The Rift

The Rift
Written by Rachael Craw
Fantasy, Magical Realism, #LoveNZYA
368 Pages
Published November 1st 2018
Thank you to Walker Books Australia
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★★★★☆
When the Rift opens, death follows.

For generations, the Rangers of Black Water Island have guarded the Old Herd against horrors released by the Rift. Cal West, an apprentice Ranger with a rare scar and even rarer gifts, fights daily to prove he belongs within their ranks. After nine years away, Meg Archer returns to her childhood home only to find the Island is facing a new threat that not even the Rangers are prepared for. Meg and Cal can’t ignore their attraction, but can they face their darkest fears to save the Island from disaster?
Black Water Island is immersed in tradition, a millennia since The Rift emerged causing the mountain to fracture. The residents of Black Water are isolated from the mainland, without television or internet access to maintain the fragile ecosystem of the island. Every four years, hunters descent on the intimate pastoral community to participate in The Cull, the resident generational Rangers responsible for the Old Herd while young deer are harvested by Nutris Pharmaceuticals for their medicinal properties.

The narrative centralises upon the intimate, isolated Black Water Island and the community, the reluctant agreement with Nutris Pharmaceuticals, the Rangers and unscrupulous corporation. Fisherman's son Cal West is a Ranger, his appointed position a rarity among the Ranger ranks, the position considered hereditary and a right of passage among the generations of Black Water residents. Cal carries the Sight, an ability to sense distress among the Old Herd he is sworn to protect.

Meg Archer is returning to Black Water Island, nine years after moving to the mainland with her mother, a cancer survivor. Growing up on the island, Meg was determined to join the ranks of the prestigious Rangers, her father elevated to Sargent and carrying the honoured tradition from his predecessor. Meg and Cal were once childhood friends, inseparable as they explored their island home. After a tragic incident upon the mountain, Meg was removed from the island and assumed Cal had been taken by protective services, the young boy orphaned and alone. Having returned, Meg is now torn between her attraction towards Cal and her resentment, as he remained on the island and trained as a Ranger. Their tentative reconnection bound by the scars they share.

I really enjoyed the intense connection between Meg and Cal. Cal able to connect to the Old Herd through the ability of Sight comes with a hefty consequence, he can also sense death. Through touch, he feels the life force of those around him, especially within Meg's vicinity. 

The Black Water Island is majestic, separated by the Rift and ley lines that thrum with positive energy and spirituality. The premise is fascinating, a blend of fantasy and intricately woven magical realism. The Rift is a tear in the atmosphere to another dimension beyond the island, Rift Hounds appear as apparitions and materialising throughout the mountain as large, savage beasts. The Rangers entered into a reluctant agreement with Nutris Pharmaceuticals who farm the island for antlers from the low lying Herd to create a potent medicinal concoction known as Actaeon’s Bane. Like all large corporations, they have a stranglehold on the community in exchange for maintaining the island and providing an income for the residents. Corruption and underhandedness result in Nutris Pharmaceuticals demanding more than the island can provide, creating a deadly atmosphere and with The Rift only moments from opening, alliances will be fractured and secrets revealed.

What surprised me most was how beautifully atmospheric The Rift is. The writing holds a stillness and spiritual like quality rarely seen in fantasy young adult novels. That quiet intensity slowly lured me in and held me captive. The Rift is wildly imagined and beautifully portrayed, a new direction for Rachael Craw that will no doubt enchant international audiences. She's outdone herself. 

14 comments

  1. This sounds so good. I'm a big fan of atmospheric stories. They're just so captivating. Wonderful review!

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    1. Thanks Suzanne. It's one of those reads that slowly lures you in and I was positively captivated! I'm really hoping for a sequel.

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  2. Sounds like a really beautifully written book. I hadn't heard of it either, so thanks for the introduction. I think Meg and Cal both sound like fantastic characters!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. They're wonderful Lauren! The Rift is such a lovely really, beautiful prose and so incredibly atmospheric. I think you'd really enjoy this one and would love to see what you think of it!

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  3. This back sounds spectacular. Your review has me making grabby hands because books like this one don't come around all that often. I really like the sound of this mysterious island isolated from the world and then the return of Meg who got to leave and then come back. I can only hope I get to read Meg and Cal's story soon.

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    1. I hope so too! It should be available on The Book Depository or perhaps Walker Books in the United Kingdom may be publishing soon! Such a magnificent read, the romance is absolutely lovely and so gentle.

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  4. This sounds like a fantastic read! On my list! Thanks!

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    1. Can't wait to see what you think of it Kristin!

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  5. This sounds AWESOME! Great review! I'm definitely going to have to check this one out!

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    1. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts Erica!

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  6. Ooooooo I love that cover and I think I've heard of Rachael Craw before? The Rift sounds amazing and I love how this will pull me in. Hopefully I'll get around to it eventually at one point! :D

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    1. She's the author of the Spark series, incredible science fiction, DNA manipulation, forbidden romance. All the Australian bloggers absolutely love her work. It's an incredible read, the prose is stunning and so incredibly atmospheric!

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  7. This does sound atmospheric and almost magical. Awesome review Kelly.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Thanks Karen, it's certainly magical. It has that alluring quality to the narration that you rarely find in books, it really held me captive until the very end.

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