Book: Rising Shadows, Ashley Townsend
Series: Rising Shadow series #1
Publisher: Kirkdale Press
Release Date: June 16th, 2012
Sarah Matthews is nearing the end of another eventless summer in the small town of Bethany, Oklahoma, bringing her closer to the start of her freshman year of college. Disheartened over the reality that yet another unexciting season is coming to an end, Sarah wishes for an unforgettable adventure. When mysterious circumstances transport Sarah and her younger sister back in time, she gets more of an adventure than she could have ever imagined. The two sisters find themselves trapped in the twelfth century in a place shrouded with mystery and deception. Assassination plots, kidnappings, and tumultuous adventures force Sarah to rely on the Shadow, a masked hero who comes to her aid numerous times. In order to uncover a conspiracy and save those closest to her, Sarah requests help from the Shadow and also from Will, the handsome and equally intriguing blacksmith she befriends. Sarah is strangely drawn to the excitement that seems to follow the town hero and begins to look forward to their secret encounters. She also finds herself caught in a romance with Will, despite the fact that their equally fiery personalities have a tendency to clash as they attempt to work together. But Will’s past is filled with secrets and pains, and Sarah finds it difficult to break through the walls he has built around him. Can the faith and love of God that Sarah exhibits in her own life cause his hardened facade to fall away as he discovers that forgiveness and mercy are never too far from reach?
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Time travel is one of the more interesting and varied forms of supernatural aspects in stories. So many movies, TV shows and games have tackled it; all with different degrees of success and different methods of how time travel works. This was my first time reading a YA novel based on time travel but it looked really interesting, and I mean, who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to the 12th century? I do love Downton Abbey, after all.
Our main character here is Sarah, an 18 year old girl on the verge of starting college but is dreaming of a grand adventure before she tackles this next stage of life. And Sarah’s wish comes true when she and her little sister Lilly gets swept up in a time machine (via a watch) and suddenly finds themselves in the 12th century.
Sarah gets caught up in a whirlwind of adventure as she meets many new faces from the past: Karen, the girl who brought Sarah to this time, a family whom she stays with, as well as a mysterious stranger known only as “The Shadow”. She helps Karen who is stuck in a time where the royalty are fighting for power and helps a rescue when someone Sarah cares about gets taken.
I loved Ashley’s take on time travel, and with so many sci-fi and dystopian novels set in the future, a book set in the past was a nice change of pace. There were dresses, horse and carriages, royal balls, with men working outside while women stayed inside the kitchen. Protecting one’s virtue was still considered important. In a world where technology is used so much in everyday life, the lack of this in this book was really nice.
If there was one part I felt quite uncomfortable with, it was the religious aspect. Now I completely respect the author’s beliefs. It’s just that I’m not entirely sure, personally, what, if any, beliefs I have. And there were times throughout this book that I felt the characters were preaching God, which I honestly didn’t enjoy. I have read other books where the main character believed in God, but didn’t preach or anything; it was just made to seem like it was something that was part of their life. I didn’t get that feeling in this book.
Besides that though, I quite enjoyed this. I loved the friendships Sarah made, and how she came to care for Will, a man that helps her on her quest. She knew this wasn’t her world, and yet she couldn’t help getting caught up in it. I can’t help wondering if, by the end of the series, will Sarah stay in the 12th century, or will she return to the time she was born in?