Fiction Books, Middle Grade Books

The Rise of Winter by Alex Lyttle – ARC Review

Thank you to Central Avenue Publishing and Netgalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoy reading middle grade books and when I read the synopsis of this it sounded really interesting so I was excited when my request was accepted! I really enjoyed the book and despite it being middle grade it dealt with some really relevant issues that affect all of us today and I felt it was done quite well.

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Centuries ago, Terra, the world, was nearly destroyed by humans. In the wake of that destruction, Terra created the Guardians – a group sworn to protect Her. But humans have returned to their plundering ways and Terra needs the Guardians. The Guardians are now fractured, their leader murdered years before. They need a new leader – a new Terra Protectorum – but when a young girl is chosen outrage ensues. Questions demand answers.

Why has Terra selected a girl with no knowledge of the Guardians? Why has she chosen a human when it is the humans destroying the earth? And most importantly, why has she chosen the girl whose father murdered the last Terra Protectorum?

This book is about a young girl finding out that she has been made into a guardian and needs to help the animals save the earth. She has to quickly learn what it means to be a guardian especially as the humans have once again begun polluting the planet and destroying the homes of the animals.

She is helped along the way by different animals, Vulpeera the fox, is someone who first believes in her and helps her and becomes a teacher and mentor to her. There is also Proctin the racoon, an exile and one who loves to eat. Each of the animals have distinct personalities and their own backstories which I really liked seeing as it helped flesh out their character arcs and made them more complex. This makes the reader really feel for their story and makes us want to root for them and help them save the earth.

The story revolves around Winter needing to save earth so there are lots of environmental issues spoken about in the book, from how humans are polluting the air and rives and land to how animals are being affected by us building everywhere. I did like seeing these mentioned and I felt that younger readers would be able to understand what was being said though I do feel it was portrayed as black and white when in reality it is much more complex. Not all humans are “bad” and we do need to build homes and roads for us to be able to travel and live. There are also lots of humans who do speak about saving the environment yet aside from Winter, every other human was seen as “bad”.

There is lots of action packed, fast paced scenes and I felt they were quite well balanced between more light hearted, fun scenes. I especially liked the conversations between Proctin and Winter and how their friendship developed. I think the characters were all shown really well but I felt the world building wasn’t as great. It was hard for me to truly imagine what the world looked like as it wasn’t explained as well. It seemed like it was a post apocalyptic world yet it also seemed like it was set at the start of the industrial revolution and there was mentions of the lands behind the mountain that no-one had explored. It felt a little confusing.

The ending was really action packed and there was quite a few revelations and plot twists that I didn’t see coming which made the story even more interesting and left me wanting to know more. I especially want to know what will happen next after the last line!

Overall I really enjoyed the book and I think younger readers will enjoy it too. There was lots of issues that are relevant today included in the story like the environment and deciding who you are and not the labels that people give you. And I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

The book releases on 1st May.

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