Rise of the Darklings is the first book in a new middlegrade fantasy trilogy called The Invisible Order, written by Paul Crilley.
Victorian England is a daunting place when you're only 12-years-old and having to support your 9-year-old brother all by yourself. This is Emily's life after both her parents vanished years earlier. Things are tough for her, but she's determined to get them through it. That's why she's running to work that morning. That's why she took the shortcut through the alley.
That's why she saw the faeries.
It was a sight for delusional eyes, and she couldn't believe it. A war was happening right in front of her between creatures that in no way could be classified as human, or any other being of common-knowledge. And before she could think straight, two mysterious men - one extremely tall and thin, the other rather round and short - pop out at her, asking her odd questions.
She gets away, but her life changes.
Suddenly she is thrust into a faery war, without so much as a "how do you do", that has been raging for centuries, unbeknownst to human eyes. But now Emily's eyes have been opened. The results? Her brother is kidnapped. In order to save her brother, she must foray further into this world - a world of underground towns, enigmatic societies and secret agendas.
And it doesn't help that no one seems to be telling her the truth.
Ooooh, do I love fantasy trilogies! Rise of the Darklings was a winner!!! A Victorian-era fantasy adventure that crackles with magic and legend - a lethally entertaining combination that has that great sense of being just as exciting and mesmerizing for the adult reader, as well as the younger one.
Mature Emily is an amazing, smart, hard-to-rattle heroine that takes the supernatural happenings and strange encounters in stride. The colorful, bright, varied creatures and environments that Paul Crilley weaves into a tale of wonder create a truly fun, escapist ride.
Rise of the Darklings dips its toe in the water of darker folklore villains, such as Black Annis and Jenny Greenteeth, being just chilling enough to be suspenseful and dangerous without going too far. The sometimes menacing, always delightfully thrilling, Rise of the Darklings has a perfect, new mixture of influences (in my opinion) of Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, and European lore. It is a genuinely creative, eccentric, cinematic, epic fantasy!
Smile-worthy details, twists I did not see coming, and amusing dialogue left me famished for more of The Invisible Order! I cannot wait for the second book, The Fire King! What a fantastical, fantastical read!
Though its been days since I finished Rise of the Darklings, I still think about it from time to time. It left an excellent, enchanting impression. Believe the hype and read it!!! :)