by Melissa Douthit
Publisher: Couronne Press (August 1, 2013
Series: Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, Book Three|
Available in: ebook, 300 Pages
See Melissa's Special Giveaway in the Author Bio below.
This is Book 3 in the YA trilogy The Legend of the Raie' Chaelia (rye - kale - ya). Nearly two years ago I joined the tour for Book 2, The Firelight of Maalda and at that time was also given the first book and its prequels. A week before my tour review went up I discussed Book 1, The Raie' Chaelia, and its two prequel short stories.
In order to do a little compare and contrast with my reactions in January 2012, I'm going to begin by quoting myself from the Book 1 review as at the time I wrote it I'd already finished Firelight and was discussing the series as a whole or at least the 2/3 that existed then.
This fantasy trilogy has a lot going for it. It is well plotted and the world building is extraordinary. The science under-girding it is impeccable The main characters have depth and personalities that come alive on the page. The dialog is more than competent with different characters having distinctive voices.
That said, there are a few areas that could do with some polishing. The pacing within the scenes is often choppy with action and dialog being interrupted for too long with large chunks of description. The information imparted at these times is interesting, even fascinating, and it furthers the plot and/or world building so it is not that it is fluff or filler just that it jars one out of the flow of the story.
The manuscript could do with a good line edit as well. There are a number of sentences scattered throughout with missing or extra words, the kind of thing that happens when editing or rewriting a sentence and either leaving behind or removing a word or partial phrase unintentionally. This is the kind of thing spell checkers can't find and they are also very difficult for the author to spot...Before I take those paragraphs point by point, I want to apologize if the balance of this review weighs heavier on the analytical than a typical review. I think it has to do with my mind set at the time I received the book. I'd already started sorting through my own WIP trying to choose among them the one that would be my 2013 NaNoWriMo. I was already leaning toward a sci/fant trilogy I began work on in my early 20s and remembering how impressed I was with Melissa's world building in the earlier books I was eager to take lessons from her--from both her trip-ups and her triumphs.
I was having a struggle trying to write a review that made no mention of my own WIP but my whole encounter with the story--insights, reactions, etc.--was just too entangled with my concurrent NaNo prep so I decided to fess up and go with it.
As I read The Return, Melissa's storyworld continued to be my favorite part of the experience. This is due as much to my own fascination with storyworld construction as to Melissa's talent at it--witness my 120 character, 8 generation and 16 to 20 unfinished novella to novel length stories FOS storyworld. I admire Melissa's ability to keep the world building in its place and focus on getting the story told and hope to emulate so I do not let my new series go the same route.
The first paragraph of my quoted material above all holds true with Book 3. The world building and undergirding science, character delineation and dialog all remain strong and even show significant growth. I continue to be enthralled by this world and its characters and creatures and lore. I wish there was more to come.
In fact, though many of the issues I listed in the second and third paragraphs remain in play the improvement is immense. Those moments where I would get jarred out of the story due to the pacing issues were rare this time and more like annoying nudges than disorienting jerks. Thus I was more easily able to stay absorbed in the story. Which was especially gratifying when it came to the developing relationship between Chalice and Jeremiah, their intense mutual love and respect for each other was my second favorite aspect and unlike in many fantasy stories the romance story was not just tacked on as a come-hither side plot but was the point on which the central plot pivoted. I really loved how that played out.
As for the line editing I mentioned in the third paragraph, that too continues to be an issue but again, has been much improved. Were I to guess I'd say well over 50% fewer sentences mangled by editing. If the pace of Melissa's improvement continues she is going to be a force in the fantasy genre (or any other she wishes) before too long. She most definitely has the gift of storytelling and I'm eager to follow her career.
From the Publishers:
After the fall from the Maaldan cliff, Chalice is reunited with her friends on a journey that takes them to the coastline of Ielieria. Little do Vlaad and his Fierain know what is in store for them as, bit by bit, their plans are thwarted by this blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty.
The small band of rebels then travels across the Realm, preparing it for war, while Chalice herself is brewing plans of her own that may just land her in the hot seat. What will happen when she returns her father to the throne? What will happen when he finds out what she has done? And … what will happen once Dar’Maalda learns of the rebels’ location?
In the third and final novel of the trilogy, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, you find out. It is a dramatic finish to an epic story of action, adventure, betrayal, forgiveness and love.
What they are saying:
She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, working as a software engineer. Since high school, she has been a voracious reader of books of all genres, with an emphasis in fantasy and science fiction. Her literary work is strongly influenced by her professional experience and includes many elements of her scientific background. You can find out more about Melissa on her website: http://melissadouthit.com
Melissa on Facebook
Melissa on Twitter
Amazon author page
Buy links to The Return:
Barnes and Noble
Melissa is having a contest for a free e-reader or $75 gift certificate to the Amazon bookstore. All readers have to do is leave a comment on this post and enter this Rafflecopter drawing
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