Title: Rise (Trifecta #1)
Author: Luis Almonte
Publication Date: Sept 5, 2016
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Do you believe in vampires? That is the question that is floating around South Haven, MI, as deaths surrounding mysterious circumstances are the talk of the town, at least for a small group of students that attend the South Haven Academy for the Gifted and Talented (SHAGT). The prestigious school welcomes the best and the brightest, but vampires aren’t the only paranormal phenomena South Haven may be harboring.
Enter a world of magic where all is not what it appears to be. Skill, stamina and loyalty will be tested in Rise, the first installment of the Trifecta Series, as Alexia Wick, a 15-year-old high school sophomore who also happens to be an Alerium witch, prepares for one of the biggest competitions of her life -the Annual Trials. Alexia will train for the annual rite of passage challenge, which pits witch against witch, by focusing on her craft and pushing her magic and spell casting abilities to their absolute limit. Along her journey she will fall in love with a mysterious new boy that’s just moved into town, but a dark secret could soon tear them apart.
When Alexia is confronted with the ultimate game of chance, and is torn between her first real love and the allegiance that binds her to her coven, will she buckle under the weight of the pressure … or will she rise to the challenge?
I really was hooked by the premise of this story. I loved the idea of Witches and Vampires and I was expecting epic battles where spells are casted and violence and chaos ensure, lives are endangered and saved, unlikely heroes arise to take on bad guys and just all out amazing. I did get a glimpse of this but what I mostly got was mostly teenage angst, an insta-romance reminiscent of “Twilight”, the occasional magical showdown. I also saw moments of brilliance and huge potential for this series.
Most of the story takes place in South Haven Academy for the Gifted and Talented (SHAGT). I thought the author captured the spirit of high school and the shenanigans really well. The dialogue was also very well written and flowed effortlessly. I do wish there was more prose to break it up though but that’s just a personal preference.
The main character Alexia is a typical teen with her insecurities and impulses and I felt she was likeable enough. I did not understand or appreciate the insta-romance between her and the vampire Kaleb since the huge age difference should have made it nigh on impossible for them to have anything in common much less be appropriate since Alexia is only 15 and he is more than a century old. Some might find that romantic but I found it disturbing.
Most of the story is taken up with Alexia’s daily routine and school life which include preparation for the Trial. Nothing really close to exciting happens in terms of conflict for the first 80% of the book except for the teaser in the prologue. That made for a borderline boring read. The dialogue was helpful in driving the momentum of the story but the story lacked in world-building. I wish I could have seem more witchy stuff in action but what little I read about, was really interesting. I hope to see more in the sequel.
Overall, I think this series has potential that is yet to be fully realised. The ending was exciting and the best part of the story but didn’t totally negate the negatives mentioned. I would like to read the sequel to see how things progress and how the characters develop.