Book review: “Rise of the Fomori” by JA Curtis

I got an early look in the second installment of the Rise of the Fomori, as my wife is the author 🙂 I was really excited to dive into book two, what with mess Mina and Arius were left with in book one. Mina now knows she is a faerie– no, make that a faerie GENERAL, thrust into a war of which we do not yet know the full significance. Book two fills a lot of these gaps in, through a deft use of Mina’s revealed powers: visions of the past. This is a useful trope that allows to give background knowledge throughout the story, without a lot of just telling. These visions also create a unique double personality of Mina’s past self, Jazrael, and her current self. This concept of reincarnation fuels a lot of the plot in Rise of the Fomori, as it creates a lot of tensions– a role in society that you inherit, yet you are an entirely different person; memories that are lost yet are key to understanding the present; former commitments made in a previous life that have bearing on the here and now. Not to mention a love triangle.

With one of the main antagonists, Nuada, makes a reappearance in book two through the past visions, but we also get a new cast of characters. Margus comes to play a more central role, but we also get to know a co-conspirator in the mysterious organization/race known as the Fomori: Bres. We learn that this conflict has much deeper roots that a few children fighting in the woods and much wider-reaching implications. In terms of protagonists, we finally meet the queen, who has some quirks of her own that I won’t reveal here (don’t want to give away too much!) A great second book in the series to flesh out what was established in book one.

The magical mechanics are really central to a fantasy novel, and there are a few new twists explained here but nothing game-changing. We already knew the queen had the power to see the future, so we see these enter the playing field. We get a little backstory on where the faerie’s power come from. I look forward to seeing any new developments in book three.

Book one introduced us to the mysterious Otherworld, the self-created realm of the faeries, but we don’t know much about it other than that it was destroyed. This plays a much larger role in book two, with Mina’s powers allowing her to delve into the past to uncover the follow-up to the conflict. I particularly enjoyed getting to know more about faerie society, setting and culture, as this adds depth that make fantasy novels so compelling. As the current state of the faeries are a handful of survivors that don’t remember their past, this was a big hole in book one that book two delivers on.

I look forward to book three! Check out her website here.

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