Rise Against by Hailey Edwards (The Foundling Series #4)

Luce: ‘Didn’t your mother teach you to wait until you’re invited in to enter a room?’

Santiago: ‘No. My mother ate one of my siblings because she wasn’t a fan of uneven numbers.’

After what felt like a slight wobble in Death Knell, this is a blinding return to form. Fourth and penultimate book in the Foundling Series, this instalment gives us a Luce who seems ready to be herself, finally reconciled with who she is as both human and charun. She’s found her own way to deal with each aspect of her character, including the ever dangerous remnant of Conquest, always eager to resume control. Luce has been knocked down hard by all the revelations, betrayals, and losses, but this book is about her finding a sense of peace with it all. And there’s a reason for that beyond the simple passing of time. There are no more closed eyes, there’s no more holding back. It feels like the calm before the storm. Like the end is coming…

‘Believing you’re flawed, broken, or wrong was ten times easier than trusting you were perfect just the way you were or whole or right. Bad things always stick with us longer than the good. I don’t know if that’s a self-esteem problem or a human problem, but it’s true.’

Outside of the fact that Hailey Edwards has created a stunningly original world and set of characters, what this book proves is that she can pull it all together to make something truly memorable. It’s a story with multiple levels of connection, but its foundation is all heart. That this instalment goes right back to the beginning, to the people who matter the most to Luce, was exactly right. No, more than that, it was goddamn exceptional. Without giving too much away, some much needed conversations were had and a few very important things resolved. Which was to be expected you might imagine, especially as things get closer to the end. But the WAY it was done. Brilliant.

Each new direction, every twist, all the feels had me grinning like crazy.

This book is funny, with the kind of snark that has you laughing out loud. The way it forms the basis of so many of the relationships in the series is perfectly realised, the deep emotional connections so many characters would struggle to verbalise revealed through humour and bitching. Distance closed as effectively by a sarcastic comment as some big life-saving action. It makes you realise how much you love these characters, how much their happiness means to you. These quiet scenes are just as affecting, just as important as the crazy battles and the shock twists. It’s not something I always get from UF, only Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series has a similar emotional hit. Of course, that just makes it all the more stressful to imagine what comes next, what happens when world ending war puts every single character in danger. I’m nervy as hell about it. At the same time, I can’t wait.

Now, if you haven’t read this series before, don’t start here. This isn’t something you can just pick up anywhere and get stuck in. There’s too much emotional build up, never mind the sheer amount of crucial shit that’s happened before this point. Start with Bayou Born and be part of Luce’s journey. She’s the kind of hero you can’t help but love, a real person dumped into all manner of trouble, a fighter who will do anything to save those she loves. I’m with her every step of the way and you will be too.

This is definitely the best book of the series... with just one more to go. I can't imagine at this point how it can be bettered, but I trust in Hailey Edwards to keep surprising me.

9/10 This is definitely the best book of the Foundling series

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