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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Rising Up is the first entry in the Tranquility Series by Tanya Ross and a gorgeous tale for fans of young adult fantasy. I was hooked from the very first line: “On a perfect day in a perfect place with practically perfect people, even dreams should be perfect.” But that is not the case for Ember Vinata, a young girl with dreams that are neither murky nor blurred, more real than fantasy. Her mother’s mysterious death leaves her in utter shock. But she cannot express her grief without being exiled to the Outside. In this seemingly perfect world, nothing is real. When she begins investigating the ghastly, mystifying, and unfathomable illness that killed her mother, Talesa, the one person who can help, is an attractive agent and a new boyfriend who cares more about his allegiance to the system than the truth. Will Verus stand up for what is right or will the fear of losing everything stop him from standing strong in love with Ember?
Rising Up is full of character, wit, and wisdom, with descriptions that are both colorful and atmospheric. The author pays a lot of attention to detail and seems to have a fondness for colors, especially when it comes to clothes. Readers will be able to appreciate the intelligent manner she leads them from the exterior to the interior world, from the secular to the spiritual, from the literal to the metaphorical. The descriptions are terrific and Tanya Ross creates contrasts between colors and the emotional state of the characters. This book reveals how the ugly can be hidden with the veneer of garish props and how emotions can be powerful. From the attention-grabbing opening to the satisfying conclusion, I found it hard to take my eyes off the protagonist. The characters are fleshed out and written with the kind of sophistication I long for in YA fantasy. Rising Up stirred strong emotions in me and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.