MAR Rising

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
334 Pages
Reviewed on 03/30/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite

MAR Rising by Craig Brusseau kicks off with several scenes from humankind’s history. Starting with the evolution of life on planet Earth, to the years 1588 and 1867, Brusseau introduces the antagonist without identification. These vignettes are short stories in their own right and, to my mind, expertly written and plotted. I was immediately hooked into the story and clicking the next page. It was difficult to put down. Following these three chapters, the main story begins by introducing heroine and protagonist, Madison. If ever there is a character comparable to the indomitable Katniss Everdeen of Hunger Games fame, you’ll meet her in MAR Rising. The MAR are, of course, zombies, but they are fast, extremely violent and infection of the bitten spreads like wildfire and instantly produces new zombies.

All the characters are exceptional in their own right and lend themselves to the overall story well. Great characters can’t carry the load alone. Every story needs an engaging plot and subplots to make these characters truly live. Mr. Brusseau is equal to this task as he introduces a storyline or subplot before moving to the next, and later brings them all back into play to complete the puzzle. Long time authors have developed this skill, but for a first-time novelist ... I’m very impressed.

Mr. Brusseau’s writing is flawless in technique, intriguing in plot progression, and thoroughly entertaining. I believe MAR Rising to be the first book of a series although the conclusion is not a cliff-hanger for the next book. Here, a cliff-hanger is unnecessary to entice the reader to read more; there’s no way anyone will stop here and I hope the author has the next book on the starting line.

Maria Beltran

Craig Brusseau’s MAR Rising is a science fiction story that revolves around a 15-year-old homeless girl. Madison lives in the boiler room of a building and makes her living by playing music in the streets of Boston. When the building is subjected to a controlled demolition, she ends up in a hospital, surprisingly suffering only from minor wounds. Her extraordinary life soon unravels and she is reunited with her twin brother and aunt in South Carolina. Before she can settle into her new home, a strange phenomenon is happening around her. People are turning into zombies. Together with her family, Madison fights for survival and ends up on an island where she happily reunites with Jeremiah, a blind man she knew back in Boston, but he is not what he seems to be.

Fast paced and action packed, MAR Rising unravels sixty-six million years ago when a tiny object falls into the earth’s vast sea. This event will haunt the characters of this novel millions of years later. The story continues in 1588 up to 2014 when we are introduced to Madison, a girl with an unknown past. And just as her mysterious past unravels, something is happening that threatens the very society she lives in. What makes this novel doubly interesting is that one cannot guess where the author will take us next. And as Madison discovers her true identity, there is another layer to her story that is both compelling and interesting. Craig Brusseau’s creative writing style is both unique and intriguing. MAR Rising will keep you guessing until the very end. Highly recommended!

K.C. Finn

MAR Rising is a young adult science fiction novel by author Craig Brusseau, an ingenious redeveloping of the zombie novel genre. Our heroine is Madison, down on her luck after a horrible adolescence, and rendered homeless at the time that the novel begins. After living her first fifteen years as an orphan, Madison finally has the opportunity to meet the family she never had, but this happy moment coincides with a nationwide disaster. The MAR virus is infecting and transforming ordinary humans into zombies, creating a kill or be killed situation. Madison finds herself mixed up with those who seek to end the epidemic, but it means sacrificing her new family and her own safety in order to save the wider world.

Madison is a superbly drawn heroine for young adult fiction, presented as an active and unique young lady who never simply accepts her fate. In the face of danger, adversity, heartache, and hope, Madison shoulders her burdens with a strength beyond her young years, and author Craig Brusseau has done a superb job creating her. The genetic virus style of the MAR infection is also authentically and believably presented, with just the right amount of horror and shock value for the target YA age range. The concept of Madison’s turbulent past and the theme of family solidarity also makes this a fresh twist on the typical zombie survival tales, one which will satisfy fans of both the horror genre and teen fiction. Overall, a very highly recommended read.

Tiffany Davis

MAR Rising by Craig Brusseau is a science fiction story that involves zombie creatures taking over the streets of Boston. The story starts off with an asteroid being stuck in orbit and, 60 days later, it explodes ... showering debris all over the earth's surfaces. The story goes back in time; the main character Madison was inside a building when the total demolition occurred and she is devastated by what has happened. Further on in the story, Madison is surprised to find out that she has family that have been searching for her without her knowledge. This is great news to her because she recently ran away from a foster home that she disliked.

The storyline of MAR Rising by Craig Brusseau moves very quickly, but all the twists and turns make the novel worth reading. The zombies are determined to terrorize anyone out in the streets and Madison wants nothing more than to have a normal family life - but to do so she must fight for her own survival. The author did a great job at keeping the reader's attention with all the sudden and unexpected adventures. This story moved very quickly. Madison's unrelenting desire to fight and be reunited with her family was the best part of the novel because it drew me into the story even more with hopes that Madison would become victorious by the end.