“Sometimes, lad, it’s hell being an angel.”
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. It is their father-and-son relationship, sometimes turbulent, often hilarious, always affectionate, that sings through the story like a pure note.
Masquerading as the average teen next door, Griffin struggles to learn his trade, navigate the ups and downs of modern life among humans (including falling in love with the girl next door), and prepare for the ancient trial-by-combat every apprentice must pass at sixteen or be forced to become mortal.
Griffin Rising was an enjoyable debut about the use of free agency and overcoming an abusive past. It’s a mixture of action, myth and young romance perfect for middle grade to young adult readers. Angel in training Griffin is 13 years old and stuck with an evil mentor, Nicoplolis who has less than orthodox training methods. Like all Tarrae Angeli, Nicopolis is bound to earth, and has the right to choose; but he uses to use his power in an abusive way and young Tiro, student, Griffin is the recipient.
Fast forward three years and you are at Chapter one of Griffin Rising. Now age 16, young Fin has a new mentor named Basil who takes the ashes of the past and builds up a stronger angel who can control the elements. The two of them are master and student, father and son. Their relationship is based on respect and trust-a model of functional parenting.
Griffin has a lot to learn to become a guardian angel saving humans in danger so Basil recommends a journal. Readers get an inside glimpse to three character’s entries which makes Griffin Rising a personal and layered read.
Just as our young hero is beginning to gain some self confidence, a new family moves in across the street to become a slight distraction. Kate is Griffin’s age, her parents Lewis and Helen professors at the local University specializing in angel lore. Their family is grounded and tight knit. The interactions of both Kate and Griffin with their parents were some of my favorite parts of this book.
I would recommend Griffin Rising to all readers ages 12 and older as there is some minor violence. It stuck with me for several days after I finished because of the depth the author builds into her relationships and characters. Darby Karchut takes a very original slant on angels based on an ancient manuscript and brings it into the modern day every day life of two teenagers falling in love. Thanks so much to the author for sending us a copy as well as a wrist band which we are giving away to you our readers at Fire and Ice.