February 25, 2011

review: griffin rising

Griffin Rising by Darby Karchut

The only creature who can harm an angel is another angel.

Armed with the power to control the ancient elements of Earth and Fire, sixteen-year-old Griffin is determined to complete his apprenticeship and rise to the rank of Terrae Angeli.

But first, he must overcome a brutal past if he is to survive in this world. Will the perseverance of his mentor and the love of a mortal girl give Griffin the courage he needs to face the monster still haunting him?


Griffin Rising is a sort of fantastical coming-of-age tale. The mythology behind the story is the fictitious order of Terrae Angeli, a race of earthbound angels indistinguishable from humans. The main character Griffin is a Terrae Angeli in training, and in addition to saving lives and honing his powers, he has to deal with the struggles of everyday teenage life.

I had a few problems with the book. The early atmosphere of the book is overly formal. It was a bit jarring to be placed in contemporary Colorado Springs and have the angels speak with such a formal air. However, the tone is true to the characters’ origins, and after a while, it only seems natural for them to be a bit dated. There are times in the beginning when the story suffers from overwriting, making the novel slow to start. The book also caters to a strange point-of-view, mashing together omniscient, third person limited, and first person across several characters.

That said, the characterization in Griffin Rising is phenomenal. Of all the books I have read in the past year, only the main character (and maybe a secondary character) has been fleshed out, and then the rest of the characters fall by the wayside. Not in Griffin Rising. All the characters feel like real people. Griffin has the awkward insecurities of anyone that’s been the target of incessant humiliation and degradation for three years. Basil is a tender, loving father figure for Griffin, and their relationship is dynamic and organic. Katie, Griffin’s love interest, is by far my favorite character. She’s strong, confident, and intelligent. Her voice is authentic, and above all, she feels like a real, flesh-and-blood person I might meet in Colorado Springs.

The story itself is more about the relationships Griffin has with the other characters, even though the beginning of the story hints at his preparation for his Proelium, the final test to see if he becomes a true Terrae Angeli. The story still has its fair share of action-filled scenes with Griffin and Basil working together to save lives, but for me, the story struck more on an emotional level.

Its few problems with craft hinder the story’s full potential, but all in all, I loved the story as a whole. I’m looking forward to see what happens in the sequel Griffin’s Fire, to be released April 2012.

Griffin Rising will be released June 28, 2011.

Reading Level: Young Adult 
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy; Paperback, 172 pages 
Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Rating: ★★★★☆

[Debut Author Challenge 2011]


  1. Thank you, Brooke, for such a lovely and insightful review. You made my day!

  2. I like the premise a lot. Definitely something I would read. Thanks for the review!