by Amber Garr

In Ms Garr’s conclusion to her Syrenka series, she changes the way the story is told. While all three books are written as a first person narrative, Arise is told by both Evianna and Kain in generally alternating chapters. This is an extremely effective way of telling a story where there are at least two main characters and the author does not want to lose the intimacy of the tale by writing a third-person narrative. One additional benefit is that it affords the chance to develop the main characters beyond the somewhat flat, 2-dimensional view that is often the result of a first person narrative.

Arise takes up Evianna’s story days after her betrayal by Graham Forrester and subsequent abduction by her father, Lucian Sutherland. She has been held in an island prison off the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Evianna has refused food for the entire time of her captivity and is sedated after each failed attempt to entice her to eat. The monotony is finally broken when a broken and bruised Graham Foster is thrown into the prison cell with her. At this point Evianna – and the reader – begins to wonder just whose side he is really on. Evianna felt a physical & emotional attraction to him in Betrayed and despite his dirty dealing, she still feels something for him.

At this point in the narrative, Evianna’s one-time boyfriend, Brendan, has been out of the picture for quite a while. The fact that Evianna has the power to control people – including Selkies like himself – doesn’t make a compelling argument to stay in a relationship. Add that to the call from nature – which every Selkie eventually hears and cannot help but obey – to mate with a human means that Brendan has made tracks long ago.

Finally, there is Kain Matthews, Evianna’s bethrothed since they were children and her rejected suitor for almost as long. Kain has taken both a physical and emotional beating throughout the Syrenka series. He still loves and cares for Evianna even though he played second fiddle to Brendan and on the eve of their wedding, watched her leave home to elope with her Selkie. When Lucian staged another attack on Evianna’s home, Kain had an unfortunate run-in with the business end of a sword and has been trying to recuperate ever since that time. Though Evianna has meant little more than pain and heartache over the course of the series, he is still willing  and determined to help mount a rescue mission.

There is a minor detail to consider here. Evianna gets her first chance to go for a swim since her capture and remarks to herself that the transition between her land and aquatic forms has been easier ever since she became the leader of her clan. This is not strictly true for when she attended an annual cotillion with Kain that was given for future clan leaders, she found herself transitioning without difficulty and almost without a thought. At that point in time, becoming clan leader was months in her future and the reader was left to wonder if her rejection of Kain as suitor and her role as a future clan leader – and indeed, her situation in life – had more to do with it than the difficulties that non-leaders are supposed to face.

Without a doubt, Amber Garr has crafted an exciting conclusion to her Syrenka series. While some authors seem to either rush through the final volume or struggle to crank out that last paragraph, in both cases they are eager to be done with the project so they can make their publisher happy and/or move on to the next project. This is not the case with Ms. Garr. The action and suspense continue as before throughout the story. Just when you thought that you had everything figured out, she throws in a new wrinkle or two.

Most of Arise almost seems to be one cliff-hanger after another. Ms. Garr has been building up to this over the course of the series and she is not about to let the reader down lightly. The ruling council that governs the clans and Merfolk as a whole is divided over which direction to take. Do they stay the course with the peaceful – and far as most humans go, unknown – co-existence as they have for millennia or do they take what some consider to be their rightful place as lords over humans and Selkies? It almost seems that those in favour of domination may have the upper hand and it is guaranteed that there will be tears before the end of the story.

Arise is an exciting read for both Young Adults as well as adult followers of the YA paranormal sub-genre. The Kindle edition still exhibits the same shortcomings as the previous two books, Promises & Betrayed, and thus there is no need to explore this further. Nonetheless, Arise is a real “page-turner” that makes the reader want to devour the book in one sitting and is well worth the time and money.

My Rating:

Amber Garr’s website may be found at

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