C.K. Donnelly’s TRINE RISING is the first book in a promised series, and does a fine job of introducing readers to its world and characters without too much tedious explication. We are given the information we need naturally, as characters interact and speak and, most of all, worry, but it feels as natural and comprehensible as the Kinderran words sprinkled through the dialogue, most of which can be understood by connotation and cognates without reference to the handy glossary in the back. It’s an interesting world, too, with its own defined culture, religion, and norms, well thought-out and well-described, and worth exploring.
Mirana is a standard archetype, the teenage Chosen One, but her character is approached in a different way – instead of a heroic destiny, the signs in her own visions and in the prophecy point to the possibility that she just might become the villain, making her fears plausible despite her obvious good heart. And the character who is set up as the villain has a clear and in some ways persuasive argument for being the hero of his own story, whose only goal is to bring peace and comfort and spare innocent human lives the horror of war. It’s a nice touch, and it makes the story more complex and interesting. Mirana’s Unaspected sweetheart, Teague, is a good match for her, warm and caring, and her parents, the province’s Prime Desde and Kaarl, the leader of its Defenders, are truly loving and supportive and cherish each other, their daughter, and their duty to their province over all – which makes certain revelations and plot twists in the book even more heartrendingly powerful. And the Trine Tetric Garis, who takes over Mirana’s training, is clearly a deeper and more complicated personality than he reveals on the surface – it’ll be interesting to watch his character develop as the series continues. The plot takes a bit of time to get started, and quite a lot of quiet angst on Mirana’s part, but once it does, the action is swift and fierce, and the characters and readers are both mercilessly swept up in it. There is enough resolution at the end to leave the reader feeling as if something has been accomplished, but enough left hanging to make you eager for the sequel. All in all, this is an excellent start to a series, and promises well for the rest of it.
TRINE RISING is an intense and emotionally-engaging beginning to a promising new fantasy series, set in a well-crafted new world with believable and thoroughly human characters.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader