A guest review by Kassa
This review is likely to contain spoilers about past books in the series.
The Rifter is a ten-part serialized novel by award-winning author, Ginn Hale. The first episode, The Shattered Gates, was published on March 8, 2011.
When John opens a letter addressed to his missing roommate, Kyle, he expects to find a house key, but instead he is swept into a strange realm of magic, mysticism, revolutionaries and assassins. Though he struggles to escape, John is drawn steadily closer to a fate he share with Kyle—to wake the destroyer god, the Rifter, and shatter a world.
We’re over halfway in the Rifter series and book #7, Enemies and Shadows, is a quieter edition that starts to pull together all the various little details and threads. There’s not a lot of exciting action or romance that occurs but instead various political subplots and details (both past and present) are discussed and handled to make the core of the story more solid. It’s a good, if not terribly exciting, installment.
Book 7 picks up where the last book left off with Kahlil headed off to essentially hide while the opposing leaders are welcomed into Vundomo. Kahlil is frustrated with the distance from Jath’ibaye and jumps at the chance a member of the council presents to stop the impending destruction. This chance leads Kahlil to visit his old friend Alidas to try to get some evidence of the conspiracy Ourath is running. Although Kahlil presents the evidence, Jath’ibaye explains why their plan won’t work and Kahlil takes matters into his own hands while the others’ focus turns to trying to stop the hungry bones. At the very end of the installment, the time shifts again and we’re back to seeing John and Ravishan right after Ravishan rescued him from the Holy Road.
So while it seems like a lot is going on, nothing much happens in essence. There are a lot of past and present details that are offered to make a more fully rounded and interesting story, although nothing really advances the plot or the main romance. This isn’t to say this installment is bad, because it definitely isn’t. The writing is just as wonderful and descriptive as it’s always been and the pace remains addictive and enthralling. I do think if you had to skip an installment, this is one you could skip if you had to but there are a lot of details and circumstances explained that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Here the various threads are starting to pull together in a much more cohesive way. Kahlil’s past as Ravishan is starting to blend more with his future as Kahlil/Kyle and his relationship with Jath’ibaye is more stable and consistent. There are more details about Jath’ibaye and his position as the Rifter, explaining that he’s basically the people’s God. This is becoming more and more interesting as we can see a man filled with strengths and weaknesses is actually the living embodiment of their religion, their hopes, dreams, wishes, and needs. A God definitely made flesh and prone to the same vulnerabilities and pains even if he can’t really die.
Kahlil narrates this entire arc while the perspective shifts to John when the timeline changes to the past again towards the end. For the most part Kahlil’s actions in the story are quiet. He definitely accomplishes some things but mostly this installment is meant to give a lot of background information while showing a different side of the characters. It’s not the most exciting installment by far but it helps provide a more cohesive and put together story. A couple of storylines are neatly finished while the focus starts to narrow in on what will ultimately be a show down between John/Jath’ibaye and Laurie/Loshai.
However that is put on hold to jump back and clear up what happened between John and Ravishan on the Holy Road back in Book 5. The jump this time is more smooth and expected so it’s not very jarring. It shows John becoming more familiar with his Rifter status and what it means for him while the relationship between he and Ravishan is perhaps at its most intense and romantic. Likely Book 8 will continue in this vein and hopefully at some point everything will come together, both past and present, into the big fight and dramatic ending. What is great about this edition is that it once again shows no one is safe, no one can’t be tortured or hurt. In fact, the story is likely to go even further into the unknown before the final ending.
This may not be the most exciting and page turning of the series but it’s a solid informational episode. As with all the other books, it’s well written with intricate detail and a no-holds-barred approach to the characters. Definitely continue with the series and this book to help flesh out the story and it’s only a few more books to the end so enjoy it while it lasts!