In a shattered reality filled with questions and secrets, the terrifying truth may not be who she is, but what.
Camille Scipio awakens one morning remembering nothing of her life. The sword and bow feel like old friends as she eases into the safety and comfort of Sierra Village. Able to gut a squirrel in two seconds and hunt in the forest past curfew, she’s devastated when a mysterious beast attacks the village and mortally wounds the family she’s grown to love. The family she failed to protect.
Now, fleeing for her life, and hunted by the tyrannical High King of Aspera, Camille finds herself at a crossroad. Led by genetically superior assassins known as Praetorians, Camille struggles to understand her role in the new reality she’s forced into. As her horrific memories threaten to consume her, Camille must make a choice: join the Rogue rebellion or seek revenge against those who wronged her. Can she defeat the demons within and fight for freedom? Or will she slip into the darkness of her past?
Kastie Pavlik, Author of The Arrival
I was privileged to read an ARC of Praetorian Rising and this is my honest (and spoiler free) review.
Summary: Camille awakens not knowing who she is and settles into a simple life in a small village in Aspera, a nation oppressed by its king. In the blink of an eye, her world is turned on end and she’s whisked away to the central hub of a rogue rebellion. Left with few answers to her many questions, she finds herself in the middle of something big, bigger than anyone expected, and soon she’s in the midst of battle fighting alongside her new comrades against the king’s army and beasts of legend. All the while, snapshots of memory pry open her mind and that may very well unleash something worse than anything they’ve fought yet.
Short and Sweet: I loved this story. I sank into it, connected with the characters, and shuddered at the end already looking for book two. Prepare to exercise self-restraint not to peek ahead!
Long and Hard: McSpadden breathes life into her world with such realism that you can imagine standing in a forest, moss clinging to ancient bark, ice and crusted snow crunching under froze feet, the sting of sleet burning your cheeks, and all’s quiet until the madness comes under the gallop of horse hooves or screeching of beasts. This is fantasy with real world elements that the reader can easily imagine, which leaves plenty of room to take in the sass and charm of her characters. While her memories are elusive, Camille’s muscle memory and reflexes are sharp. She’s strong, stubborn, and set in her ways, despite not knowing where those ways come from. Her traveling companions, Vesyon and Theo, seem to want to protect her as much as they fear her—or, rather, they protect her because they fear her? Either way, she’s not one that needs protecting in a physical way, something they know all too well. Vesyon and Theo know Camille better than she knows herself in a quite literal sense and her interactions with them seem to define their relationships. Spunky and teasing with Theo, yet mature and serious with Vesyon, Camille is pulled to both and doesn’t know why, but their shades of intimacy draw you in and strike an emotional chord. The story is laden with an undercurrent of tension, and, much like the characters, the reader finds few moments to relax—and even then, the author keeps you on your toes. There’s something not quite right in the nation of Aspera, a fact not lost at any point, but the world and characters progress from beautiful and simple to dangerous and complicated at a maddening pace that makes your fingers itch to turn the page and your toes curl into your blankets. The secrets stack and tension mounts all the way to the chilling and breathless end that will leave you gasping for the next book.