Cover of New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson. A young woman's figure forms in green smoke rising from the ruins of a city

About the Book

Title: Rising (New World #1)
Published: 2014

Cover Story: It’s Not Easy Being Green
Drinking Buddy: Meh
Testosterone Estrogen Level:  PG-13
Talky Talk: Seen It
Bonus Factor: Gangs of New Tartarus
Bromance Status: A Face In the Crowd

Cover Story: It’s Not Easy Being Green

You know what, I can get behind the smokey, vague figure over the cityscape. Though I’m reminded of those dye packs people used to drop into toilets to clean them.

The Deal:

Seventeen-year-old Phoenix has been on her own in the ruined city of Tartarus since witnessing the brutal murder of her parents years ago. She survives by her wits, hiding from the various marauding gangs that control the city and wondering why her parents chose to leave The Sanctuary, the only surviving bit of civilization left. One day she uncharacteristically defends Mouse, a young, mute girl, from certain death. She wakes up as a prisoner of  the Subversive, a secret organization of those not affiliated with the gangs or the Sanctuary. Do they trust her or are they just planning to execute her? And should she trust them? Why are they determined to bring down everything in the city, including the Sanctuary?

Drinking Buddy: Meh

Two pints of beer cheersing

Phoenix has a complete live for herself attitude. She’s an expert in combat, survival, negotiations, and is the only patron of the abandoned public library. She needs no one. But when she starts looking after Mouse, she shows a soft, caring side she never knew existed.

On the other hand, Phoenix does have a ‘nobody likes me vibe.’ I mean, when you grow up in a city filled with cannibals and mercenaries, that’s an easy attitude to develop. But she takes it to extremes. During a battle, a teammate stupidly grabs her shoulder and she instinctively lunges at him, nicking his neck. He blows it off, while she spends the next chapter internally wailing about what a horrible person she is and how he surely despises her.

But hey, it’s not easy, making friends after the collapse of society.

Testosterone Estrogen Level:  PG-13 (Violence, adult situations)

This was an amazingly violent book, with lots of fighting, dismemberment, disease, implied rape, and torture. Phoenix isn’t a cold, hard killer, but she has no problem aiming for the eye when she’s cornered. An expert aerialist, she makes the rooftops of the ruined city her home. We expect no less from our heroines these days.

Her romance with Triven, a guy from the Subversive, is more subdued. Obviously, Phoenix isn’t quick to trust, and she has a hard time believing he’s not trying to get her alone so he can assassinate her. Things never get past first base, but the scene in the abandoned clock tower was romantic and a little hot.

Talky Talk: Seen It

This was a well-written book with likeable characters and a fast-moving plot. But so was The Hunger Games. And Divergent. And The Maze Runner. We’re kind of at that point where we’ve read so many dystopia/faction books that nothing is registering. I feel the market is kind of glutted at this point.

Also, there were more than a few typos in this one. My favorite was when Phoenix describes a man’s ‘rye’ smile.

Bonus Factor: Gangs of New Tartarus

Daniel Day-Lewis in The Gangs of New York

So the city of Tartarus, once a thriving city, is now under the control of rival gangs. there are the Wraiths, who mutilate their victims. The Ravagers, who hunt humans for sport (they killed Phoenix’s parents). The Adroits, who set traps. The Taciturns, who spy. And the Savengers, who live off the others’ dead. Each has their own insignia, tattoos, and piercings. And then there are the independents, like Phoenix, or the ancient woman doctor who lives in the old water tower. Nice world building.

Bromance Status: A Face In the Crowd

If I had met you ten years ago, I’d be impressed. But today, you don’t stand out from your peers. No fault of your own.

Full FTC disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Of Tomes Publishing. No money or ammo exchanged hands.


Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.