Welcome to my stop on the Rise of One tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour! After reading the review be sure to scroll down for more information about Dixon Reuel, where you can find the book, additional stops on the tour, and a chance to enter to win a free copy of the book!
With a somewhat atypical twist on the vampire and zombie genres, Dixon Reuel delivers a fresh take on each with Rise of One. I was initially drawn to this book and the tour because (A) I like vampire stories, and (B) I like zombie stories. So what about a book that combines the two? I’ll tell you now that Rise of One wasn’t what I was expecting.
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“We have to be very careful, as those who age so slowly, not to fight upon past battlefields. In that, and maybe only in that, are we superior. To hold a grudge for a human lifespan, that is one thing. To hold a grudge throughout the whole of our lives, that would be an unlivable, untenable existence. So, we do not fight on past battlefields. We air our grievances as plainly as possible. We found, after centuries, we could live no other way.”
— Salter, The Chronicler
As zombies roamed, the earth went quiet. It is as if every critter knew that the only way to stay safe was to lay silent.
Rise and his coven were running out of fresh blood to feed on. With only one human – albeit pampered beyond belief – at their disposal, there wasn’t enough food to go around. He must find other human survivors if they want to avoid succumbing to the blackness of oblivion.
When the human survivors he rescued were infiltrated by Warwolves, an ancient order of vampire hunters, Rise soon realizes the danger he brought upon his kind. With the full intent to survive, Rise must purge all threats to his vampire race.
The world, although decimated, is ripe for rule. If he wished to set history on a new path, he must triumph — starting with the rise of one individual.Book Blurb
Will Rise triumph?
Will he fall victim to the brain-dead that abound?
Or will the Warwolves succeed in finally ridding the earth of his kind?
Find out for yourself in “Rise of One”.
What I liked
- Parallels to current events
- Found family with a twist
- Character centric
- Plot twist
The first thing that jumped out and grabbed me when I started reading Rise of One was the dedication.
This book is dedicated to 2020
What a year.– Dedication from Rise of One
I really didn’t know what to expect from that but it did set a tone. And whether it was intentional or not, I found this read to parallel 2020 in a number of ways. There’s a global pandemic, people self-quarantining, supplies running short, the danger of venturing out in public…just all with a bit of a twist. Now I know some readers will hate this, they’ve had enough of 2020, and 2021 hasn’t proven it’s any better yet, so why do they want to read a book that throws all that in our faces again? I get that. But I’m the kind of reader that sorta loves a bit of allusion and allegory in their fiction. Sometimes exploring current events through a different fantasy lens can be productive and healing. In Rise of One these parallels aren’t political arguments but matters of life, death, and survival.
I’m also typically a sucker for found family stories. You’ll find that here but also with a twist. The coven (made up of three vampires and a human mortal who is voluntarily a part of it) form this family who came together many, many years ago after searching for others like themselves and created a family. But the twist comes when the world goes to pot and Rise realizes their food supply is in danger. What happens when new people are found to join the family? How will both parties react? Will they be welcomed with open arms or will there be blood? I mean…this is a vampire family after all. The conflict and tension this family dynamic brings to the story is really the driving force behind the entire narrative and one I enjoyed.
Which leads me to the next thing I liked…how the novel was very character centric. With much of the conflict centered in the family dynamic of the coven, it’s the character detail that then makes or breaks it. Each member of this vampire coven is drawn up and plotted well. Their wants and desires, motivations, fears; all are unique and compelling, and help guide the narrative in a “realistic” fashion. I use realistic for lack of a better term to say that the character’s actions fit their motivations and serve to impact events as a whole for better or worse.
I mentioned in my intro how this book was a somewhat atypical take on the vampire and zombie genres, and how it wasn’t what I was expecting. That probably has more to do with the vampires than the zombies. These really are not your typical vampires. They…well they just act different for one (don’t want to give any spoilers), and they don’t know a lot about their history or how they came to be. That in itself was something of a plot twist right out of the gate. Much of the book focuses on their inner family dynamic and life at home with its myriad family dramas. As the story progresses a lot of questions build up that don’t have ready explanations (see below for more on that) I’ll admit this aspect of the book became something of a drag for me at times. But then PLOT TWIST! Something I didn’t see coming that made the action in the closing chapters of the book so much more interesting and pulled me back in.
What I Didn’t Like
- Takes a while to explain some significant plot elements
- Quick acceptance of the vampire nature
- Info dumps
As I noted immediately above, much of the story is focused on the vampire coven’s inner family dynamic. There are a few excursions made into the local area, and some new people are brought into the mix, but most of the book is set in their home and explores internal struggles and situations. As a consequence of how this is plotted out, it takes a long time to explain some significant plot elements that get hinted at early in the the narrative. These elements left me with a lot of questions that at first didn’t seem to have good explanations and drew me out of the story a little. I’m glad I stuck with it because they DO get answered later and help to explain much of the narrative conflict and tension that surrounds the characters, but it just took a while to get there.
Something else that drew me out of the story a little was the quick acceptance of the character’s vampire nature by humans brought into the fold so-to-speak. They just seemed to take it all at face value immediately without any questions or concerns. Now, I get it…you can do what you want in a fantasy tale…it doesn’t have to be realistic…it’s fantasy after all. And yeah, there’s hordes of zombies walking around eating people so maybe if that is happening how hard is it to say “you’re a vampire…sure ok” and move on. I mean hey, look at what we all thought could never happen before 2020 and then 2020 happened (remember the dedication for the book). But it just didn’t feel right to me.
Then there were some info dumps. This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I know at times they can be necessary and may be the easiest way to get needed information to the reader. I just don’t like them. The book wasn’t totally filled with them, but they did kind of irk me and left me wondering if there was another way to present them. At the same time I don’t want to be that guy who tries to tell an author how to write their story, that’s not my job, nor do they want to hear it from me. So I’m just presenting this as something that I personally don’t enjoy and acknowledge not all readers feel the same.
Overall I enjoyed Rise of One. The new twist on the vampire tale was intriguing and something I didn’t expect. I also didn’t expect the parallels to last year which for me made the story more visceral and tugged at certain emotions and anxieties that heightened the tension a bit. And though there were some elements that dragged things down for me in the middle there was a tension woven throughout that kept me reading and wondering where things were going right up to the plot twist and action in the closing chapters which really brought things together. The story closes on a cliffhanger that leaves you with additional questions only the next book can answer…and yeah I’m also a fan of a good cliffhanger.
Author: Dixon Reuel
Series: Blood Brute #1
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Genre: Fantasy: Paranormal Post-Apocalyptic/Occult Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 353 (print length)
You can find out more about Rise of One or purchase a copy at the following links…
Want to know more about Dixon Reuel? Check out the graphics and links below for more on the author, other books in the Blood Brute series, as well as other stories and awards Dixon has won.
Irish award-winning poet, Eve Power writes as Dixon Reuel and is the author of the Post-Apocalyptic Paranormal series, Blood Brute.
Dixon lives in Dublin, Ireland and holds a First in History & Early Irish Studies and another First in Creative Writing. She is a lifelong nerd and devoted hobbyist of cosplay, video games, and other surely worthwhile pursuits. Dixon cannot stand monkeys or phone calls, and to receive a phone call from King Kong would definitely be her greatest fear.
Book Tour Schedule
Be sure to be on the lookout for the other blogs and posts on the Rise of One tour! It runs through February 6th. There will be more reviews, and possibly some excerpts and interviews.
Storytellers On Tour is hosting a tour-wide giveaway of Rise of One. You may enter to win one (1) of five (5) ebooks. This giveaway is open internationally as well. See the giveaway info and link below!
Prize: Rise of One by Dixon Reuel – One (1) of five (5) ebooks
Starts: January 31, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: February 7, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
Direct Entry Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e832e98859/?