Rise of Souls by Michelle Zink

6 Jul

 

Una Whelan has spent her life on the island of Altus.

Altus is the island that bridges the gap between the Otherworlds and our own. Lia Milthrope has closed the Gate, barring Samael entry to the mortal realm. Though the closing of the Gate came at great personal sacrifice to Lia, there is hope and joy for the first time that Una can remember.

She indulges in this newfound peace with her suitor Fenris as much as Lia enjoys a life filled with her husband Dimitri and their two sons. However, their newfound peace is about to be shattered completely.

When a Guide from the mortal world to the island of Altus is found on the island’s shores, she speaks of a man with a tattoo that runs up his neck, a tattoo of a snake, the mark of one of the Lost Souls. Una knows that she has only a moment to warn Lia and Dimitri before they are under siege.

Dimitri tells Lia and Una to take their sons into the water, to separate them and keep them safe. With her heart in her throat, Una takes hold of one son and Lia the other, neither woman sure whether they will ever see their beloved island again…

I was thrilled beyond words when it was announced that Michelle Zink was working on a brand new trilogy of novellas that would give us further insight into the world of the Prophecy of the Sisters and the characters that lived within it.

In Whisper of Souls, we are treated to a prequel from Adelaide’s perspective, Lia and Alice’s mother. In Mistress of Souls, we’re given a “midquel” that is told from Alice’s point of view during the events of Guardian of the Gate. I wondered what role Lia would be given, but interestingly enough, Zink has chosen another narrator in Rise of Souls.

Since the end of Circle of Fire, I’ve wanted to go back to Altus and to swim in its waters, to walk along its beaches. I also wanted to see Una again, a character I fell in love with. So not only do we get a sequel of sorts to the trilogy, we also get to have the story told from her point of view.

I love what Michelle Zink has done here, giving us a prequel, midquel and sequel that don’t take anything away from the story of the original trilogy. Instead they add to it, in the case of Whisper of Souls and Mistress of Souls.

However, Zink has taken a risky move and changed everything we thought we knew in Rise of Souls by changing the happily ever after we thought we knew and going beyond it…and giving us an ending that might not be so happy after all.

In the hands of a less talented author, this astounding feat of literary trickery might have fallen flat on its face as a gimmick, but in Zink’s capable hands, she pulls off a shocker of an ending with grace and aplomb that left me wanting more.

Rise of Souls answers questions I hadn’t even thought of, gives us more insight into the world of Altus that has captivated so many and leaves us shaken to the core about what we thought we knew. It also gives us a glimpse into the world of Una, a secondary character that stood out for me like a bright shining star. I’m glad she’s had a chance to shine on the printed page and speak in her own voice, if only for a little while.

Much like the prophecy itself, Rise of Souls is unpredictable. However, much like the original Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy, the new trilogy of novellas is gripping, incredibly written, filled with characters and plots that pull you along and tug at the heartstrings and unputdownable.

Rise of Souls is everything you could wish for and then some and a fitting end to the trilogy of novellas. I only hope, with the way that Rise of Souls finished, that there is more to come.

However, like the prophecy itself, I will have to wait and see what fate decides and what part Lia and Una have left to play.

I love everything about Rise of Souls (and the two novellas preceding it) and can only hope for more.

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