Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly

Melokai

By: Rosalyn Kelly

Synopsis:  She thinks it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning.  “Trouble will come from the east. A wolf will claim the throne.” Legendary warrior Ramya has successfully reigned over Peqkya as Melokai for twelve years. Prosperous, peaceful, and happy, her people love her… or so she thinks. But Ramya’s time is up. Bracing herself for the gruesome sentence imposed on all Melokais who have served their purpose, she hears instead a shocking prophecy. Is the sudden appearance of a mysterious cave creature from the east the trouble the prophecy speaks of? Or is the threat something darker, more evil? And what of the wolves… does the ferocious war with their kind mark the end for Peqkya? Before Ramya can answer, she and her fearless warriors must first crush a catastrophic rebellion that threatens to destroy her and devastate her beloved nation.

Format: Melokai is the first book in the Heart of the Mountains series. I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy to review get yours on October 10th, 2017!!

My Thoughts:  This was a book that kept me awake at night. I couldn’t focus on other tasks as I became obsessed with the characters and plots. The races in this book are a fresh take based on normal fantasy novels. Yet the characters are still “human” and their emotional intensity and how real, and raw, their emotions are is what connected me to this book so well.

This book takes on multiple points of view, which just make your need to know what happens that much stronger. As the first book in a series, this was a fantastic launching point that will keep readers wanting more and more.

The world this story belongs too has amazing geographic variances that become reflected in the culture and strengths of the people that live within. This gives the reader the impression that they can read other character’s intentions as they feel so real and allow the reader to create preconceived notions based upon a character’s culture.

The magic of this world remains mysterious, which is amazing considered the power of magic that is revealed in the book. Magic is not used as a crutch for the plot in anyway, which allows the characters to better develop and the reader to fall into this world even further.

My favourite part of this book was the emotional intensity of the characters. The story touches major issues that our world still faces, and the characters emotions reflect the emotional intensity of a real person such that these characters become truly real. On top of that, each of the characters that you follow through the changing point of view can commit acts you may not like or find tolerable. This allows you to form opinions on these characters that further pulls you in and connects you with these books.  Different readers will have different opinions on the characters, the way different people connect with others based upon their experiences.

In my opinion multiple points of view in a story is dangerous territory. Done well, it is a fantastic tool to create suspense and engage the reader in the story. Done poorly, and the story feels slow and plodding. The author of Melokai could consider teaching others about this literary technique. Her mastery of it was clearly shown throughout this novel as the pace only ever seemed to increase, and the point of view changed to perfectly reflect the changes in the plot.
I would highly recommend this book, it is a great new fantasy to get into and has fantastic character development and a rich, dark world to fall in love with. Beware, reading this book may lead to you contacting the author hoping to learn more of the next book in the series!! Let me know your feelings once you have the opportunity to read it!!

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The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

The Sword of Shannara

By: Terry Brooks

Synopsis: Long ago, the wars of ancient Evil had ruined the world and forced mankind to compete with many other races – gnomes, trolls, dwarves, and elves. But in the peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knew little of such troubles.

THen came the giant, forbidding Allanon, possessed of strange Druidic powers, to reveal that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destroy the world. The sole weapon against the Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the blood line, rested the hope of all races.

Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea flees, drawing the Skull Bearer after him.

Format: The Sword of Shannara is the first book in the Original Shannara Trilogy. It introduces us to Shea and his brother Flick, and the struggle for freedom from evil. My copy is 726 pages long, and was published by Ballantine Books. It is A Del Ray book, originally published in 1977.

My Thoughts:  I began this book hoping to satisfy a fantasy craving I was having. This turned out to be a fantastic choice! This book has everything you could want from a book. The world is well built, the characters feel real and develop throughout the story, and there is magic and a major problem to solve. All of this is interspersed with some fantastic battle scenes, and the right amount of tension and suspense.

I am a big fan of having maps to look at to understand the world the characters are travelling through and living in. But if the world is not well built, this leads to less interest in the overall story for me. (For example, why would there be a desert beside the most fertile country in a world, please explain). However, this occurs not at all in this book. Where the characters must travel makes sense based upon the geography and skills of the hunters they flee, and where each race lives and unites makes sense based upon the races distinct skills and strengths. On top of this there is a unique changes to well-loved fantasy races, with each race exhibiting traits similar to the archetypes, but also changes that have a logical evolution. This gives an overriding sense of culture to the races, and makes this world seem alive and real.

When you first meet the brothers they have some growing up to do, you can tell, and the other characters can tell. The other characters you meet are well-developed already, and the difference between theses characters highlights there age in a way that seems truly realistic. The characters age matters to the group, and this is a point I find fascinating, as too often I find this is overlooked, when it makes a major part of our own society and thus how we relate to fictional ones. As the story progresses you can watch as the younger characters develop into their potential in a way that feels real, and you can experience their emotions as they acknowledge their changes.

Any classic fantasy book must contain magic, and this mystical element is not forgotten here. The magic is explained enough for us readers to understand its limitations, but mysterious enough that we are left with the same sense of mystery and wonder as the non-magical characters.

I would recommend this book to anyone starting a journey into this genre, or to those who want to read something that can compare with The Lord of the Rings and satisfy the insatiable, and comfortable, need to read the classical Fantasy novels. It is truly amazing, let me know what you think in the comments!