The Rising Storm by Ceri A. Lowe
Publication date: 04 April 2018
Genre: Young adult dystopia
Page count: 352 pages
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
Dystopian novels are funny for me — they either work really well or they just don’t click. I was intrigued by The Rising Storm due to its use of weather phenomenon and climate change as the catalyst for the dystopian society that our characters find themselves in. The Rising Storm is a fast-paced and punchy dystopian read with a great opening chapter — I nearly missed my bus stop reading it, and if that isn’t a great endorsement I don’t know what is.
What if the end of the world was just the beginning?
15-year-old Alice Davenport was a loner and an outcast before the Storms swept away everything she knew. Saved from the ravaged remains of London by the mysterious and all-powerful Paradigm Industries, her fierce independence and unique skills soon gain her recognition from the highest levels of command. But their plans to rebuild civilisation from scratch mean destroying all remnants of the past – no matter what, or who, gets left behind.
Alice must decide if she will fight for the old world, or the new…
Decades later, 15-year-old Carter Warren is woken from the Catacombs after years of cryonic sleep. He’s determined to do whatever it takes to climb the ranks to Controller General – until he realises the Industry’s control methods have become harsher than ever. The Barricades make sure nothing from the Deadlands can get in to the Community – and no one can get out. And a shocking discovery about his own family causes Carter to question everything he’s ever known…
As Alice becomes entangled in the Industry’s plan for the future, and Carter delves into the secrets of his past, they must make sacrifices which threaten to tear them apart. And both of them are forced to confront an impossible question…
Would you dare to risk it all for the perfect world?
While there were parts of The Rising Storm that I really liked, I think that it overall needed a little more work. I am a reader than really enjoys rich worlds and certain writing styles, so a lot of my criticisms come down to taste. The world building felt a little incomplete and I don’t think that certain aspects of the plot and world were explained in a satisfying way. We got some very basic explanations of certain plot elements, but we are told that they were important rather than being shown why they matter so much. One of these examples is why Carter is such a symbol of hope for both the Industry and restless citizens. We sort of get a sentence or two about this, but I didn’t really believe it. We were told that he’s an important, game changing figure but there wasn’t really anything in the plot to indicate this in a satisfying way. We get a lot of these instances of telling rather than showing, and I think it does a disservice to such a compelling plot.
The Rising Storm is also a split narrative. I don’t often enjoy split narrative books because one story is inevitably more interesting than the other, and this was definitely the case here. I was completely engrossed in Carter’s story, but didn’t care for Alice’s story until the book was nearly finished. This obviously comes down to personal taste, but it really felt there was one story that was much stronger than the other.
We have Carter and Alice as our POV characters. Both are about 15 years old, although Alice’s story starts when she’s 12, and they’re living at different periods of time. As mentioned above, Carter is definitely the stronger character in terms of personality and story arc, but I really liked Alice’s attitude toward the destruction of her way of life. Her life actually improves when the Storms hit, making her a bit of a grey area character (and you guys know how much I love my grey area characters). I just wish her story was just a little more interesting. Carter also has shades of grey to him, as he is trapped between loyalties to two different causes. I enjoyed reading through his thought processes as everything he knows is turned on its head and he is forced to make some serious decisions throughout the novel.
Overall, I thought The Rising Storm was a fun, if a bit generic, dystopian novel. I saw potential for so much more though! If you’re looking for just a quick holiday read, I’d suggest checking this one out for some fast-paced beach reading. Just don’t miss your bus stop.
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