Confession time, I requested this title on NetGalley before I realized that Entangled Teen specializes in YA romance. As a result, I put off reading Analiese Rising a lot longer than I should have, but the cover was so beautiful and the blurb so captivating that I eventually gave in. And guess what? Once again I got my hand slapped for judging a book by it’s genre and ended up really enjoying it. Youthful, spunky, and full of the questionable decision making that marks the transition to adulthood Analiese Rising has as much humour as it does adventure which make for a fun and fanciful read.
Title: Analiese Rising
Author: Brenda Drake
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Genre: Fiction, YA, Fantasy, Mystery
Themes: Survival, Magic, Murder, Adventure, Romance
My Rating: 4/ 5
Half-Blood meets Antigoddess in a thrilling, romantic new series from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Drake.
When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.
But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.
Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how to save the world—from herself.
Okay, so the first strong thought that I had about this book was that it’s kind of like the DaVinci Code meets Mortal Instruments. We have a couple of teenagers running around Europe with an obscure set of clues, trying to locate a mysterious and mythical objects with a some demigods, revenants, and magic thrown in the mix. Granted, I like Drake’s writing a lot more than Dan Brown’s, so if you share similar opinions don’t let the DaVinci Code reference scare you away! It’s light on the romance, heavy on the adventure, and has just enough hope and humour to keep the big-bad from feeling overwhelming.
The next thought was ‘what in the hell is Analiese doing, getting on an airplane to Italy with a boy she barely knows? I’d never do that!’ In fact, I was foolish enough to voice this opinion out loud when describing the book to some family, and was promptly reminded ‘no Jessica, you’d just go by yourself’. So, once I was put back in my place and reminded of my own love for adventure in my teen years, Analiese suddenly became a very relatable protagonist. Of course, I didn’t have any magical powers to work my way through when I hit Rome at 18, but I found the geography and atmosphere strikingly nostalgic and incredibly well described. It made me want to go through all my old pictures of the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Roman Forum.
I loved the dynamic between Ana and Marek and genuinely thought that they made a good team. I appreciated Ana’s insecurities and moments of defiance, as well as Marek’s inherent need to protect and insatiable curiosity. Their personalities were well balanced, and actually represented one of the healthier relationships I’ve read in YA recently. Sure, Ana is a bit immature and impulsive, but I have no illusions of people (especially teens) being fully rational in the wake of major traumas. Now add in the fact that Drake has written a relatable character battling with some anxiety issues – which not only brings to light some important discussions surrounding mental health, but also some important lessons in empathy.
It was touching how close Analiese was with her family, especially her cousin Dalton and her maternal grandparents. I didn’t really relate to the dynamic experienced between Ana and her aunt, but it made for a good story and a character that you can love to hate. I was completely shocked by some of the twists and turns in the plot, especially when it came to digging up the family past, and I would have loved to know a little more about Ana’s parents.
And let’s not forget the artful inclusion of multiple mythologies as a basis for the fantastical elements. Heavy on the Greek mythology, I was pleased to see that Drake included mythologies from around the world including some of the Norse, Malaysian, Chinese, and Hindu gods. Throw in the Risers, the Risen, and an a secret society and you’re in for a mighty fun read.
Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! It might not be for everyone, with all the mention of Marek being sooooo hot, but it’s fun, playful, and incredibly well written. If you’re ready to get your flirt on with a touch of myth and magic in the mix, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.