Review: Morning Rising by Samantha Boyette

In the ever present dusk of Inbetween, Kara Hart wakes up dirty and alone with the memory of a girl named Dylan. She remembers meeting Dylan and how her heart beat when Dylan touched her face, but nothing else. When Kara is sent to Demitar, the evil ruler of Inbetween, the truth is revealed. She is Dylan’s Guardian and neither of them are who they thought they were.

Set in a darker version our own world, Morning Rising follows Kara as she tries to save Dylan from Demitar’s clutches. She is given three days to find Dylan and get her out of Inbetween before she belongs to Demitar forever. Memories must be regained and powers restored if they have a chance of escaping. Each memory and sighting of Dylan helps Kara remember the love they once shared. If only she can help Dylan remember before it’s too late.

Review

I love books! If you love books you usually know you love reading all the time, but you know how sometimes when you finish reading a book and at that moment you know just how much you love books and reading? I was having that experience as I finished reading Morning Rising by Samantha Boyette and whispers of that feeling while I was reading her novel. I find it hard these days to have that pull a book creates, where you think about it when you’re not reading it, you feel you won’t be able to concentrate on anything else without knowing what happens next, and when it finally ends it’s a bittersweet mix of feeling elated and sad. Morning Rising created that pull for me and after not feeling it so strongly for some time I appreciated the reading experience even more.

I believe this may be a new favourite of mine. Why? So many reasons. The first reason, so I can get this out of the way because I think this may be a big chunk of my love for it, is the LGBT concept. And I’ll just add here, this book is not necessarily about the LGBT community and I feel I must say it should not be the main focus. I can’t help but pay attention to it because I’m irked by so many things and being bisexual and all… So it’s not the focus, but I feel I must comment on it for those who are of the same mindset as me. That of not wanting to deal with stereotypes or the other things I will list further.

Of course it’s not just the LGBT concept on it’s own, that wouldn’t make me express all this love, but what the concept is coupled with. My experience of reading and watching the LGBT genre isn’t always a good one. For the most part, the media is tinged with erotica, or the community is misrepresented and stereotyped, or makes a big deal of there being gay characters. Coming across that enough kind of turns you off wanting to experience LGBT media all together.

Morning Rising isn’t erotica, there’s no stereotyping, I don’t get the impression of the author giving herself a pat on the back (I’ve read books like that before and it was painful) and my favourite is there’s no singling out anyone’s sexuality. It’s all just normal really, which is great because it is normal, but it’s lovely to be able to read a story where it isn’t made into a big deal (like I seem to be doing at the moment…). Can you tell I read mostly straight fiction? Probably. My point is the love interest isn’t a cliché in that boy meets girl way thanks to so much media expecting women to end up with men. At the same time I don’t think the whole girl ends up with girl scenario was overpowering either. It’s more of a this-person-loves-this-person scenario and gender doesn’t come into it.

I love that it’s also a YA novel. I think it’s important for there to be stories young adults can read and enjoy, both straight and LGBT, where they can relate to the characters regardless of their sexuality. And not have it geared towards one side of sexual orientation. My view may be clouded because I am bisexual, but I do feel the focus was far more on the characters and their connection to each other to the point where straight readers could read Morning Rising and not only enjoy it, but relate.

As for the characters and story itself – I’m not big on fairy even though I’ve read it a few times, but I really liked the idea of Inbetween. I would have loved to experience the world some more, but the glimpses you’re afforded while you’re reading is enough to paint a picture and give you a feel for what this place is like. There’s a great mix of fey creatures, some we know, some we’d recognise yet they’re not the generally perceived view, and others that come across as original creations. There really is motley there, but they all fit in with the fey setting.

It was also interesting having the characters have individual powers. While that could have given the story a lacklustre feel by giving the characters too easy an out, I felt they had enough limitations to not always tip the plot in their favour. However, I would have liked one of the battle scenes to include more of what was going on around them rather than centring mostly on the girls. For the length of the book though, I think the detail of the battle scenes was acceptable and it helped those scenes still had plenty of action coupled with fast-paced writing.

I enjoyed all of the characters, even Dylan. Although when it came to Dylan I found the like took some time to develop, but I think that was mainly due to her spending a lot of time under the influence of drugs. The girl has some issues to start with and then there is another reason why there are so many drugs. Getting to know her, unlike with Kara, was sketchy in the sense of her having to recover memories. I don’t feel this gave a fragmented view of her character, but I do feel it played a big role in warming up to her.

The other characters on the other hand, especially Kara and those she comes across, I found much easier to get to know and warm up to. I can’t wait to discover what happens with them and this is one of those times I’m delighted to know this is not a stand-alone novel.

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