Author: Lorna Reid
Publisher: Ravensforge Books
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository
Can you change fate? What would you risk in order to save the ones you love? Lovers of dark adventure, magic, and following your heart should not let this book slip away. Can prophecy be overcome, or does striving to avoid fate merely drive you into its arms? Since the day Danny Stone's mother vanished, dreams of dark and strange places have plagued him nightly. Though years have passed, the burning pain of her disappearance still consumes him - as does his need for answers. Then one lazy summer day, Danny and his friends Katrina, Poppy, and Russell discover their parents' long-hidden secret - and their lives change forever.They enter a fragmented, broken world of magic, blades, and blood in a quest for answers, but the mystery of what happened to Danny's mother only becomes more terrifying - and yet there is hope. But there are other, bigger threats at hand, too, as evil begins to stir and the Oracle's prophesies herald a coming darkness.It seems that Danny's dreams were only the beginning...Rise of the Reaper is the first book in an exciting new YA fantasy series by British author Lorna Reid. A perilous quest, filled with magic, blades, and blood. This adventure will make your pulse quicken, even as the shadows begin to stir.
Rise of the Reaper is one of the first self-published books that I have ever agreed to review. I, like so many others, had been put off in the past by all the horror stories that you come across. You kind of end up thinking you might end up getting stalked or maybe bottled if you end up not enjoying it, and writing an honest negative review. But I really liked the sound of this one, and especially appreciated Lorna Reid's email asking me to review it - it was clear she'd been to my blog, seen my content and my review policy (hurray)! I also got to read an extract and realised that this was a book I really wanted to read myself. After finishing it, I am so glad I decided to take a chance on this book because I really enjoyed it, and it's also made me excited to read the sequel.
This book is a fantasy novel, that sees our characters go from our own world into a magical word they never realised existed. This book throws you right into a whole new world, and it has a wonderful and large cast of characters. It was very jarring to me at first, but I got used to as I went on and things got more familiar. I always struggle with new fantasy books, just because there is always so much to learn about the world, the characters, the magical system, the political system and so much more. I mostly struggled with keeping characters straight in my head, as there were many characters and the teens actually had present parents, which I applaud, but they did confuse me a lot. This book jumps into that very quickly and it took me a while to catch up with the characters. But I was fascinated by the world and the magic system that Reid created.
There is so much going on in this book, which felt overwhelming at first when you get thrown into it. The final two thirds are where you have your head around everything and can enjoy the story. I loved the magical world in this book, with oracles and portals. But, without a doubt, my favourite part of this book was Aquattrox, which is the main sport played. It is an exhilarating and rather dangerous sport played in the water, involving more hardcore dolphin type creatures. Aquattrox is the first sport in fiction, since Quidditch, that has actually fascinated me and made me wish I could go watch it in real life - this means a lot, coming from someone who does not do sports!
Another thing that I enjoyed, that others might not, was all the swearing! That might just be because I'm a terrible person, with a rather big fondness for the word fuck. But it also just felt more real for this book and the characters, as it felt like how people would actually talk in those situations. I do think it is a bit of a shame though, as this feels like a book that could really appeal and work for middle grade readers as well, if it didn't have all the swearing - which might put off a lot of parents from getting it for their children.
I loved getting to know the world and the characters in this book. It's a great start to a series and you learn so much about the world in this one. I know the sequel will be one I could jump straight into and know exactly what was going on, which means I could get lost in the story straight away. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel in this series and can't wait to see where the story goes next. If you are looking for a new YA fantasy series to start, then Rise of the Reaper is a great place to start.
1. How long did Rise of the Reaper take from first concept to completion?
I started Rise of the Reaper while I was bored at my job one day, many years ago. After silly amounts of planning and working things out I finally got to work. It took about a year to finish, and then came the dreaded editing, which took ages. And then about a decade passed while I wrote books two, three, and half of four (along with what would be my first published book, a standalone Britcom-style book called The Septic Circle).
I eventually hit a road block with book four and it had been playing on my mind that I *really* needed to go back and re-write Rise of the Reaper. So much had changed with the characters alone over those years, let alone anything else. That took a while, then throw in the professional editing and proofing needed … so, over a decade from start to finish. I should probably look at improving my speed, come to think of it. I think there's a slug with a pen in my garden who's put out more books than I have.
2. What did you enjoy most about writing Rise of the Reaper?
Finishing it. Just kidding! No, seriously, I think I enjoyed the characters slowly coming to life and developing beyond what I had planned for them. I love writing the banter and non-essential stuff the most. I'm always at my happiest when I'm writing about the adult characters chatting, arguing, and messing about (I love writing Thom and Pete), or Danny doing something shocking or Poppy being so outraged she could scrape your face off with a steely glare. That's the fun stuff for me. Of course, if you follow 'the rules' those are the bits you should consider cutting or trimming back. That sucks. Screw the rules, I'll fight you on the beaches for the right to keep my absolutely non-essential (but so much fun) ice-skating party or Aquattrox match (the food fight from book one had to go, though. RIP).
3. Rise of the Reaper is book one in a new series, how many books do you plan to write for the series and have you wrote the first draft of book two yet?
No set end point, but given that I have about two thirds of a handwritten draft for book four laying under my bed, I'd say it has a way to go yet. Maybe at a guesstimate… seven? And that's just the start. I want to write some spin-offs focussed on just one or two of the younger characters at a time, and I also want to go back to visit the lives of the adult characters in their own series – I love them too much to not focus on them at some point. There's so much cool history (cool and good, bad, and *very* ugly) and character stuff there that I'd be crazy not to. (Also, I've been shipping those adult characters hard for years - shhh.)
Not only that, but I have some plans for some shorter stories or a couple of collections - Tales From the Black Pass or similar - and stories from the city, with Air or others involved. So, not too much then.
Book two, like Rise of the Reaper, was finished years ago, but will be re-written (just starting now). Just like with book one, book two – Darkwalkers – will be re-done to better fit all the changes I've made with the story, characters, backstory, and more. I've grown as a writer in that time, too – it's over a decade since I finished book one – so it's only right that I rework
Darkwalkers, too. Hopefully, though, it will mean that, as I have the bones to work with, it won't take so long (famous last words there).
4. Can you tell us a little something about what the characters get up to in the next book?
I'm horrifically spoilery when I get talking. So bad. My sister can worm stuff out of me so easily and she *knows it*, so I have to be so careful. Okay… tell no one. Well, except all you guys, because you're special.
Book two, Darkwalkers, is something of an interruption as well as a continuation of the first book. The quest intensifies and becomes focussed through one, terrifying, dramatic event. If the race against time in the first book added pressure, then this one ups the stakes.
Not only that but the characters get divided up. Katrina and Danny will be taking a dark road together and Poppy and Russell will be getting into trouble all by themselves, as they get a better look at the face of the enemy (one of them, anyway). The characters really start to develop in Darkwalkers… they grow, often painfully, beyond those earlier more innocent days, and their relationships along with them.
The Oracle wasn't wrong when she said to Danny that the rest of his life would begin at Darrant Ridge. Remember that thing he took? His life is going to change, drastically, because of that. It will shape his destiny and more.
I could say loads more but *spoilers*, and I can see watches being tapped. That said, if you read the first book and catch me on Twitter in a gabby sort of mood, I'll tell all. Okay, not *all*. Maybe just the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow (lies - I'm allergic to maths).
5. What books inspire you to write or are your personal favourites?
I think my inspiration comes from all those books where the characters are thrown into an adventure. Something far removed from their ordinary life, where they can be someone else, something else, visit strange and wonderful places where magic escapes the realms of imagination and ensnares you! Looking back, so many of my books were like that. Adventures, strange worlds, magic, the empowerment of youth and also the beautiful naivety of it.
Growing up, I loved Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness books. There was a female character that I could identify with, whose skin I wanted to climb inside (not creepy!). She kicked arse and got respect and was the equal or better of those who would perhaps look down on her for her gender. I also loved So You Want to Be A Wizard by Diane Duane. Later on I fell in love with the work of Terry Pratchett and Ray Bradbury (The Day it Rained Forever was wonderful).
Pratchett created a world I can only envy as a writer and be devoured by as a reader – so much richness and colour and character – layers upon layers of it. It's what I strive for. What
anyone should strive for. That said, although I love the colour and vibrancy of Ankh-Morpork present day, and Reaper Man is among my all-time favourite books, Nightwatch was perhaps his finest hour. The darkness practically cuts you.
I'm also a big fan of non-fiction – escape stories, treasure hunting, shipwrecks, maritime mysteries, and treasure islands… I suppose even in the real world I still secretly love adventure.
6. You have an aquatic sport in your books, Aquattrox. Where did that come from? Also, who's shirt do you wear?
*Love* Aquattrox. I wanted a sport that reflected my world (although I took inspiration from the Mayans). Dark, fast, and violent. Something that's fine to watch, but which you sure as hell don't want to be a part of. I knew I wanted it to be played on water, and riding creatures that are distant cousins of dolphins made it easier for the players to speed around. I borrowed the nets from Lacross and the water spouts as goals were a nasty addition, helping to seal the whole thing up in a delicious but dangerous bow.
I don't know how many hours I lost dreaming up names for teams and thinking of all the awesome ways players could foul or injure one another. I've got a pretty cool list of penalty-worthy activities, now. Sometimes I read it and laugh, and then feel grateful it's fiction. Also, Port George Tides rule.
Not only was Lorna Reid kind enough to take part in a Q&A, she also agreed to do a giveaway. The first prize winner will get a copy of Rise of the Reaper, a bag and some other goodies. Three runners up will also get a copy of the book. This giveaway is international.
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