Rising Shadow-Jacquelyn Wheeler
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 9/09
Source: Received copy through tour ran by La Femme Readers
Ashlyn Woods just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops amazing powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.
Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.
And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.
Rising Shadow is an easy read, and Ashlyn is a likable narrator. She's a girl who has worked her way through junior college so she can finally attend the college of her dreams. She quickly settles into life at her new school, making fast friends with her roommates, and even acquiring an enemy in the prickly Kelly.
She also meets Kai, who at the time is Kelly's boyfriend, but it's clear that the relationship is rocky at best. She feels a connection with Kai, but they don't get together right away. When they have a first date any girl would dream about, he tells her that he's moving halfway across the country, which of course is heartbreaking to Ashlyn. I do feel that Kai and Ashlyn fall in love quickly, but it's not two pages after they first met. They are connected in a way that most couples are not, so it read true for me.
As she's falling in love with Kai, Ashlyn is also discovering her Soterian powers. She can fly and become invisible. She meets the other Soterians in her group who all have various powers. I liked the idea that the Soterians have powers only when needed to take down evil, it gives the story a different tone than I've seen before. How could you get used to normal life once you no longer have those powers? Together with the rest of the Soterians, Ashlyn looks into a recent scandal in the gubernatorial race in California, the new governor seems to be more than just a little bit evil.
Rising Shadow mixes romance, martial arts, the supernatural and politics into one powerhouse package. I read the book quickly and overall did enjoy it, there were only a few sticking points for me. First, I felt that some situations were resolved too easily. Ashlyn would get herself into a tight situation, and I would feel my heart beat pound, wondering how she'd get out of it, only to find a neat solution a page or paragraph later. It was a bit disappointing as a reader. Secondly, there were some bits of dialog in the book that seemed to drag on for awhile-I felt that things could have been summed up quicker.
If you're sick of reading about vampires, angels or werewolves, I suggest you give the Soterians a try.