Nina Allan: The Rift

Relevant posts: The Race

The Rift Cover

I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Selena and Julie are sisters. As children they were closest companions, but as they grow towards maturity, a rift develops between them.

There are greater rifts, however, Julie goes missing at the age of seventeen. It will be twenty years before Selena sees her again. When Julie reappears, she tells Selena an incredible story about how she has spent time on another planet. Selena has an impossible choice to make: does she dismiss her sister as a damaged person, the victim of delusions, or believe her, and risk her own sanity in the process? Is Julie really who she says she is, and if she isn’t, what does she have to gain by claiming her sister’s identity?


A work of literary science fiction, The Rift is Nina Allan’s new standalone novel that raises the question of identity and mental health when Selena’s sister, Julie, walks back into her life making claims that she has been living on another planet. After twenty years, Selena begins to feel a wave of emotions and finds herself questioning everything she has been told.

Having read Nina Allan’s The Race, I was just a tad skeptical about this novel. I didn’t particular enjoy The Race and had fears that the same issues I had had before, would transfer over. However, it is clear that Allan’s writing and ability to progress a coherent and continual narrative has vastly improved since The Race. The Rift was a novel that had continuity and everything connected to something else, whereas The Race was a novel that I couldn’t find links with and found that the novel jumped all over the place. One issue I did have with The Rift, was the character of Julie following her return. There wasn’t a lot of time spent trying to fully clarify who she was which I found to frustrate me, even at the end of the novel when things begin to become resolved. Selena only properly questions her once with a “question” that only Julie would know – a question that didn’t really hold much weight for me. Because of this, I found that there was something truly missing until towards the end of the novel with the resolution, though it wasn’t fully filled.

As characters, I found Selena to be more understandable and someone I could relate to. I felt that Allan focused more on her emotions and actions as opposed to Julie, which could explain why I felt like something was missing in that I didn’t feel like we truly got to know Julie in the present – more in the past.

Overall, The Rift was an okay novel that I was interested in. However, having tried to write this review, there isn’t anything that really stands out about it. The plot didn’t wow me, the characters weren’t full of realistic emotion, and the resolution at the end didn’t particularly interest me. It’s been really hard to write this review which is why it is quite small, and there isn’t a lot to go on. The Rift is definitely mediocre, and I don’t think that I will be reading Allan’s work again.

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