Book Description (via Goodreads): Leaving the chaos erupting in the Metropolis behind, Gerald speeds north to his cousin Brett Flint’s farmhouse, Blackacre. He is certain that their vehicle is being followed, but returning to the capital with Don and Ivy is simply too risky now that Janus Fidens has taken over the Resistance and declared the pair to be outlaws who have betrayed the Revolution. Arriving at Blackacre, Gerald begs Brett and his wife Radclyffe to shelter Ivy and Don under their roof without asking too many questions about why his young companions have had to flee to the sparsely populated uplands and need their presence there kept secret.
Distraught at saying goodbye to Gerald, Ivy admits how much she has come to care for him since they have been battling the authorities together. They snatch a few moments alone together to say a private farewell before Gerald drives back to the capital, hoping to persuade Janus to drop his pursuit of Ivy and Don. En route, Gerald is followed by the same car that tailed them northwards. Lured into stopping to assist at the site of a road traffic accident, the trainee surgeon is captured and transported to a shadowy underground scientific research facility, where he is disturbed to discover that Sinister Tungsten, sister to his arch nemesis Hendra, awaits him.
In the Blackacre library, Don is welcomed by the Seven. This mysterious group includes the Master he fought to defeat down in the Metropolis, five other strange figures with bizarre powers and, of course, the malignant farmhouse itself. Brett, Radclyffe and their twin baby sons reside in the oddest place Don has ever encountered. He reluctantly agrees to become involved in the Seven’s project to assassinate Dr Luther Honigbaum, who funds the facility where Gerald is being held prisoner and runs the asylum in Austria which supplies its young female test subjects.
Learning how to transport herself from one location to another shocks Ivy. Unlike Don, who has wielded great power his whole life, her skills as an assassin are more practical in nature, and she worries that having shifted safely to Austria she’ll be unable to return safely. Finally, she is ready to undertake her mission to kill the evil man behind the gruesome experiments that serve no purpose other than to gratify the rampant cruelty of Honigbaum and his acolytes.
Meanwhile, the Seven show Don another facility, this time in Antarctica, where equally cruel experiments take place upon men. When the Seven tell him he is too young to witness exactly what it taking place, he uses his unique powers to advance his age by three years so that he is now eighteen. He gladly sacrifices a part of his natural life to rescue the men kept prisoner there and tormented by sadistic experiments with no scientific value whatsoever.
Arriving in Austria, Ivy is horrified to discover that her cover is already blown and Honigbaum lies in waiting for her. He has a sinister agenda of his own and will stop at nothing to eliminate anyone who resists both his sadistically cruel medical research and his repulsive sexual advances. When Brett Flint’s cousin Henry turns up at Ubersneller, Honigbaum locks him up in one of his asylums high up in the mountains to ensure his silence. He has particularly dark designs on Ivy, and is determined that her close friendship with Don will enable him to reach out to his estranged son. Drugged and forced to comply, Ivy is young enough to provide the ageing Honigbaum with everything he wishes. Gerald’s imprisonment ends when Sinistra’s elder sister Hendra returns and the authorities brutally re-establish law and order, but he is no safer with her than with her sibling.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I have given Blackacre Rising by John C. Adams two out of five stars stars ⭐️⭐️
Trigger Warnings: sexual abuse
Sometimes you come across a book that you can’t seem to delve into, unfortunately that’s what happened when I read Blackacre Rising. I tried really hard to connect with the characters and to immerse myself into the story of this book but I found it rather difficult. The Goodreads description above for this book made me excited to start this novel and to see what world I was going to find myself diving into, but I’m afraid it didn’t go the way I thought it was going to.
I cannot fault the author for their good use of descriptive writing throughout the novel, however this book was not for me. Blackacre Rising is the second book in the Ivy Spires series, which given the chance I would’ve liked to have read the first book in the series prior as I did feel quite lost and didn’t understand a lot to begin with. As the book picks up, you learn that a couple of the characters have magical-like powers which I thought didn’t fit with the way in which the plot was heading. I have to admit, the whole sexual abuse for medical research plot threw me off completely and at times made me feel quite uncomfortable. Besides strong characters I can connect with, the plot is such an important part of a book (obviously!) and I just couldn’t grasp this one.
This was a very complex book filled with multiple narratives, I enjoyed reading about the protagonists and antagonists of the book. I’m not going to spoil it but the ending of this book was definitely what grasped me the most so I’m thinking if I were to read the first book and then move onto this one, I think I might have a better chance at wanting to absorb this story and everything within it.
I wish I had enjoyed this novel more and can only hope that this book is for somebody else out there to enjoy.
Have you read Blackacre Rising by John C. Adams? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below.