Wednesday 23 January 2019

Book Review *NZ AUTHOR* The Rift by Rachael Craw

You probably know by now that I have a soft spot for local authors. I found Rachael Craw through her previous trilogy: Spark, Stray and Shield. You can read my review here.

After following her on social media I became curious about her newest novel - The Rift. It seemed totally different to her previous offerings and I was intrigued. I have just finished the novel and I must say that I am sad to say goodbye to these characters, they are very well written and have found a place in my heart. I am sure I am not alone in having my fingers and toes crossed for a follow-up.

The Rift is a Young Adult fantasy novel set on Black Water Island. The island is laced with magical ley lines and is home to the Old Herd, deer who's horns have amazing healing powers and can communicate to the Rangers who protect them through telepathy. These Rangers live on the island and ensure that none of the ancient Old Herd are hurt by Rift Hounds, other-worldly demon dogs who can only be seen by those who have Rift Sight. These hounds appear when the moon is full and the Rift on the island opens.

Cal is an apprentice Ranger who has an unusual set of powers that came about from a Hound bite when he was young. Meg was injured at the same time as Cal but has lived on the Mainland until recently. As Meg returns, tensions arise from the Head Ranger's dealings with Nutris - a pharmaceutical company trying to capitalize on the powerful deer horn.
Meg has always wanted to be a Ranger but has no training, Cal is being pushed into something he doesn't want, and Meg and Cal have a connection that is more than electric. They must work through physical and psychological wounds to save the Head Ranger and the Old Herd as the Rift opens for its most dangerous time yet.

This novel dives straight into the intricacies of Black Water Island and the first third of the book feels like you are running to catch up with the story. The world is well constructed and conjures beautiful imagery of New Zealand-esque scenery - with thermal pools and a rugged, harsh landscape. The fantasy-side of the story takes a little to get your head around, but it doesn't make it any less mind-blowing. As I read the book, I was transported to the island and I could clearly see everything in my mind. It takes a great wordsmith to bring a world to life, and Rachael does this so well.

I loved the characters of Meg and Cal. They are both so intense and physically and mentally scarred which creates a broody mood that is eased by Meg's humor and quick wit. Meg is a great female lead who isn't afraid to get dirty and shows plenty of courage. There is a bit of PG romance that compliments the intense action plot well. The novel really ramps up on the tension-scale and has some great twists that surprised me. I did feel that one of the major plot lines was left unresolved, hence the request for a sequel.

I could go on and on but I won't. You will just have to find out yourself. The Rift gets a huge go-and-read-this-now tick from me!

As a bonus, I messaged Rachael with a typo I found - she replied straight away and proved me wrong, turns out there is a weird turn-of-phrase that both she and I think is just so wrong but her editor and the Macquarie Dictionary says is right - check out her post below:

Who knew?

Anyway, if you are in the mood for a faced-paced action novel with zombie space dogs, then get your hands on this book. Keep em' coming Rachael!

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