I’ve enjoyed historicals by Terri Brisbin in the past. So, what to say about Rising Fire? Sadly, I spent most of the book feeling about as bored as the hero on the cover looks. The idea at the heart of this series caught my attention, but in this opening volume of the series, the story just doesn’t come to life.
We learn as the book opens that a powerful, evil goddess is trapped beneath the ancient standing stones. The action then shifts to 13th century Scotland where a man named Marcus is startled awake by a horrifying premonition that something terrible is about to happen. It is time for them to fight evil, and so he sets out with his band of followers.
In the Scottish village of Yester, young Brienne has been raised by the local blacksmith but knows herself to be the illegitimate daughter of the powerful Lord Hugh. Brienne has secretly discovered and started to nurture her talent for commanding fire, little knowing that this talent of hers will soon turn her world upside down.
And, in case you’re still able to follow the plot summary, here is the last bit of background: King Alexander of Scotland is convinced that Lord Hugh is in league with something unholy, and so he sends trusted William de Brus to Lord Hugh’s lands to ferret out what is happening. Alexander fears his own health is weakening due to some unknown curse brought by Lord Hugh.
In Yester, William discovers Brienne and not only is he overcome with lust for her, but he also soon figures out her hidden power. The novel is written in such a way that I often felt distanced from the characters, so even though the real action gets cooking fairly early on in the book, I had a hard time getting into it.
Added into this problem of distance, much of the plotting felt a bit predictable. Of course the leads have some form of fated mate/insta-love (or at least lust), of course the heroine with powers must be in peril, and so on. Epic battles of good and evil are probably as old as storytelling itself, but one can still find tales of this type which feel new and fresh.
Rising Fire felt neither. It’s pretty much the definition of an average read. It’s not good enough to recommend, but not bad enough to actively warn readers off it either.