Rise is the first book in the Trifecta fantasy series written by Luis Almonte. It involves witchcraft, family duties, and the always inevitable high school drama. The main character, Alexia Wick, is a sophomore. She has more to deal with than just normal teenage problems, as she is the daughter of two high ranking officials in the witch coven known as Alerium. Alexia has to balance school work, keeping her witchcraft a secret, and also training for “The Trials”. Her older brother Ryan is also a participant for “The Trials” and has the added pressure of having already failed them. Her younger sister, Sam, has her own talents and may be ready to enter the secret world of witches sooner than expected.
Witches are known about in close knit circles, but to the outside world they are secret beings. There are also multiple covens within this clandestine society, and while the covens all get along and cooperate, they also keep each other at an arm’s distance. This is hard for Alexia who has best friends from a different coven known as: Malerium. With the annual trials looming close and her training intensified, Alexia begins to see growing gaps in their friendship as they all get older and closer to their destinies.
Alexia’s school, South Haven Academy for the Gifted and Talented, is a regular high school except many of the students are also witches. Their backgrounds are kept secret from the regular, human students which adds to the strains of peer pressure and forming bonds of friendship. On the first day of school Alexia runs into Kaleb. He is an attractive new student and upperclassman. They have an instant connection, but Kaleb is not a witch and seems to be out of reach for Alexia. However, Kaleb has secrets of his own which could end up hurting Alexia and her family.
The best parts of the book revolve around “The Trials” and Alexia’s training. Young witches are often kept in the dark regarding their futures as witches, and are usually not even privy to coven business. Alexia and her sister find a secret room, as well as a secret book, that end up having dire consequences for them and their parents. The inter-workings of the witching society make for an interesting read, and the fantasy simulations that each witch must endure during their individual and group trial’s test show off the strength and weaknesses of the characters.
The romance between Kaleb and Alexia seems a bit rushed, but it will probably go deeper and be more of a central plot line in the coming books. By the end of the story both of them realize that they must trust each other with their secret identities, and also rely on each other in order to save their families and their own lives. Fans of the “Matched Trilogy” by Ally Condie or the famous “Twilight Series” by Stephenie Meyer will probably enjoy this book.