Rift by Andrea Cremer

Cremer, A. (2012). Rift. London, England: Little, Brown Book Group.

ISBN-13: 978-0142424933

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Magic

Reading level/ interest age: 14+

Plot summary:

Learn the history of the war between the Keepers and the Searchers in this exciting prequel to the Nightshade series. Ember joins the Conatus group after a healer saves her mother’s life. Indebted to the group, Ember leaves to learn the life of a swordfighter, magic wielder, and darkness preventer. Ember struggles through training as one of only a few women and is slow to make friends but quick making enemies. What’s a girl to do? Her mentor, Barrow, is quite handsome and Ember fights her urges to uphold her sworn duty while doing her best to become a knight. However, when Ember and Barrow learn that darkness is afoot, the two are charged with discovering the cause and are pushed even closer together. When love is forbidden, can Ember remain true to the cause?

Eria, one of the Conatus leaders, turns out to be a dark caster and Ember and Barrow must decide how to handle the betrayal. The two of them track Eria down and realize that he’s fled to another realm. Do they follow Eria or wait for another opportunity to stop darkness once and for all?

Reader’s annotation:

Magic, romance, and betrayal! Follow Ember on her quest to become a knight and learn about how the war started between the Searchers and the Keepers.

Information about the author:

“Andrea Cremer is a New York Times and international bestselling author. She spent her childhood daydreaming while roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Manhattan, but at heart she will always be a small-town girl.

“Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but it took a horse and a broken foot to prompt her to finally write the novel she'd always dreamed of writing. Prior to becoming a full-time novelist, Andrea resided in the academic world where she taught early modern history.

“When she's not writing, Andrea tries to master difficult yoga poses, wanders through Central Park, and hunts for new music to provide the soundtracks to her novels” (Amazon.com, 2014).

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:

1.       How would you handle training to become a knight?
2.       Do you think Ember’s love for Barrow distracts her from becoming a knight?

Critical evaluation:

While Ember’s character falls flat, Cremer did a wonderful job describing her trials becoming a knight. Set in Scotland around 1400 AD, the book is interesting and evokes a feeling of another time period well. Readers will like the book if they are a fan of Tamora Pierce’s works. Unlike Pierce, Cremer is more predictable with the romantic matches which is a bit of a letdown. However, unlike the Nightshade series, Rift’s storyline is not consumed by the feelings between Ember and Barrow. Their romance takes second place as Ember’s trials through knighthood take precedence.

However, perhaps this first book should have ended with Ember’s training rather than spending so much time setting up for the other books in the series. I think that Rift could have been a great book on its own rather than trying so hard to tie into the overall storyline of this prequel. It would have been great as a girl’s struggle to womanhood while becoming a knight rather than dealing with other aspects such as Eria’s betrayal and the elements of magic. Cremer should have spent more time on getting the reader to like Ember rather than attempting to tie in the storyline to the plot. Ember and Barrow’s romance, because it does not take precedence in the story is also somewhat unbelievable because Ember is so flat as a character with not much interesting about her.

Challenge issues: N/A

Why included:

The Nightshade series is a bestseller with a good fan base. I wanted to include this book as well because it is also a series that could encourage readers to borrow all of the books in the series. While Rift does not have werewolves, the storyline is interesting and reminds readers of another wonderful author, Tamora Pierce.


Amazon.com. (2014). Andrea Cremer. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from

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