Cox, Greg. Riese: Kingdom Falling, 281 pgs. Simon and Schuster BFYR, 2012. $16.99. Sexual Content: PG; Language: G (some made up swearwords); Violence: PG-13. This book explains Riese’s past and her story continues with online webisodes on Syfy.com. The story is set in a fictional world and has two time periods, the current time and ten years past. The narrative bounces back between them, but for the sake of clarity I will summarize them separately. In the current time, Riese is living off of the land with her wolf. She sees a group of huntsman trailing a young teen girl. She rescues Usla. Usla had been captured by the Sect, a group of cultists that rule the land. Usla, like many peasant girls, was being used as breeding stock, but she ran away to save the baby growing within her. Usla wants to return to her family and Riese escorts her across the ruined and nearly toxic countryside only to discover the worst. Ten-years previous Riese has been a princess who had not liked princess things. She had preferred to hunt and roam. She met a young man named Micah who is an apprentice. She doesn’t tell him who she really is, instead pretends to be a palace servant. Meanwhile, her mother’s kingdom Eleysia is under attack by the Nixians. Her mother accepts help from a strange cult and Riese discovers Micah is more than he pretends to be. The duo-story structure took away from the suspense, because the reader already knows that Riese’s past story ends badly. The current-time story feels like a television show where a smaller story is semi-resolved while the bigger story is looming. As a character Riese is powerful, interesting and compelling; however, she is the only developed character. The dialogue often feels too modern for the rustic setting.
MS/HS – OPTIONAL. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.