(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Over a remote northern forest, a small plane carrying five teenage friends flies into a freak storm. Struck by lightning, the aircraft crashes and the passengers find themselves cast into a life-changing adventure.
In a hidden valley, a mysterious people gaze at the stormy sky as a glowing object with fiery wings disappears behind a mountain ridge. The astonishing sight reignites an ancient prophecy foretelling the arrival of five chosen ones destined to become bearers of light against a dark storm gathering on humanity’s horizon.
In a distant city, a secretive organization led by a shadowy figure initiates a sequence of cataclysmic events designed to wreak havoc across the planet, beginning with a remote mining site in a northern Canada.
As the three worlds collide, unlikely heroes arise. Armed with powers entrusted to them by the ancient prophecy and the resilience of their life-long bond, the five teens take a stand against a malevolent foe.
[Full disclosure: I received a free paperback in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]
One word I would use to describe Aegis Rising is ‘solid’. Not ‘great’ or ‘amazing’, but solid. Why? Simply because it was a solid novel: good characters, a decent enough plot and fairly good world-building. However, it never had that wow factor.
As I said, the characters were okay. The five teenagers who crash in the plane are named Aari, Jag, Kody, Mariah and Tegan and they react about as well as you’d expect to suddenly being surrounded by a strange culture in the middle of nowhere. Especially since Kody doesn’t know where his dad (who was flying the plane) is. Still, they at least realize that they can’t do a thing about their situation until they’ve got their strength back up so they hunker down and make the best of things. My only real problem with the teens is that they’re just a little too perfect. They never whine, complain or angst at any point (even when an adult would be) and they’re all described as drop dead gorgeous. I like to have teen characters that don’t constantly angst, don’t get me wrong here, but you have to be just a little more realistic.
The plot was decent enough. It sort of combines elements that both fantasy and science fiction fans will be familiar with. There’s a prophecy set to come about and the teens must train to use their powers in order to save the world. Only, the water supply of the valley is being poisoned and they must stop the Big Bad from doing that. I think you can guess who the Big Bad is, especially if you watched Avatar or Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest. There’s a little bit more depth to it than that, but I really would have liked for some plot twists toward the end instead of having Segran play the tropes straight.
The world-building was actually pretty good, but as I’ve said it never crossed into amazing territory. At first it seems ridiculous that people in the valley have stayed hidden for so long, but the explanations provided by Segran are reasonable enough. They build their huts for camouflage up in the Canadian wilderness, they have the Guardians protecting them (who are enormous bear-spirits) and they truly are self-sufficient. Heck, they even have their resident scientist to think up new innovations to make life in the Dema-ki quite modern. The magical powers portion of Aegis Rising is pretty typical, with no magical powers you probably haven’t seen in fantasy before. However, it was reasonably well done and I wasn’t left asking “What’s going on here?” by the end of the novel.
All of these elements (characters, plot and world-building) are good enough, but they never really crossed into ‘amazing’ territory for me. Segran’s writing was a little too simplistic for that, to be honest. I would have appreciated more in-depth descriptions of the beautiful world around them as well as how they practiced their powers, rather than their banal conversations with each other. Still, I honestly can’t think of anything that went ‘wrong’ with this novel so it is a solid book. Not good, but pretty solid for me. I think that most people out there would call it ‘good’ or ‘enjoyable’ but my problem is that I’ve read too many novels similar to this. If you haven’t, then I can’t recommend Aegis Rising enough.
I give this book 4/5 stars.