#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land #YA #Scifi

The Rising was released on audio in January 2017 and performed by Luke Daniels.

My Thoughts

Eighteen year old Alex Chin, popular star football player, was adopted by a Chinese couple, Li and An Chin, when he was a baby. Football is his passion and with plenty of scholarship offers, he believes he has a bright future ahead. His tutor, Samantha Dixon, is about to graduate and plans an internship with NASA, working with Dr Thomas Donati. All is going well for both of them until a head injury on the football field lands Alex in hospital. An initial CT scan shows something strange, and when Alex has a follow-up the bulbs in scanner burn out and the glass casing shatters. Then Alex’s doctor is murdered. And when Sam finds Alex’s parents dying in their home and have a run in with the non human attackers, she and Alex go on the run with help from Alex’s guardian, Raiff, who has been in the background, keeping an eye on him, knowing this day would come sooner or later. 

It transpires that Alex’s parents have kept something huge from him and more than one group of people want to possess the secret Alex holds. Alex’s world as he knows it, has just ended. He has to deal with a barrage of body blows, literally and figuratively, and becomes a more complex protagonist.

There’s a reason why people once thought the world was flat or ended at the ocean. It made it easier to convince ourselves we were in control of our own planet and destiny, neither of which is even close to the truth. That’s what I learned from Alex and what I need to tell you, what you need to hear. Sure, we know the Earth isn’t flat now and stretches well beyond the oceans. But the truth I’ve learned is born out of a new reality that’s just as extreme and unimaginable.

We want to think this is our world.

It’s not.

We want to think we’re safe.

We’re not.

Like I said before, though, this isn’t my story. It belongs to Alex. If there’s any hope for us left, and I mean all of us, amid the terrible truths I’ve come to know, amid the rising of a dark, new world around us, it rides with him. This is his story.

Because he’s the survivor.

A mix of genres – science fiction, action, suspense and thriller with a touch of romance – The Rising is a novel with a fast moving plot aimed primarily at young adults, although the science fiction aspect would, I think, appeal to anyone interested in that genre. Short, sharp chapters move the story along, maintaining the excitement and tension which is aided in no small measure by a masterful narration by Luke Daniels, with individual and well delivered character voices.

Alex and Sam are completely different in their approach to life but are drawn together because of circumstance – and the fact Sam has a mad crush on Alex. I enjoyed Sam a lot, she and Alex are strong and engaging characters. Although the beginning of the story gives the impression of a classic young adult, it soon morphs into something completely different. It’s non stop action considering everything takes place over a twenty four hour period. 

The storyline is compelling, particularly finding out how Alex was ‘adopted’ and his back story. An easy to understand description of black holes, not to mention the possible life on other planets. I like the way the story opens with the entry from an anonymous journal, giving a sense of anticipation for what was to come. However, the opening chapters went over my head, I’m afraid – I know little to nothing about American football, but that said they set up Alex’s initial mindset.

I’m not familiar with Jon Land’s work and didn’t know quite what to expect from this combination of authors as it’s a complete departure for Heather Graham as far as I know. But it works extremely well. It seems this is just the first battle Alex, Sam and Raiff will face, and the story will continue.

About the Book

Twenty-four hours. That’s all it takes for the lives of two young people to be changed forever.

Alex Chin has the world on a plate. A football hero and homecoming king with plenty of scholarship offers, his future looks bright. His tutor, Samantha Dixon, is preparing to graduate high school at the top of her class. She plans to turn her NASA internship into a career.

When a football accident lands Alex in the hospital, his world is turned upside down. His doctor is murdered. Then, his parents. Death seems to follow him wherever he goes, and now it’s after him.

Alex flees. He tells Samantha not to follow, but she became involved the moment she walked through his door and found Mr. and Mrs. Chin as they lay dying in their home. She cannot abandon the young man she loves. The two race desperately to stay ahead of Alex’s attackers long enough to figure out why they are hunting him in the first place. The answer lies with a secret buried deep in his past, a secret his parents died to protect. Alex always knew he was adopted, but he never knew the real reason his birth parents abandoned him. He never knew where he truly came from. Until now.


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