Monarch Rising Review

By Harper Glenn

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Print Length: 368

Release Year: 2022

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.78

Available on Amazon, B&N, Libby

In a chilling near-future New United States of America, Jo Monarch has grown up in the impoverished borderlands of New Georgia. She’s given one chance to change her fate… if she can survive a boy trained to break hearts.

Today is the day Jo Monarch has been wishing on the moon about her entire life. It’s the day of the Line Up, when she could be selected to leave her life in the Ashes behind. The day she could move across the mountains to a glittering, rich future.

Once Jo is plucked from the Line Up, the real test begins. She still needs to impress the New Georgia Reps at tonight’s Gala, and her path forward leads straight to Cove Wells. The damaged stepson of one of the Reps, Cove has been groomed as an emotional weapon, taught that love is a tool — and he’s set on breaking Jo’s heart next.

When a riot breaks out back in the Ashes the night of the Gala, Jo’s dreams might all go up in smoke. Can she really have everything she’s ever wished for… when it means leaving all her loved ones behind in the fire?

Harper Glenn’s debut is as gripping as it is prescient, an unflinching meditation on whether love can save us from ourselves, and what it takes to be born anew. (Goodreads)

World Building★★★★

In association with HearOurVoices Book Tours. See also Interview with Author Harper Glenn.

Monarch Rising is a promising debut novel that introduces us to a world not too far removed from our own. A world where socioeconomic standings suffered from a dramatic switch, leading to the rich now being poor and the poor now being rich. A world in which the idea of the American dream has become more or less the luck of the draw, reduced to a contest of beauty and wits. The world Glenn creates is eerily close to our reality, and it feels almost real while reading. Its sci-fi details lie primarily in technological advancements that are not too distant from reality.

Glenn gives us much more than a speculative examination of socioeconomic disparities; they give us an intimate look at mental health and delve deep into the concept of love. Not just romantic love but platonic and situational love. Additionally, the further you delve into Monarch Rising, the more subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) parallels between– and calls to– classics such as Little Women and Pride and Prejudice you find. Lending to that sort of classical melancholy depiction of romance, we have lost in many YA pieces.

Monarch Rising has its challenges. Sometimes, it struggles to define itself as a dystopian science fiction novel or a romance novel. It goes without saying that a novel can exist between both realms, but in the case of Monarch Rising, the two genres often are at odds with each other. This may be due to some struggles with pacing and confusing character motivations, but regardless of these struggles, the book maintains intrigue through its speculative nature.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


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