Review: Daybreak Rising – Kiran Oliver

Ianthe looks over her shoulder. Behind and above her, Celosia stands with flames surrounding her body. The background progress from red on top towards blue.
Celosia Brennan was supposed to be a hero. After a spectacular failure that cost her people their freedom, she is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance at redemption. Together with a gifted team of rebels, she not only sets her sights on freedom, but defeating her personal demons along the way.

Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—except for Ianthe, a powerful Ice Elementalist who happens to believe in second chances.

With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not just their country, but the entire world.

I decided to read Daybreak Rising because I’ve been looking for an interesting dystopian series and also because one of the main characters is demisexual (on-page)!

It’s #ownvoices for demisexual representation.

I was intrigued from the start. The first scene just took hold of me, and I needed to know how it continued. The premise is gripping and the entire plot is just amazing. And seriously, those two plot twists at the end, have got me wishing that the second book will be released sooner!

It’s got a lot of action, some very adorable romance, and what I especially enjoyed, a lot of no-romance between characters. Usually, when you get a group of main characters in a fantasy novel, they all pair up, fall for each other and end up starting romantic relationships, but that’s not the case here and there isn’t really a hint that this will end up happening with all the people in the group.

The world-building is really cool. It was interesting how the political system was tied in to the magic concept. I liked how the characters with magic are called Elementalists, and that their powers are based on the elements but not just on the standard four: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. There’s so much potential in this magic concept, and I assume that the next books will give the reader more information about it.

The story has a diverse cast of characters, including people who are being queer, disabled, or not white. Multiples groups of people are being oppressed in this society, thus leading to many characters who are marginalised in more than one way. It was interesting to see how Kiran Oliver worked intersectionality into the plot. What I also really enjoyed is that we really got to know the characters, even some of the minor ones, not just as to how they are useful for the plot, but little things, like their hobbies or how they feel about their family – things you don’t always find out about characters in a dystopian novel.

There were loads of puns in the writing, which is something that I live for. It’s such a cute way of lightening up the mood, especially since this is a dystopian novel. At times, I felt like the characters spent too much time describing a person or an event, and I would have preferred a shown description. Since there are quite a few main characters in this novel, there was so much going on, thus at times I got slightly confused.

I enjoyed Daybreak Rising very much and had so much fun getting to know all of the characters. I’m pretty sure that you’ll enjoy this book if you’re looking for a New Adult fantasy book.

I will certainly be looking forward to the next book, and hoping for new characters, so that I can find out more about the different types of Elementalists.

4 stars

Have you read Daybreak Rising? Are you interested in reading it?


4 thoughts on “Review: Daybreak Rising – Kiran Oliver

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