YA Review: Risen by Cole Gibsen


Title: Risen

Author: Cole Gibsen

Release date: March 27, 2018 (Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for a fair review)

Rating: 3/5

Two sentence summary: When vampires kidnaps Charlie’s aunt, she must rely on the immortal Sebastian to get answers involving her aunt’s disappearance in exchange for helping him uncover his past as a human. But with mounting tensions in this underworld, she must find her aunt quickly before she is pulled into a war between covens.

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What I loved: Here’s a little fun fact that, if asked about in public, I will probably deny—as someone who was a preteen during the whole “late 2000s Twilight craze,” I have a slight guilty pleasure for paranormal romance. I don’t write it and generally don’t read it anymore, but it makes me nostalgic. Risen was a pleasant surprise because it didn’t feel like a guilty pleasure. Which, y’know, as a twentysomething guy with what some would call “fragile masculinity,” was a relief.

Risen starts off in a way that makes you think it’ll turn out like every other YA paranormal novel on the market—girl discovers that vampires exist, falls in forbidden love with a broody (read: attractive) vampire, and finds herself in peril that somehow works out so she can get it going with said broody vampire by the epilogue. While Charlie and Sebastian’s relationship is a heavy element of the story, it doesn’t follow the typical formula. Charlie is a strong character who doesn’t fall hopelessly in love with Sebastian because he’s handsome. Their relationship’s development is complicated and flawed in a way that ends unfinished, yet satisfying.

The only complaint I had about this book is that sometimes, the romantic subplot was just a little too heavy for me. I enjoy a good love story but sometimes felt like Charlie and Sebastian’s relationship overwhelmed all other elements of the plot. It’s not a criticism so much as a personal preference. If romance novels are your thing, then this will be a strength.

Quote: “You humans are all so afraid to die. You spend your entire lives dreading it. Fighting to embrace death for the gift it is, you would have nothing to fear.”

Recommended: If you’re a paranormal romance fan, you’ll enjoy the ways that Risen takes traditional conventions of paranormal romance and twists them in a way that makes it unique. It’s a quick, compelling read, and perfect for an evening in when you want to lose yourself in a story.

Next week: Over Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellison