My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sarina Langer’s Rise of the Sparrows drew me in and demanded my attention until the final word. Her prologue alone is enough to secure her a fan of her fantasy trilogy. It is the perfect blend of ‘what the hell did I just read’, and ‘what the hell happens next!’.
Rachael, the protagonist, is an orphan living on the streets and shunned because of her frightful ability to foresee the deaths of others. She is smart and quick on her feet. She’s survived for years by trusting only herself.
But when Rachel is approached by Cephy, another abandoned child who harbors her own ability, she feels compelled to care for the young girl. Soon, they are forced to flee the streets of their hometown when the King’s men ride in, promising to kill the ‘witches’.
Cephy and Rachael fall into the hands of a Mist Woman who has intentions of her own for the misfortunate orphans. Regardless of her plans, she allows the girls to leave with a young man who has been searching for Rachael.
Rachael is told of a prophecy that names her the one to right the mistreatments of other like her, that names her the Sparrow. But this prophecy also speaks of a betrayal.
With an army following her and friends by her side, can Rachael fulfill the prophecy and free all those who are forced to hide their gifts? Or will Rachael’s self-doubt lead to her downfall?
Langer has strung together an epic setup for what, so far, seems to be an epic fantasy series.
I do think there were a few passages that could be strengthened with ‘show’ and not ‘tell’. Arlo, the young hero who vows to protect Rachael develops feelings for her that appear to come without merit. I do wish a few more chapters were told in his P.O.V so we can better see and feel these feelings come to fruition.
This is the first in the series, and I have no doubt that her next books will surpass Rise of the Sparrows. I look forward to continuing on Rachael’s journey and reading more of Sarina Langer’s work.