Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press (October 8, 2019)
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Young Adult Novel/Hardback
Praise for THE RIFT
“Thrilling … A fresh and original story; a standout in the fantasy genre. The romance between Cal and Meg blends envy, desire and uncertainty with a potent authenticity. Written with a sparse lovely poetry, The Rift demands an immersion that is intoxicating. I can’t recommend this enough.” ―Isabelle Carmody, author of The Obernewtyn Chronicles and The Gathering
“Gripping, brutal, tender. You won’t be able to put this book down.” ―Michael Pryor, author of The Laws Of Magic series and Gap Year in Ghost Town.
“Beautiful, dark and deliciously tense – an astonishing world that will hold you in its finely wrought claws.” ―Alison Goodman, author of the Lady Helen series and the Eon series.
“Masterful and brilliant! Beautiful world building, stunning writing, a cracking plot, perfectly paced and hot romantic tension. Craw has outdone herself.” ―Fleur Ferris, best-selling author of Risk, Black, Wreck and Found
Storylines Notable Book Award, 2019
Finalist, New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, 2019
As corporate greed is pitted against supernatural forces, two young friends must try to protect the precious Old Herd — and their island itself.
For generations, the rangers of Black Water Island have guarded the Old Herd against the horrors released by the Rift. And Cal West, an apprentice ranger, fights daily to prove he belongs within their ranks. But even greater challenges await with the return of his childhood friend Meg Archer and the onset of a new threat that not even the rangers are prepared for. Now Meg and Cal, while struggling with their mutual attraction, must face their darkest fears to save the island from disaster. In a possible near future where Big Pharma is pitted against ancient traditions and the supernatural, Rachael Craw’s gripping and brutal tale, inspired by Greek mythology, will immerse readers and leave them intoxicated by its richly imagined world.
I want to first thank the publisher for my copy of the book. What follows is an honest review and my opinion alone. There was no compensation given for this review.
What instantly pulled me into this book was the blurb. It seemed so different and interesting that I wanted to crack this book open. What kept me going was the ambiance and the world. I’m not sure if the Pacific Northwest was an inspiration for the book or not, but I got some serious PNW vibes with Black Water Island. And to top it off, I also got some Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle vibes. So, I was very much on board with this book.
In terms of story pacing, the story itself is a bit slow in the beginning. More so because you don’t really get what is going on in the Island and how Meg and Cal fall into the world. It’s not slow in the writing, just in the mental execution as a reader. That said, once you hit about 80 pages, you should know whether or not you are in for the story. I was in.
I absolutely loved Cal and Joss. Joss for his perky sidekick ways of doing things. He had a whole bunch of personality and just not enough time to keep him going. There is no restraining that boy and I would love to see more of him. As for Cal, he had that big broody kind of attitude with him. The silent type who won’t speak unless it’s very important. And I was very into it.
Note, it is rare for me to “fall” for a character and I definitely fell for Cal. I wanted to cuddle him and just hiss at all the others (except Joss, he can stay).
Meg wasn’t a bad character. She grew on me as the book progressed and I do like her as a character. The way she and Cal worked against or with each other was well done. She and the other characters had a great chemistry.
The world itself is so expansive that there doesn’t seem to be enough to talk about it. Even though this book is written as a standalone, I can definitely see the story and world progress. There is so much left to understand. Like the Rift, Fallon, the Hounds. . . so much more I want.
The story wasn’t predictable, but I can see where you would be able to guess what is going on. In my case, I was too inside the world to really try to theorize or guess what was happening. I just wanted to be immersed and stay in there for a little while. And, on a huge plus, I was able to read the book in three days (I’ve been having a big reading problem lately so this was a big win for me). I didn’t want to put it down!
Final Rating: 4/5
P.S. Ms. Craw (if you happen to read this), I would love more. I know you don’t have anything planned, but there is just so much with the world and how you set up the characters. Come on, you know Joss needs to be out more. Okay, I’m done being a bother, but really, I am definitely going to need more of your writing (though I still say more of the rangers please!).
Rachael Craw began her working life as an English teacher after completing a degree in Classical Studies and Drama at the University of Canterbury. She dabbled in acting, directing and writing for amateur theatre productions and small independent film ventures. Her passion for dialogue and characterisation finally led to long-form writing with the Spark series. Rachael’s enthusiasm for classical heroes, teen angst and popular culture informs much of her creative process. She enjoys small town life teaching, writing and mentoring at the top of the South Island of New Zealand where she lives with her husband and three daughters.