Ashlyn Woods just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops amazing powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.
Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.
And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.
This was an interestingly unique story. We follow Ashlyn Woods, our main character, on her way to her new school at the University of California at Santa Barbra from her home town of Berkley. This is a fresh start for her leaving behind the mess that was her life, with all the partying, drinking and destructive boyfriend Toby. Ashlyn was shocked that she was able to get into the school in the first place but quickly jumped at the opportunity. A new scenery and a new school Ashlyn is determined to get her life together. Things are going great until strange things begin happening to Ashlyn and she soon figures out that she is not an ordinary human but a Soterian. Her and four other kids are gifted with powers when the balance of good and evil is tipped more towards evil. Suddenly Ashlyn is thrown in this battle to fight the evil that is creating chaos in California, deal with finding her soul mate all the while making sure she doesn’t flunk out of college.
There was a nice pace to the story that made it an easy enjoyable read. The story was unique with the plot line and the history of the Soterians, making the story filled with suspense and danger. I enjoyed Ashlyn character and could understand her past and her motivations to want to change. It takes a strong person to really look at their lives, see what the needed to change, and actually do it. The romance between Ashlyn and Kai felt intense and real. It was great that Kai had some involvement with the Soterians but was more in the side lines and comfortable with it. He was Ashlyn’s solid supportive rock always there when she needed him and didn’t try to out shine or overpower her. What added to the story was that Ashlyn wasn’t alone, there were others going through what she was going through. Other students who were called to power, some she knew and other total strangers forced to come together as a team to stop this unknown evil. Though they didn’t fight the evil head on, there was some action with the evil influences within weak minded people set to carry out its plans. What would have made the story better for me would have been more danger and action. The story was more focused on discovery and understanding what was happening with Ashlyn and the others powers then on the actual confrontation of the evil. Though there was a moment or two that had me surprised but I wanted more. There was a lot of building up with the suspense, intensity and actions that I hope will come out in the future stories since Rising Shadow is the first book in the series. All in all I feel that this was a good story which will hopefully branch off into and even better series.