Here is the summary from Goodreads: Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.
What I Liked: 1) Finally, finally, finally, we learn where the Guardians come from. And I was surprised to find the answer. Where it came from was completely not what I was expecting, even as I was halfway through Rise. But it was very settling to find out how Guardians came to be. 2) Ember's loyalty. You can't help but feel sorry for Ember because she is being torn in so many directions. She has a strong sense of loyalty that I appreciated in this book, and without it, I don't think the book would have been as good. It guided many of her decisions, despite the pain and anguish that she suffered because of them.
What I Didn't Like: I wish I was able to get into this prequel duo more. For as much as I loved the Nightshade Trilogy, these books seemed to be much less...emotional. Not emotional in the sense that it makes me cry or it's dramatic or anything. But where as in the Nightshade books I felt like I was right there with Calla and Co, I didn't feel that way with Ember and her friends. I think this is because Ember didn't give into the emotions the way that Calla did, they are different people after all. (Wow, I've failed big time at my "do not compare" policy). I think because Ember is from a long past time period, she has much different responses to certain emotions. This is a trend I've noticed about myself when it comes to historical fiction. Sometimes I struggle with them when they have reactions to things that I don't understand.
Overall Thoughts: I'm glad to finally find out where Calla and her packmates came from, and I was surprised by the ending, that it didn't turn out the way I was expecting. I personally wasn't able to relate with Ember very much. There are things about her that I appreciated, but my inability to personalize her made it challenging for me to get as deep into this story as I generally like to be. I think all fans of the Nightshade series should read this at least once, to get answers to the many questions we've had since first meeting Calla. I probably won't be re-reading it anytime soon, but I am thankful for the answers. I'm also looking forward to Andrea Cremer's next works, to see what she does outside the world of Keepers and Guardians.
My Rating: 2 shots