In Review: The Rift Coda

This concluding book in a trilogy lacks action, but features some fun characters and locales.

The Rift Coda by Amy S. Foster

Published by Harper Voyager on October 9, 2018. Hardcover of 368 pages at $24.99. Also available as an E-book at $12.99.

Note: I read an advanced copy so anything may have changed by publication.

The cover: A long haired blonde woman wearing a skin tight green suit stands defiantly before the reader, the top of her head, above her nose, not shown. Behind her are several armored soldiers with their guns drawn to support the foe she faces. This is a great way to show Ryn to the reader, leaving her face unseen by the reader so that they may create their own mental picture of her. In fact, one of my students saw that I was reading this book and wanted to read it because of this cover (that’s why the image accompanying this review is faded and has book tape on the spine — I let that student read it before I wrote this review). If this can inspire that type of interest, my hat’s off to the creator. Unfortunately my copy of the book did not state who’s responsible for this image. They deserve praise. Overall grade: A

The premise: From the back of my review copy, “Ryn Whittaker started an uprising. Now she has to end it. Not long ago, Ryn knew what her future would be: as a Citadel, a genetically enhanced super-soldier, it was her job to protect her version of Earth among an infinite number of other versions in the vast Multiverse at any cost. But when Ezra Massad arrived on Ryn’s Earth, her life changed in an instant, and he pushed her to start asking why she was turned into a Citadel in the first place. What began as merely an investigation into her origins ended up hurling Ryn, Ezra, and Ryn’s teammate Levi through the Multiverse and headlong into a conspiracy so vast and complex that Ryn can no longer merely be a soldier…she must now be a general. And in becoming a true leader, she must forge alliances with unpredictable species, make impossible decisions, and face deep sacrifices. She must lead not thousands, but hundreds of thousands of troops under her command and, in doing so, leave any trace of her childhood behind. Ryn always knew that she was created to fight. But now she must step forward and lead.” Having not read the previous two books in this series, this brought me up to speed with the protagonist, her allies, and what’s at stake. I really appreciate that there’s no spoilers for the plot in this summary. Overall grade: A+

The characters: Ryn Whittaker is written in the mold of other strong females leads like Katniss Everdeen. The comparison is unavoidable. She has powers that she’s still trying to master, she knows she wants to save those she loves (including her world), she wants to see senseless killings stop, and she has a lot of drama with the two closest boys she knows, which again mirrors Katniss. Even though I hadn’t read the first two books in this series, Ryn was relatable and sympathetic. It’s obvious that she wants to do right, to the point where she puts herself in jeopardy, requiring her friends to tell her to dial it back and let others do some of the work. Ezra Massad was the character who introduces Ryn to the bigger picture of the Multiverse. He and Ryn made love in the previous book and she’s regretting it. The status of their relationship seems to be influencing her decisions and it shouldn’t be. Ezra did not come off as a nice guy; he’s possessive and jealous of Levi. Obviously pining for Ryn is Levi, who’s not happy of her close moment with Ezra. He’s not as agile as Ezra in battle, but his heart is much bigger. One of the plots of this novel is whom Ryn will be with by the book’s end. The Faida are flying, angel-like aliens that are in a good portion of the book. I liked them, their civilization, and what they valued. SenMachs are alien race with advanced technology that resemble celebrities. This made for some fun moments, but also came off as a wish list for who should appear should this series ever be filmed. There is a villainous race, but they’re forgettable. I read this book a month ago and I can’t remember anything about them. There’s a villain on Earth that obviously did some major damage to Ryn in the past, but when he appears it didn’t mean anything to me as I hadn’t read the earlier books. Overall grade: B-

The settings: This series is set in a Multiverse, where there are different versions of the same worlds. This is a concept I like and really enjoyed the places the characters visited. Earth is just as it is today, though humans have been augmented into Citadels. Ryn’s house is briefly visited and it’s a good grounded point for the character and the reader. The world of the Faida is vividly described and very original. As someone who enjoys alien worlds, this was a fantastic location. The other worlds are equally impressive. Foster has a knack for strong locations. Overall grade: A

The action: As the last in a trilogy, this book is building to the big blowout. For me, this wait to the battle was extremely long. The minor moments that lead to this weren’t thrilling. And, sadly, when the climax occurs, Ryn is told not to participate, so she, and the reader, have to hear about a good portion of the battle from a distance. This was terribly disappointing. Overall grade: D+

The conclusion: The survivors ponder what they’ve learned and the door is left open for more adventures in this universe. Though I didn’t love the action, there’s enough characterization to have me interested to see where they would go and what they would do next. Overall grade: B-

The final line: This concluding book in a trilogy lacks action, but features some fun characters and locales. The characters outshine the climax, but reading the first two books might change one’s opinion. I’m not interested enough to want to read the previous two books after reading this, but I am interested in seeing what author Amy S. Foster is going to write next. Foster can definitely build worlds and characters. Overall grade: B-

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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