The Rift: Uprising
I’m not sure why I decided I needed to start another YA series, but something about The Rift: Uprising caught my attention. It was a slow start, and the end result was not terrible, though I doubt I would have finished it if I hadn’t been reading it for review.
The book opens with Ryn, a teenager – a Citadel – who patrols the Rift. In this world, Citadels are enhanced soldiers, faster and stronger than others, and almost all of them are teenagers. The Rift, by the way, is a portal between dimensions. There are innumerable different Earths out there, and the Rift connects them all. The problem is, no one has a map and the government insists that anything that comes through the Rift stays on this side. They have even set up a village for the intelligent creatures that come through. Or at least, the ones that don’t immediately start a fight with the Citadels and get annihilated. Ryn is the team leader of her little group, and basically spends her life fighting, training, and worrying about the others. It’s understandable, since she’s in charge, but ultimately kind of boring.
Things change for Ryn when Ezra falls through the Rift from another Earth much like hers. For reasons she can’t quite understand, she promises to visit him in the village – a place Citadels are not allowed until adulthood – and manages it through a series of Jason Bourne-worthy spying and sneaking activities. Also, she sees a unicorn, which apparently came through the Rift. Just to further emphasize her virginity.
Oh, did I not mention the virginity thing? Yeah, apparently there is some sort of either training or programming or possibly even technological implant (not telling what, no spoilers here!) that keeps Citadels from having sex with one another. Basically, any kind of sexual excitement triggers an almost berserker rage, which has apparently ended in more than one hospital visit for an unlucky partner.
The first fifteen percent or so of the book really drags. We have the whole Rift plot, plus the teenager subplots (Ryn’s family doesn’t know what she does, she can’t have a romantic relationship, etc). By the time I worked out what the actual plot was, I was tired of it. It’s really hard to care about the characters when there is no coherent plot – and when the hints of a love triangle appeared (I am not a fan of the YA love triangle), I was about to give up. But then – at last – things picked up.
Back to the story, which has now finally begun. As Ryn sneaks into the village, she starts to see what’s really behind the work she does. The government has brainwashed not only its own soldiers, but also those who have come through the Rift. Ryn uncovers evidence (with the help of one of their medics, a member of the first race to come through the Rift) that the Citadels have also undergone brainwashing, to a criminal degree. After all, Citadels begin their training at 7 years old.
Overall, there are some interesting moments in the story, but after the incredibly slow start I was already unhappy with the story, and just never really got into it. There were a few elements that I liked (Ezra the love interest was interesting, if predictable), but I can definitely think of other YA series that do similar things, and do them much better. Who knows, maybe I’ll give book two a chance – there shouldn’t be pages upon pages of multi-point plot set-up at least.