THE ORIGINALS: THE RISE
From Creator Julie Plec
Summary: 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’s 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’s volatile desires bring their world crashing down—and tear them apart for good?
We were first introduced to the Mikaelson family a few years ago on the CW’s The Vampire Diaries. With their onscreen chemistry, Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah were instant favorites among the TVD fans, eventually moving over to their own show. Now, the people who brought us the Original family via our television sets, has set the characters to paper, chronicling the original family’s rise to power in New Orléans with the aptly named, The Originals: The Rise. Ghostwritten, the novel is credited to the show’s creator Julie Plec and, sadly, gives no indication of the actual author.
Set in the early 18th century, The Rise picks up nine years after the Mikaelsons made their deadly début in the Big Easy. Outsiders, they are plotting to find a voice among the supernatural powers that rule the city. The witches and werewolves lord over the swampy lands that make up what we know today as the French Quarter and have no desire to include vampires into their fold. Previously at war with each other, the witches and werewolves have recently signed a pact, uniting their families through the marriage of Vivianne, the daughter of a powerful witch and a werewolf, and Armand Navarro, the son of the wolves’ Alpha. The story opens with a ball announcing the engagement of the two, setting the stage for a romantic and adventurous supernatural story with spells, wolves who need some anger management, and plotting vampires that are impossible to kill and delightfully charming.
The book has a tough time getting past the starting gate with a few glaring contradictions with what has previously been shown in the TVD/Originals universe (since when did vampires not enjoy an excellent glass of wine or a well cooked meal?). While Elijah and Rebekah are portrayed as we’ve seen them before, Klaus initially seems a tad out of character: less murderous and less impulsive.
Told from alternating points of view, The Rise follows the three siblings as each schemes to place their family into power. It was interesting to get a glimpse into the Mikaelsons’ past and the storyline was compelling enough, setting the stage for next book, but easily read as a standalone novel, even if you’ve never watched the TV show. The anonymous author sets a steady pace, weaving the three seemingly separate stories into one, big climatic ending. As for the secondary characters, they play an important role in moving the story along, but I wouldn’t get too attached to them.