Rise | Critical Book Review

In Margot De Klerk’s “Rise,” the post-apocalyptic enclave of Bale Rocks becomes the harsh backdrop for a tale of survival, power struggles, and unexpected connections. Steph Huddleston delves into the intricacies of this indie sci-fi novel, exploring its strengths and lingering questions.


Survival in a Savage Society

The narrative unfolds in a world dominated by feuding gangs, particularly the Iron Fists, where Harley, an ex-dancer turned waitress, navigates the dangerous terrain to ensure the safety of herself and her sister. The story explores the lengths Harley goes to, including flirting and informing on gang members, raising questions about morality and sacrifice.


Power Dynamics and Femininity

De Klerk excels in establishing the power dynamics within Bale Rocks, particularly highlighting the vulnerability of women. The narrative weaves a tale where tattoos become symbols of honor and defiance. Harley, embodying survivalist femininity, uses her charm as a weapon, shedding light on the personal toll of commodification and internal conflict.


Character Dynamics and Unlikely Friendships

Harley, with her sharp wit and self-reliance, emerges as an entertaining lead. Despite her tough exterior, glimpses of a gentler side surface, especially through her passion for dance. The dynamic between Harley and Bas adds depth, presenting readers with a captivating challenge as their unlikely friendship develops amid the harsh realities of their world.


Engaging Prose and Pacing Considerations

“Rise” boasts engaging prose, vivid characters, and a palpable world. However, the pacing occasionally falters, with a somewhat repetitive pattern in the day-to-day narrative. The arrival of James Maddock introduces a conflict, but its impact takes time to unfold, creating moments of ambiguity and a sense of sluggish progression.


Sisterhood Complexities and Untapped Potential

The central relationship explored in the novel revolves around Harley and her sister, Savannah. However, Savannah’s role as a harsh judge makes it challenging for readers to fully invest emotionally in their bond. Despite this, the futuristic world created by De Klerk holds immense potential for further exploration and development in subsequent installments.


Final Verdict: A Promising Lead in a Dystopian Saga

“Rise” lays the foundation for a compelling dystopian series with a strong lead in Harley. While pacing issues and some character dynamics warrant consideration, the novel’s engaging prose and rich world provide a promising platform for exploration in future installments.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Science Fiction / Dystopia360 pages9781919621340

In Margot De Klerk’s “Rise,” the post-apocalyptic enclave of Bale Rocks becomes the harsh backdrop for a tale of survival, power struggles, and unexpected connections. Steph Huddleston delves into the intricacies of this indie sci-fi novel, exploring its strengths and lingering questions. Survival in a Savage Society The narrative unfolds in a world dominated by…