This novel is the third and final installment in the Eve series, picking up where Once left off. Caleb is dead and Genevieve has been married off to Charles, her father's right hand man. Genevieve's (Eve) father continues his draconian control of the City. Moss, a rebel who goes by the name of Reginald in the City, seeks out Eve as the plans for the attack by the rebels on the City move forward. He brings her a substance to poison and kill her father, so rebels can gain control of the City. They were unable to procure ricin, a deadly poison and instead Eve is given oleander extract to use. Moss instructs Eve to place the poison in her father's medication and that this will signal the start of the attack on the City. Once the attack begins, Eve is to leave and remain in a safe place for several months until order is restored.
Shortly after, Eve learns that she is pregnant. Her father believes this is Charles baby, however he is unaware of the true nature of Eve and Charles' "marriage". When Charles is told of the pregnancy, he does not reveal the truth that the baby is not his but tells the King that he is very happy.
Eve manages to place the poison in her father's medication and he becomes ill immediately afterwards. At this time the attack on the City by the Outlander rebels commences but does not appear to be succeeding. When Eve witnesses the execution of several rebel leaders and her father begins to suspect that she has played a part in both the attack and his illness, Eve knows she is in great danger and must leave. She barely manages to escape the City, taking with her Clara and many girls from the hospital. Originally, Eve had wanted to take Charles and his mother with her when she left, but that was not possible.
The group led by Eve travel west, hoping to reach Califia and safety. When they finally reach the colony of Califia, Eve is told by Quinn what has been happening in the City since her escape. Her father, in an attempt to discover her whereabouts, continues to arrest and interrogate Palace staff. Those who are interrogated do not return. The bodies of those executed remain hanging in front of the Palace. Eve realizes that unless she kills her father, she will never be safe, that he will continue to hunt her. She also knows that young girls will continue to be abused under her father's government. With this in mind, and despite being more than 3 months pregnant, Eve decides to travel back to the City with the expressed intent of confronting her father. Can Eve save what is left of her life and prevent other young women from meeting the same fate as Ruby and Pip?
Rise was a somewhat disappointing anti-climatic ending to the Eve trilogy. Readers will find themselves somewhat disappointed with the ending of the novel which is somewhat subdued, despite Carey tying up some of the lose ends. Readers are left with many questions; what happens in the City after its collapse, what happens to Eve, who were the fathers of all the babies, and is New America reunited? And what about Eve's a heart-stopping discovery? What comes of that?
Rise focuses more on action rather than the relationships between the characters, mainly because most of the important characters are absent in this third novel. Caleb is already dead, Moss is killed, and Charles and Eve's father remain in the city when Eve escapes. Carey removes all of these important characters from her story, thus taking away most of the emotional impact, the suspense and more importantly, the conflict and the romance. Eve spends most of her time traveling in Rise, as the novel focuses on her attempt to get nine girls to the safety of Califia. Focusing on the main character traveling from point A to point B and back to point A slows the pace of the novel, weakening the interest of the reader. There's almost no conflict and very little danger as a group of nine girls, one seriously injured and one pregnant, traipse through the wilds of post-apocalyptic America.
The death of Caleb in Once, turns out to be the emotional climax of the series, and yet is treated only superficially in that book. But Eve's discovery at the end of Rise should have been the emotional climax of the trilogy. Instead, it got a few bland paragraphs at the very end of the novel, leaving the reader disappointed. The same thing happens with Moss' death and also the death of another significant character in the novel. They are treated superficially, with almost no emotional investment by the main character, Eve. Overall, Carey had a good story but didn't take full advantage of opportunities to make her story really crunch.
Rise is not a bad effort, but it is a disappointment to those who truly enjoyed and were pleasantly surprised by the first two books of the trilogy.
Anna Carey is working on another set of books to be published in 2014 and 2015 called Blackbirds. You can learn more at her website, Anna Carey Books.
Rise by Anna Carey
New York: HarperCollins Children's Books 2013