DAYBREAK RISINGAuthor: Kiran Oliver
Series: Daybreak Rising #1
Source: eARC via the Author
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publication Date: September 21, 2016
Rating: 3/5 stars
22-year-old Celosia Brennan spent sixteen years being raised as the heroine her nation needed. A dual-touched Elementalist with both the power to conjure fire and see glimpses of her future, Celosia was the best hope at overthrowing the oppressive Council in a mission called Daybreak, an attempt to secure justice for the massacre of her people and so many others. There’s just one problem: she couldn’t. Celosia broke down after realizing the enormity of her task, and is struggling to make things right while the blood of her fellows stains her hands.
Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally-gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—all except for a powerful ice Elementalist named Ianthe who believes in second chances.
With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not only her country, but their entire world.
Disclaimer: I received an early ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I think this one was pretty good but I had some difficulty following the story line 100% of the time. I think that the plot could have used a little more polishing because there are things I'm a little confused about that I should have a pretty firm grasp on after finishing the whole novel. The magic system was really intricate, well thought out, and well explained. However, the novel didn't give me enough to understand why there was an uprising, what the uprising was supposed to be doing, etc. etc. which was kind of disappointing in that sense.
I really liked the idea behind this: Celosia fails at her task and thus has to try again because you don't see that a lot in Fantasy novels. However, I was confused as to what the task was that Celosia fails and why it was so important that she achieve it. Once the plan was "explained," I thought "Oh man, that was a stupid plan" and it was. This teenage girl has to use her fire to basically burn an entire army with minimal training and never having killed anyone. Who thought this up and said "ah yes this will totally work"? Because they need to be fired from their job.
I loved all the diversity in this one because it was so nice to see LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities being chosen to lead the charge to save the world. However, I think at some points there was the need to include diversity to the point that it caused the plot to fall wayside. There were some points that I didn't know who was being referred to and it felt like some of the Fantasy and plot elements were overlooked so that there could be "inclusivity" discussions, such as when Kayvun (rightly) berates Adan for assuming she will need protection because she is blind. I felt like this was included just to have this discussion because prior to this Adan was really good about ensuring he wasn't stepping over any boundaries in that aspect.
By the end of the novel I had more questions about what actually happened in that novel than I had answers. I feel like there is a lot of good things in it, it just is a little rough around the edges and needs to be tidied up a bit. I think this could easily be done in the next novel though, so there's not too much to worry about.
I say give this a shot if you're looking for an inclusive, diverse NA Fantasy novel. There are lots of fluff moments between the F/F pairing and a lot of on page representation which is great. However, don't be surprised if you get a little confused along the way. For a debut novel, I think this one does a lot of things really well and other things will be learned along the way.