By: Kristin Ward
Release Date: August 24, 2019
Publisher: Kristin Ward
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Today, I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Rise of Gaia by Kristin Ward, winner of the 2018 Winner of the Best Indie Book Award for her previous novel, After the Green Withered. This novel is set in a small American town, and follows Terra, a high school girl. On her seventeenth birthday, she has a vision, one that shows her horrifying scenes of destruction.
The story is told in first person point of view from Terra’s perspective. Opening on her birthday, we follow Terra as her entire world begins to change. Gaia begins to speak to her, to show her things. And Terra wants absolutely nothing to do with it.
As things get more confusing, Terra turns to her best friend, Beth, and her mother, Celeste. Friendship between the two girl’s runs strong and deep. No bickering, no fractured friendships. These two have a solid, supportive relationship that isn’t always easily found in books. Also great to see was the relationship between Terra and Celeste.
Both the visions and descriptions of scenery are told in beautiful prose. Pictures of wondrous beauty were painted. In contrast, the horrifying destruction portrayed in Terra’s visions are visceral. These sections were beautifully told, and were wonderful to read.
However, Terra herself could be a bit frustrating at times. Large sections of the novel consist of Terra completely resisting the strange things happening to her. This is very understandable, but it does have the tendency to slow the story a bit.
Don’t get me wrong. I really like Terra, and her actions are all too believable. Yet, despite all her anger and desperation, she has a tendency to stubbornly stick to her guns before giving in completely to those around her. This means two things. First, it takes away a bit of Terra’s agency, which is both intended and used to its fullest effect. (Though I don’t want to get too into that in case of spoilers). However, it also means that Terra doesn’t necessarily learn things on her own, being told them by others instead until well into the novel. While this is largely beneficial to the direction of the plot, it also wasn’t quite for me.
A tale of environmentalism is told within these pages, and the wrath of the earth literally rears its head. A slow tale quickly picks up action within the last few chapters, throwing Terra into an action-packed conclusion that’s in stark contrast to the slower, more character driven tale the majority we’ve had up until this point.
Despite having some aspects I didn’t quite enjoy as much, Rise of Gaia has many interesting facets, and gorgeous prose. Many great relationships are portrayed here as well, whether they be between Terra and her friends, or her family. If you like young adult novels, this is a book—and author!—you’ll want to check out.