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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Daybreak Rising by Kiran Oliver follows Celosia Brennan, a Fire Elementalist, as she pulls her life back together after a disastrous attempt at overthrowing the Council with a mission that earned her the name Daybreak. With her second-in-command, Riva Callum, she’s able to create a second chance at a revolution. Ianthe is Celosia's opposite, from the icy nature of her abilities, and her way to help Celosia see how to accept her past and find hope for her future. Kayvun has a rare Duality that puts her in the sights of the Council’s Commander. She uses her new found abilities to cross to the Spirit Realm to reach out to Elementalist lawyer, Adan Poole. Lark is the last member of the team who has a gift for air and a passion for renewable energy. The six of them work together to stay one step ahead of the Council, but with every decision they make, they seem to come to a dead end. Can this small team bring forth a revolution before the Council catches up to them?
Where high fantasy meets the modern age, Daybreak Rising is a charming breath of fresh air. In the fictional world, magic is viewed as a threat or a tool. Elementalists either have the choice of a plea bargain or they will be part of the Cleanse (which is as eerie as it sounds). There are a lot of modern elements including the technology elemental magic, holographic monitors, and datapads. Kiran Oliver brings to life a world rich in culture, history, religion, and characters. On the surface, Daybreak Rising is the origin of a revolution for Elementalists, but at its heart the story is about characters. They’re down-to-earth and trying to make it one day at a time. Celosia has mental health issues following her time as a soldier that went horrifically wrong, but she’s able to open up to Ianthe and find something solid to hold onto. They provide a nice balance to each other that makes it easy to fall in love with their relationship. Daybreak Rising is charming, witty, with a little romance, but more importantly it’s realistic and full of heart.