"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

23 January 2012

Book Review: Raie'Chaelia - Melissa Douthit

This book seems to be the subject of much discussion on the Goodreads review page. Everyone is obviously entitled to an opinion but I do enjoy reading reviews that are a bit respectful to the work that the author has put in and give a mature analysis of the text. Lets just say that some on there aren't like that so I hope my review comes across ok! I gave this book 3 stars out of 5 and my review will obviously say why, but I did enjoy it. I give honest critique in my reviews and there was a few things in the book that I found worth critiquing but all in all I found the story enjoyable and wanted to know what happened to the characters and what lay in store for them. If you enjoy YA novels and want to get the feeling of what a fantasy novel is like then I would say that this is worth the read!

The Raie'Chaelia is a novel written by Melissa Douthit whom you can learn more about if you click here! She has written numerous novels dealing with the same world such as The Raie'Chaelia, The Firelight of Maalda, The Vanishing and The Journey Begins. I do hope to read the other books because I do enjoy finishing the story and knowing the fate of the characters. 

So here's the review for The Raie'Chaelia:

I liked this book. I enjoyed the storyline and some of the characters (but not all) but the reason why I believe this book isn’t more than 3 stars is mainly my own opinions on the use of dialogue. I really liked the almost dystopian setting of the world, reminded me slightly of Terry Brook’s Shannara novels but this book being a lot more obvious in its descriptions of the past world. It is obvious that the author has taken a lot of time to set a solid foundation for the story; there’s a realistic setting/world, a thorough history and . The detailed imagery highlights all these successfully in my opinion with the dialogue being the only thing that fails to add to the authenticity of the whole world and story. I for one enjoy reading a book immersed in imagery and detailed language with world building being a key interest of mine when reading a fantasy novel. I know that others believe that too much detail can bog down a novel but isn’t that a personal opinion? I like detailed imagery it brings the world alive, making it much more believable and real and that is my opinion. My favourite genre is fantasy novels with The Lord of the Rings being my favourite book and now that is a book with a lot of detailed imagery so I guess I enjoy it. Saying that, I do not agree with some opinions that this is an epic, high fantasy novel. George R.R Martin, Tolkien are epic fantasy writers and in my opinion this is a book more suited to younger readers, which I believe they would enjoy a lot. So this is a YA fantasy novel and would be a great novel for younger people to begin with when wanting to jump into the world of fantasy. The dialogue is evidence of it being more suited to younger readers. I just don’t believe that it goes with the world, the story at all. I believe that dialogue needs to reflect the world and I just don’t think the use of it in this book works. But I guess for younger readers it helps divulge information easily and it is much more simply but I do think it interrupts the authenticity of the world and story.

I liked some of the characters in the book but I found that some were useless. What did Kirna and Tycho bring to the story? They didn’t really add any more information and haven’t done anything brilliant despite adding a bit of humour here and there. Hopefully, they’re use may become more obvious in the next book.

I liked Ben but his first appearance in the novel does seem a bit too similar to the scene in The Lord of the Rings when Aragorn sits in the corner of the inn in Bree, covers his face with a hood and then helps and saves Frodo and the hobbits when they’re in danger. It is evident in most fantasy novels that they have been influenced by other works but this did seem a bit similar and there is the cliché of a wise old man seen in almost every fantasy novels (Gandalf, Aragorn, Brom, Allanon etc). But I did enjoy the character of Ben; he helped move the story along, provided valuable information and obviously saved the characters a few times. The protagonist Chalice is not your usual helpless girl who just sits on the sidelines when things occur. She flawlessly takes on five powerful, grown men and is very independent. Yes she has help from Jeremiah, Ben etc but she is not some damsel in distress. I liked the character of Jeremiah also. He is the epitome of loyalty and devotion and would surely give up his life to help and save Chalice. And who didn’t love Bunejab. I did envision him as a little fluffy ewok in little clothes and a backpack. It was nice that the author had created new creatures, new monsters for the storyline and didn’t just fall back upon the usual suspects such as elves, dwarves etc.

I did enjoy this book. The rich imagery, the history and background added another dimension to the world and the characterisation of some individuals added a human factor to the whole story. I don’t know how some people say it is a terrible book because there are some good things in it and bad things. I guess it’s a matter of opinion and in the genre that individuals find most interesting. I love fantasy novels so I enjoy reading such books; I find chick lit the most terrible books on the planet (except a few when I’m in a soppy, fluffy mood). Anyway, I’m sure this book will be enjoyed by many especially younger readers who really want to experience a fresh, new world and story. The story was very good; I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next and the fact that the story ended on a cliff-hanger just makes me want to read the next book straight away as I hate to leave an ending unanswered. I do believe a glossary of terms and names would be a good addition to the text as it is true that some are hard to pronounce and it would be nice to know how the author would like those words said. I think the author did a very good job in a very tough genre of books. It won’t be on the re-read list anytime soon or on my favourite list but I enjoyed the story while I was reading it and that’s all that counts right?

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