As ever, Kelley Armstrong delivers an entertaining, fast-paced, paranormal novel. With The Rising, Armstrong wraps up the Darkness Rising trilogy, though likely not her young adult tales set in this universe. The Rising brims with actions and tough decisions for the teenage characters. This review is spoiler-free for the series.
Yet again, I'm really grateful to find romance not the central element of this series. Armstrong focuses primarily on the group dynamics and world building, instead. In The Rising, Maya and her friends face their biggest challenge yet: trying to escape to cabals. The stakes are very high, and Armstrong takes a pretty unique direction with it compared to a lot of evil corporation stories. The characters all have shades of grey to their natures, and it lends a dose of realism to the supernatural story.
Almost all of the characters in the Darkness Rising series are at least somewhat sympathetic and likable. Bad guys aren't always all bad, and the good guys have their dark sides. Maya is a powerful heroine, who takes care of herself and her friends, clearly the leader of their little pack. Daniel and Rafe, the two love interests, are both decent guys, strong and devoted to their friends. Sam, perhaps my personal favorite, is sarcastic and a bit mean, but the kind of person a group needs to have around to get things done. Hayley may be blonde, but there's more to her. Corey's the clown, around to lighten the mood in the tough moments. In addition to those guys, the Darkness Rising series also joins up with the Darkest Powers series, with the main characters of that series making an appearance.
While there is a love triangle, Armstrong does a nice job with it. Only at the very end is it completely certain which guy Maya will choose, for one thing. Even better, Maya never leads anyone on. She reacts honestly and openly to those around her, and never claims to love both guys equally. When she finds herself in that situation, she takes the time to think things through and make an informed decision.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The Rising does flag a bit towards the end, changing in both tone and pacing. It felt as though Armstrong realized she needed to wrap things up, and did so as quickly as possible. There's a bit more telling through that section, and my mind wandered a bit. Still, I do like where the series left off fairly well, and do want to know more about the characters and the world.
The Final Verdict:
Though the Darkness Rising series is complete, readers have not seen the last of these kids and their world, and I am very glad of that. Kelley Armstrong is the author of consistently enjoyable novels, and I recommend them to anyone who enjoys paranormal stories full of action and a bit of romance.