For centuries, rumors have abounded of a lowly caste of supernatural beings known as the Terrae Angeli. Armed with the power to control Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water, these warriors secretly serve as guardians for mortals in danger.But for one young angel-in-training, Griffin, life is hell as a cruel master makes his apprenticeship a nightmare. On the verge of failing, a new mentor, Basil, enters his life and changes it forever.Taking on the identity of father and son, Griffin and Basil forge a special bond where honesty and trust go hand in hand to secure Griffin’s destiny as a Terrae Angeli. Griffin’s belief in himself and the love of a mortal girl are the perfect combination in overcoming the darkest days of his life. But will it be enough for him to succeed?For Griffin, it’s time to angel up.
Holy crap, Batman! I don’t know where Darby Karchut has been (actually I do, I read the author info) but I can tell you, she is a welcome addition to the world of young adult writing! Her first-in-a-series novel Griffin Rising was a fantastic read that had me hooked at page one of the prologue.
Griffin Rising is a novel that follows Griffin (DUH!), a young Tiro or apprentice who is learning the skills necessary to serve the world as a Terrae Angeli or guardian angel. This particular caste of angels is completely earthbound and often blends into society at large which allows them to better perform their jobs. For the most part, the guardians look just like other humans but unlike the humans they protect, they have a unique skill set which requires training and years of practice to master. Griffin Rising traces Griffin’s life and training with his mentor Basil, a lovely British Terrae Angeli who comes to love Griffin as if he were his own. When Basil first encounters Griffin he finds a thirteen year old boy who has been abused by his first mentor, Nicopolis; Griffin is scared and virtually untrained despite his innate ability to control both earth and fire.
Rather than bogging the reader down in the minutiae of the training years, Karchut advances the story three full years following the meeting of Basil and Griffin. At this point, Griffin is sixteen, a funny and talented apprentice who is able to fully participate in rescue missions alongside Basil, and totally smitten with Katie, the girl across the street. It is in these aspects that the reader will find one of the novel’s greatest strengths: characters that are real and completely accessible to readers of all ages. Karchut establishes early on that the Terrae Angeli must blend into the human world. To support this she had to create characters that the reader could understand and fully relate too. Mission accomplished! Throughout the book there is humor, witty conversation, moments of anger, anguish and tension, as well as moments of fun and pure joy – all emotions that the reader can certainly identify with. Add to this the complete and utter likability of Griffin, Basil, Katie, and her parents and you have a wonderful cast of fully developed characters whose story you eagerly follow.
Rest assured dear reader there is drama aplenty in Griffin Rising as well. All Terrae Angeli apprentices must, at the end of their three year training period endure a wicked and awful test known as the Proelium. Unfortunately during the performance of his Proelium, Griffin’s tortured past comes back to haunt him in the form of Nicopolis. Oh Nicopolis, how I hate you!! This is yet another of the book’s great strengths, the level to which you find yourself actually hating a character. Thank you Darby Karchut for making me wish evil, awful, and vile things to happen to a guardian angel – I feel so good about myself now J
The Bottom Line: At the end of the day, Griffin Rising is an excellent book by an exciting new author in the young adult world. Take the time to read the information following the end of the novel: you will find that Karchut is an extremely well-educated writer who thoroughly researched her topic before setting pen to paper. Her research and preparation has paid off! Griffin Rising is an extremely well written first novel with strong characters (both likeable and not) an intriguing plot, and the potential to be an outstanding series.
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should.
Her YA books include GRIFFIN RISING (2012 Children’s Literary Awards Gold Medal, 2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), GRIFFIN’S FIRE (2011 Readers Favorite Bronze Medal for YA Fantasy), and GRIFFIN’S STORM (November 2012). Her debut Middle Grade novel, FINN FINNEGAN (Spencer Hill Press) will be released March 2013. The next book in the Finnegan series, GIDEON’S SPEAR (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014.
She has also co-authored a non-fiction book for teens entitled MONEY AND TEENS with her husband, author Wes Karchut.
Visit the author at her website: www.darbykarchut.com
Want to check out/buy the Griffin series?