I would describe the book an 'easy light read', as in the language is regular clear English with clear and precise descriptions, making following events easy to do, even when there are twists and turns. There is some repetition in the early part of the book where Lara is roaming London, Oxford and Paris, getting on and off trains etc. I found it illuminates Lara's state of mind and the situation she's in. She's suffering from anxiety and even when calm, she seems overly alert and suspicious...which turns out to be good instincts. She was right to be. Events in the first half of the story seem fairly slow to begin with but the scenes are nicely set and flow really well for a more action pact second half. I never felt lost over what was happening, which, for me is important. I find it frustrating if I'm confused and have to go back to see if I missed anything.
The characterisation is done really well, if anything I wish we'd seen more of the likes of Willow as her appearances were brief. Lara begins as anxiety ridden and although this crops up again, she does manage to gather herself together quickly and with more control as the story progresses. I love that she's entirely weapon-less in the first half, relying entirely on her wits, agility and strong yet scrappy fighting skills. It feels that, despite the events of Yamatai, Lara isn't a psycho killer as she appears in the game; she's just a regular woman who got caught up in the events, perhaps even somehow effected by the island. She's smart and resourceful and often thinks her way out of danger, at least until things heat up and she's forced to fight like the bad guys. The pace was built up well and quite invigorating during the second half. Lara barely had time to rest.
There is enough reference to Yamatai to stay connected to TR'13, but the authors stay clear of anything that may be too much of a give away for the next game. Trinity is here, and anyone who has read the comics know that they're still a force to be reckoned with. Unless the comics finish up that story arc, it seems likely that Trinity will be back. Whether that involves Kennard or not is anyone's guess. But he makes for an interesting adversary and Ares was quite chilling. I was kept drawn in to see how these men's story arcs with Lara would pan out.
I think any concerns that the books and comics don't give enough clues to Rise, then I say that's a good thing. These stories are filler, none of the authors nor CD have tried pretending otherwise. And let's be honest, with knowing so little of Rise so far, we simple can't judge what links there are. Gail Simone has hinted at clues in the comics, so I think it safe to say there would be clues in the novel too. The authors are tied as to how much they can hint at and they can't bring Lara's story too far forward either. I feel the novel does just enough to leave Lara more aware and wary of people. She's unsure of who to trust and she turned to using weapons near the end of the novel and as we know she takes weapons with her whenever she travels now whether it's her axe or a gun or two and she's not afraid to use them. This is a Lara who is still healing emotionally after Yamatai, but she's learning quickly not to take chances with her life and she's more prepared and alert to potential threats. Kennard is till out there and Trinity are still a threat. The novel gives a better idea who they are without revealing too much. This story certainly feels more tied to the second comic arc than the first, which felt more like a fun interlude, if anything. I'm looking forward to how it continues either in the comics or in Rise. I guess it could be argued that there is a lack of the true 'Tomb Raider' feels. I'd agree if we're talking tombs, though there was a really nice chase section involving an underground cave/tunnel system and the rooftop hide and seek chase with Kennard was intense. And of course Lara was travelling in search of an artefact, so it's more TR in some respects than the comics. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I suspected it wouldn't necessarily be a full TR experience. But it's a nice in between adventures adventure.
The down sides were I felt the inclusion of the actor and his thugs slightly unnecessary and it was never explained where Sam was before she was admitted to hospital and why Lara, being her flat mate, hadn't noticed anything too untoward about her friend prior to that besides them both being traumatised. Also Sam's recovery happened off stage as it were with only Lara ever coming into contact with the artefacts, and not Sam, so it felt a little too easy in the end. Overall though,I did enjoy this, it was a real good page turner.