📚 The Rise by Julie Plec

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The Originals, Book 1

Goodreads⎮Reviewed Apr. 2018

Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 7 hours 59 minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books⎮2015

Synopsis: Family is power. The Original vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together always and forever. But even when you’re immortal, promises are hard to keep.

Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they’ve escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne. Her impending marriage is key to ending the war between the supernatural factions – and Klaus’ attraction to her could destroy the uneasy alliance. As Elijah works toward securing a piece of the city for his family, and Rebekah fights her unexpected feelings for a French captain, will Klaus’ volatile desires bring their world crashing down – and tear them apart for good?

3.75★ AudiobookThe Rise is the first installment in a trilogy by Julie Plec, best known as the writer for two CW television shows: The Vampire Diaries and its spin off, The Originals. I finished watching The Vampire Diaries last year and I also heard the first installment in The Vampire Diaries book series by LJ Smith. In that case, I loved the TV show, but was not the fan of Smith’s writing and did not continue on with it.

However, that was not the case with The Originals. I’m in the middle of binging its television counterpart on Netflix, so I decided to give the book series a shot when I discovered it was written by Julie Plec. It turns out that Plec is a much better writer than Smith. At the very least, The Rise did not have me cringing every other minute like The Awakening did. I think that had a lot to do with Plec and also a bit to do with the fact that this book series is based on the television series, not vice versa.

The Rise takes place in the 18th-century and reads mostly like historical fiction, with paranormal elements. That was one thing I didn’t really care for with The Rise. I would have preferred the series to be set in a more contemporary time, like the show. It still follows in the three primary Mickaelson siblings, Klaus, Elijah, and Rebecca, but other than that and a little backstory, there isn’t an obvious link to the occurrences of TV show. It’s more like one of the show’s flashbacks.

The Originals isn’t terribly consistent with its storylines and I was hoping Plec would take this opportunity to fill in some plotholes, but it’s really more like a pointless novella. Still, the reason I read novellas is because when I like something, I can’t get enough of it. The Originals is no exception. It was fun to be able to clearly picture the TV show’s cast when listening to this audiobook and it was easy to jump into because I am already well acquainted with the world of The Originals.

I would absolutely recommend this series to fans of The Originals, just don’t expect it to have a groundbreaking plot that will affect or shine new light on any of the show’s event. Books like this are inconsequential, but entertaining, especially to an existing Fanbase.

Narration review: I’ve heard and reasonably enjoyed Saskia Maarleveld’s past performances, but this one left me underwhelmed. Given the fact that this book series is based on a television show, I was expecting her to use it as a basis for her characterizations, but that did not happen. For example, in the show, Klaus and Elijah have very different temperaments and that’s reflected in how they sound. However, Maarleveld’s versions of the characters were virtually indistinguishable. Conversations between the two were confusing, as a result. Of course, Maarleveld is still a quality narrator, but in this case, I expected more from her. ♣︎

$ Available at Audible/Amazon, Scribd, and Audiobooks.com

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