I'm not sure what the intended audience is for RISE, but I struggled with seeing it as an adult read. It read more like a story for the juvenile crowd, but for the fact that the main character, Aldrick, is an adult, for Aldrick's relationship with his wife, and the occasional glimpse of violence. It was almost as though it was an outline of bone, waiting for muscle to be added--and blood and cartilage and sinew and skin and. . . . So, I would give it a 2.5, rounded up to a 3.0 for ranking purposes. (It might rank higher if it was revised to target the juvenile crowd, by making the hero a young person and exchanging his wife and son for his friends, etc. ??)
Aldrick is the rather dubious hero. While he is purported to be the only one who can see through certain events, he is unable to see through his "friend" who is the obvious villain from the outset. He suspects things without the reader knowing why, is enchanted with the smells of food ("ever imaginable kind of cuisine") without the reader knowing what they are (though admittedly, we do eventually learn that this includes "fried vegetables and meats of every description," along with "mixes of cheeses and poultry in thin breads and a wide selection of roasted dishes"), and is supposedly the only one bright enough to figure out the riddle at the end, though in fact it turns out that all the contenders for the crown figure out the riddle in the end. . . .
Aldrick supposedly has a close relationship with his father without the reader getting a feel for it, identifies a list of people as a list of those to be assassinated without any reason for suspecting the same, frequently leaves his wife and son to follow his own way—though he knows they have been the target of assassins, is angry that an artifact he gave to his father for safekeeping was entrusted by his father to a stranger (and is then lost), but shows no anger, and so forth.
For this reader, RISE just—wasn't. It wasn't a story that gave me a feel, a taste, a smell, the sounds of, what was happening; it wasn't a story that kept me turning pages quickly; it wasn't a story that made me want more—in spite of the fact that it ended on a cliff, demanding that the reader purchase the next volume if they are to know what Aldrick's great decision turns out to be. While I very much enjoy series reading, I believe that each one should stand on its own from beginning to end. Alas, RISE did not. On the other hand, I did not find a plethora of obvious grammar or editing issues and it is a quick read.
Find out more about RISE OF THE DESTROYER here.