evilest Evil, a king who is the root of all badness, essentially Sauron without the eyeball tower. You've even got a magic school, where some of the teens go to train and make friends. I read all this with trepidation; it's very reminiscent of cash-grabby YA books that have flopped in the last couple of years, the ones that jam in every possible trope, change perspectives every five pages, and plod along well-worn tracks with mediocre-to-bad writing carrying it all. If this had been an author I wasn't familiar with, I might have quit around 40%. But C.S. Pacat is an almost irrepressibly good writer, though it wasn't shining through very much in this book. I felt pretty confident that something would happen to improve circumstances. And then James shows up. James is Laurent from CaPri, re-skinned as a magical teenager. There's really no other way to describe him. The moment he begins popping up a bit more, the book starts to sparkle. Every scene is suddenly breathlessly, laughably horny in the same way CaPri was, something that is perhaps questionable for YA but ultimately extremely fun. James is what C.S. Pacat does best, no question, and his mere presence among the other characters breathes life into what feels like a flat narrative. And then, a little while later, the book itself takes a turn. It genuinely surprised me at a point when I'd given up hope that this book would be anything beyond the ordinary. I read the last half in one sitting, unable to put it down. For once, the relatively boring lead-up actually WAS setup for an interesting conclusion, something I'd dared to hope for but never received from a typical YA fantasy book. And it introduced me to a new kind of romance trope that I've never seen before and cannot WAIT to see enacted in book 2. This was a four-star read because the beginning was so tough for me to get through, but I feel excited for the rest of this series. I think CaPri fans actually will recognize some similar dynamics here--though, yeah, she does keep the slave erotica to a minimum given that this book is, again, for children. And folks unfamiliar with her work will hopefully enjoy this book for what it is: a twisty and fun addition to the landscape of YA fantasy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    (gay voice but tentatively) oh worm?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Lanz

    “Crawl back to him, then. Crawl back to Simon and tell him, the Lion and the Lady stand against him, and as long as we draw breath, he will never conquer the Light.” Kind of speechless right now... miss Pacat, what have you done…? Dark Rise was somehow both everything and nothing that I expected. It was a culmination of magic and morals and romance and war, a mix executed in such a way that evoked delightfully cryptic and heartwarming feelings alike. Dark Rise follows young Will, a dock “Crawl back to him, then. Crawl back to Simon and tell him, the Lion and the Lady stand against him, and as long as we draw breath, he will never conquer the Light.” Kind of speechless right now... miss Pacat, what have you done…? Dark Rise was somehow both everything and nothing that I expected. It was a culmination of magic and morals and romance and war, a mix executed in such a way that evoked delightfully cryptic and heartwarming feelings alike. Dark Rise follows young Will, a dock boy who—while fleeing his mother’s killers— uncovers his destiny to become a warrior of the Light in a diminishing world of magic. His life is quickly upended by an old servant’s ominous message, one that points him in the direction of The Institution of Stewards, an ethereal future he’d never before imagined. The Stewards are the last who remember the battles of old, and Will soon becomes their beacon of hope against the rapidly increasing threat of a new Dark Rise. A force that will end the world without hesitation. “The bright star holds, even as the darkness rises.” I adored every character of this cast, especially Violet, Justice and James. Violet was sword-slinging badass with a heart of gold (and a backstory that makes me ache). Justice…. Oh sweet thing. I couldn’t tell you exactly what it is about him… but I fell hard. And James. Lord. That (not so) evil boy is something else. (The enemies-to-lovers dynamic being established between him and Will is palpable, I swear). Instead of being your typical chosen-one story, Dark Rise divulges into the telling of so much more since it is expressed by Will, a narrator who lets the supporting cast shine. The atmosphere was another spectacular aspect of Dark Rise; easily one of it’s best attributes. I loved the heady essence of old magic in the Institute for Stewards, and was left with very few gaps of imagination after reading Pacat’s descriptions. The plot twists and pacing left me constantly entertained as well! There is too much I have to say about this book, and not enough coherent thought left in my head to express it all… (thank u for ruining me C.S. Pacat <3) Alas, I am left to mope in silence until I get my answers (and romance!) from the rest of this series. Which I can only hope is being promptly written…

  24. 5 out of 5

    Renée

    Holy. Shit. Poor Will. And poor James even. Just poor everyone in this tragic, beautiful book. I'm so pissed at myself for not waiting until the whole series was released before starting. And I also can't believe I waited so many days after it was released to start it. It's one of those books that stays with you. A hauntingly beautiful story. I can't wait to find out what happens next. Holy. Shit. Poor Will. And poor James even. Just poor everyone in this tragic, beautiful book. I'm so pissed at myself for not waiting until the whole series was released before starting. And I also can't believe I waited so many days after it was released to start it. It's one of those books that stays with you. A hauntingly beautiful story. I can't wait to find out what happens next.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gabi

    I didn't have high expectations for this book. I knew it is a young adult book, I knew it is not MM romance, maybe not even any kind of romance, I knew not to expect anything like Captive Prince, but I still wanted to read it. Good writing and world-building and intriguing characters were all I was asking, and knowing the author's talent, I expected at least that much. And it was still a letdown. Supposedly I will get a character card and a map of London, because I preordered. But I couldn't care I didn't have high expectations for this book. I knew it is a young adult book, I knew it is not MM romance, maybe not even any kind of romance, I knew not to expect anything like Captive Prince, but I still wanted to read it. Good writing and world-building and intriguing characters were all I was asking, and knowing the author's talent, I expected at least that much. And it was still a letdown. Supposedly I will get a character card and a map of London, because I preordered. But I couldn't care less. I should have fell in love with London, but the descriptions were just flat and uninteresting. As a comparison (because I can explain things better if I compare) I can bring up Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Ketterdam is not a city that is so different from London, or even my city, Budapest, but the author made me fell in love with it anyway. Pacat's setting was boring. I feel the story is heavily inspired by Lord of the Rings. And while I have not read the books, I am sure that Tolkien did a better job with the world-building, if the movies are anything to go by. There are lots of similarities and I found this book unoriginal. There were also some scenes that were straight out of Pride and Prejudice and even some that reminded me of Narnia. The cast of characters are probably my biggest issue. Will, the main character is too bland. Way past the halfway point I wanted to kill him off and focus on the rest of them, who are way more interesting. Katherine's involvement did not make any sense to me and her interactions with Will were ridiculous. Cyprian and Violet are the two characters that I see potential in. Oh and James, of course, the villain. It's always the villain these days. :) I think we were promised diverse characters, that much is true. Whether the author meant diversity in the characters social standing and that they came from different worlds (which was part of the issue for me) and had different upbringing, or if she meant lgbtqia+ characters, I think both of those are true. Though we don't get any confirmation on the characters' sexuality, most of it are just my assumptions. And the reason I didn't like the characters all that much is because of the fact that they are young, therefore naive and full of wonder and the urge to prove themselves. This bothered me in the early chapters. It is however an accurate representation of young adults, so for this, I can only blame myself. Lastly, I need to bring up the writing and editing, or whoever is at fault at not showing the passage of time correctly. The last book I read had the same issue, so I'm probably more sensitive to it. But don't try and make me believe that 3 months had passed, when it could not have been more than a week. I call bullshit. And this happened many times throughout the book. I had other issues that I can't talk about because of spoilers. I spent the majority of the book either snickering about the similarities with other books which made some of the elements absurd and hilarious (so in a weird way I did enjoy it); or screaming at the characters, and not in a good way. There were a lot of eye-rolling, sighing, and wanting to beat my head against the wall. I think the author's goal was to devastate the readers. But I would have had to care about the characters in the first place in order to feel devastated, or to feel anything at all. The last couple chapters held some surprises, though if you payed attention you should not have been that surprised. I do think that there is some potential for the next book. I have not decided if I want to read it. I most likely will (for James), but I'll wait for a discount that's for sure.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lia Carstairs

    the fact that two of the characters are named Will and James🥺🥺 Thank you Harper Collins Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Corina

    Loved it!!!! I read it in one sitting, and although it's nothing like my beloved Captive Prince there are enough similarities that I devoured it and can't wait to read the next book. The wait between books is way too long. Especially since the DARK RISE ended at a point when I can feel something epic happening between the main couple. ___________________________________ You can find me on my blog and on Bookstagram Loved it!!!! I read it in one sitting, and although it's nothing like my beloved Captive Prince there are enough similarities that I devoured it and can't wait to read the next book. The wait between books is way too long. Especially since the DARK RISE ended at a point when I can feel something epic happening between the main couple. ___________________________________ You can find me on my blog and on Bookstagram

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lena

    ↠ 4.5/5 ⭐ Ok, so who do I need to sell my soul to get the next book, like right now? PLS I NEED MORE ASAP I fucking loved every page of it. I love Will, even though I wanna slap him. I love Violet (our wedding will be on the 9th of July, on the birthday of my cat). I fucking adore Siprean, with his bitchy attitude. (Is that even how his name is spelled, I don't know, only have the audiobook. And I don't know WHY NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT HIM ) But most of all I love James. Literally all the charact ↠ 4.5/5 ⭐ Ok, so who do I need to sell my soul to get the next book, like right now? PLS I NEED MORE ASAP I fucking loved every page of it. I love Will, even though I wanna slap him. I love Violet (our wedding will be on the 9th of July, on the birthday of my cat). I fucking adore Siprean, with his bitchy attitude. (Is that even how his name is spelled, I don't know, only have the audiobook. And I don't know WHY NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT HIM ) But most of all I love James. Literally all the characters are chef's kiss. But seriously give me more James. I'm kinda obsessed with him. He and Will already managed to claim the title as my new OPT. Although NOTHING happened between them so far. Really nothing. Can I even call it slow burn when it burned this slow? Most of the book these too are not even in the same place, but every time they met I was literally hyperventilating, with how perfect they are together. Enemies-to-lovers will always be superior. Ok, so even if my ship was sailing at a snails pace, this book was far from boring. I loved the story, the world building was amazing and while fighting scene usually only succeed in making me space out, I was invested in this book every second of it. And it was a lot of seconds. I listened to the fucking audiobook of it. 16 hours of pure torture and awesomeness. My ADHD brain normally could never do such a long audiobook, because I get bored so fast, but this one cured me of my fear of long-ass audiobooks. At this point my faith in C.S. Pacat is infinite. I have no idea what will happen in the next book, but I. NEED. MORE. I seriously feel like an addict waiting for their next shot. What have you done to me, Pacat??? AND WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ENDINGGG? It was so fucking painful to read. Also it's really astonishing how I didn't manage to guess a single plot-twist. I mean, there are like 13 of them and I missed them all. They had me gasping, screaming and crying all over the place (or growling like a wolf at my coworkers for trying to talk to me) while I was listening. Can we talk about Devon??? He turned out to be a hella badass „You thought you knew about Unicorns. You were wrong“ like, HOLY SHIT ***OK calm down bitch: Do not spoiler*** Prediction time it is then! As I said I have no fucking clue what will happen, especially where the story will go now that dickface #1 is defeated. I just wish to see more of James and Will together. Also can we get a kiss, pretty please??? I have no idea what will happen to Violet either. I just hope she will reunite with Will again, since their friendship is so precious. And let's be honest, Will does need someone with common sense with him, and we all know that this person isn't James. I don't even know if I ship Violet with anyone, although she and Siprean would be kinda cute, buuuut she is also so badass on her own already. Asexual Violet would be kinda cool. Pls give me asexual Violet. How am I supposed to survive even a week without book 2??? I need that shit more than air to breath and btw, just so you know, the offer on my soul still stands.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    I don't even need a synopsis. It's C. S. Pacat. I'm reading it. I don't even need a synopsis. It's C. S. Pacat. I'm reading it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    ♡ Dakota ♡ (Sarcasm is my middle name)

    Me: I don’t like rushing time! I think we should be happy to live in the moment. Also me: 2021? Come on! Why can’t it be 2021 yet!

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