The Raie'Chaelia

Rated 4.00/5 based on 2 reviews
When Chalice sets off for Branbury in the middle of the night with her grandfather’s instructions, she has no idea of the dangers that await her. With the help of a friendly Chinuk, an old man, and a book that she discovers along the way, not only does she find true friends and true love, but she also finds her true self and what it means to be the Raie’Chaelia. More
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About Melissa Douthit

Melissa Douthit grew up in North County of San Diego, California. After graduating with a Computer Science degree in Southern California, and working for a summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico, she moved to the Bay Area to work at NASA Ames Research Center for a year and then at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for another four years. From there, she moved to Monterey, California, to work at the Naval Postgraduate School on a government project for two years. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, working with the Army Corps of Engineers on another government project. 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.

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Reviews of The Raie'Chaelia by Melissa Douthit

meghan gale reviewed on Feb. 5, 2012
(no rating)
If you are looking for a book that is different from the current trend of premises and is unique in it's story line, characters, and world, then this is the book for you! It's not an edge of your seat thriller, but it does pack the perfect amount of suspense and compelling story-line to keep you turning the pages, as well as a perfect sprinkling of romance, which of course has it's own little twist.

The setting of the story is wonderfully unique one. The idea is very fascinating and creatives so much room for opportunity and further story development. I would describe it as a post-apocalyptic/medieval world.
A very long time ago, there was an ice age that affected, from my guess, us at our present time. This ice age forced what survivors there were to live underground for thousands of years. This caused all races and languages to merge into one. Then years later they felt a great shaking of the Earth, which caused areas of their underground area to collapse, dividing them into three groups. So, upon emerging, they had 3 different races, the Terravaillain, the Naeon, and the Lost Ones. They also discovered that they now had two moons, and the suns path had reversed. These people were left with little to no knowledge of what humans were like before the ice age. They are simply described as 'having a form of knowledge that aided them in survival and development', and as 'great thinkers'.

The main character in this story is a teenage girl named Chalice. She lives with her Grandparents, without any real knowledge of who her parents were and what her past is. Her Grandfather had promised to tell her the details when the time was right, but now that their home village is under attack, and he is sending her away to protect her, it doesn't look like she will get to find out any time soon. She is a very gentle, sweet girl. I almost want to describe her as soft, although she really isn't soft, she is trained to fight and protect herself, which she can do very well!

Chalice carries a very significant birthmark on her shoulder that she has pondered the meaning of her whole life. While she was running from her village with a letter from her Grandfather she comes upon a creature called a Chinuk, which I could best describe as a big teddy bear, and he drops a curious book while running from her. Towards the end of this book is a poem, with her birthmark at the end of it. This poem happens to be a prophecy, and it speaks of her. The prophecy essentially says she is the one who will return the rightful king. Currently the world is ruled by a usurper, before him all were ruled by a great, kind king, who disapeared suddenly only to be replaced by this tyrant named Dar'maalda. With this shocking new piece of information, and the possibility to finally learn about her past she sets out to discover where this path leads. Making good friends, and great enemies along the way, and also discovering love, sadly, a love that may not be possible.

For the rest of the story we get to follow Chalice on her adventures; great and horrifying. Along the way she slowly discovers more and more about herself, where she comes from, and who she is destined to be. The story itself is so wonderfully descriptive. Douthit creates amazingly vivid imagery, seemingly, with ease. She paints beautiful pictures in your mind that you are guaranteed to fall in love with. You will be picturing spectacular scenery, characters, and everything in-between that she has created for us in such a way that you feel you are right there, enveloped in her awesomely unique and breath-takingly beautiful world.

This is the first book of a trilogy, and I am very anxious to carry on to the second of the three!

I also wanted to add this little quote from the book that really stood out to me, and I think also is a great line to pull from the story to almost describe it's theme.

"Logic knew nothing of human emotion. It could not tell you anything about your heart."
(review of free book)
Yllektra V. reviewed on Nov. 27, 2011

The Raie'Chaelia is a really fun fantasy book that keeps you interested till the end.

It follows the adventure of 17-on-the-verge-of-18 Chalice who has grown up with her grandparents in the city of Cantor. She doesn't know a lot about her parents and her grandparents have always avoided the subject. This has caused Chalice to think that she might have been abandoned, but despite that she has led a fruitful and satisfying life. Her grandfather has insisted that she learns to fight and defend herself and she is also educated, but most importantly she has friends she cares about and care about her too, namely Kirna and Tycho.
Despite the life she has going, respecting her grandfather's wishes she embarks on a journey to Branbury. She is a trained warrior and quite the survivor though, so she isn't afraid, but when she reaches Branbury she finds a ghost city. It seems that all people have disappeared mysteriously and she doesn't know what to do, ending up at the house of some family friends. It's there that Jeremiah finds her, coming home after being absent for the day. Since they used to spend time together as children, the cooperate nicely and decide that something must have happened. It's not long till they understand that the villagers have been taken by the men of the Evil King, {the false king as he is the one who robbed Duquaine (the former king)of his throne}, in the hopes of finding the child of the prophecy that said that one child with a specific birthmark was to reinstate the true king to his rightful throne.

When the king's men return, Jeremiah and Chalice flee through a secret pathway created by Jeremiah's father and together they try to come up with the plan to save their friends and family. I don't want to spoil the story, but I have to say that it involves several subplots and it's quite complex.

The characters from Chalice, who was a really reliable and brave heroine, to the noble and charming Jeremiah, to the cute and resourceful Chinuk, to the graceful and efficient Ben are all strong and memorable. No character is like the other and the uniqueness of them is a nice change. I loved how their personalities were very distinct and the author made sure that we grew to know them and care about them through their words, actions and mannerisms... I liked how brave Chalice was and how polite and gentle Jeremiah was, but even the chinuk was quirky and stubborn and Tycho provided the much needed comic relief at some points, whereas Kirna was the confidante and the good friend. Throughout the book ,though since there were a lot of subplots we were introduced to other characters as well like the Farahs (which were all amazing - loved their heritage, the way they though, their traditions and how helpful and loyal they were)or even the Quaie'Miren the race living almost exclusively aboard their ships and had created their own personal tradition and ideology.
For me the QuaieMiren were among the most imaginative in the book. I fell in love with their life aboard the Morning Dawn, their notion of sea partners, Ardenne and her family...

I think what contributed to that was the colorful and elaborate descriptions of the ship, their way of life of trading and generally, I have to admit that the descriptions not only of this but also of the landscapes through which Chalice and her company traveled, the cities and everything were a very powerful aspect of the book. For the most part I think they were just spot on and exactly the amount of "elaborate" you'd need to imagine what was written and paint your own picture vividly and vibrantly.

The plot was very good and I loved how much thought the author seemed to have put into this, more so since this will be a three-book series and already there were so many (plausible) subplots that initially make your head spin, but gradually really click and make sense in the story. I like how gradually and mostly through Chalice's contact with the people she met and aided her on her journey she kept discovering more and more truth regarding her past, her heritage and the world she's found in. I liked the notion of Ice Age and how its repercussions has divided humanity into races that followed a different path of evolution thus selecting different traditions, different weapons and skills and ideologies. The whole race segregation was quite original and how it was taboo to mix... It made sense quite later in the book when we understood most of what happened.

I can't say that there was anything about the book that I really absolutely didn't like, but there were some things that felt awkward a bit.
Yes, the book was a bit slow to start and some of the descriptions were somewhat unnecessarily lengthy - like descriptions of everyday activities - but for the most part they were believable and were handled well because most of that "dragging" had to do with injuries which had to be healed before continuing on the journey.
Some of the dialogues however, felt a bit stiff and with too formal phrasing when there didn't seem a reason to be like that. It didn't detract from the enjoyment of the book, though, it was just a bit awkward to follow.I also felt that it was directed mostly towards younger readers, which is not meant as a bad thing, it was lovely, I just wanted to put it out there.
Also, even though the pace of the relationship between Chalice and Jeremiah was quite nice and gradual, I felt like after their first kiss, they both ignored it in a way in the sense that they kept on like nothing had happened and only towards the very end, did Chalice acknowledge that something more than friendship was between them, even though Jeremiah (even more than Chalice) seemed preoccupied with their future together and blushing a lot. I know the emphasis was on the adventure, of course, but other than that they mostly acted like brother and sister, no touching of hands, no overt tenderness... It would seem to me that through this ordeal which they both knew could cost them their lives, they would really need to seek comfort and support in each other and strive to be close to each other on a regular basis and not just when they were sick. (Of course they tried to save each other's lives so that's the most important stuff, so maybe I'm overly cheesy and romantic today :P)

So, all in all it was a pretty original and exciting read, with a masterfully crafted world which I found greatly intriguing and fascinating and of course, I'm looking forward to the next book! XD

** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! :)
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)
Hywela Lyn reviewed on Sep. 11, 2011

I really enjoyed this book, it did what any good fantasy story should do, it drew me into its world and made me care about its characters, who for me were one of the strong points of the book. Chalice is charming, strong, courageous and feisty, as well as beautiful, but not unbearably perfect, she makes mistakes and unwise decisions. Jeremiah is a perfect hero, handsome, strong and brave but caring and sensitive, and the supporting characters are diverse and well drawn. I could relate very easily to them, and I feel the story would appeal as much to older lovers of fantasy, such as myself, as to young adults.

The world building and beautiful descriptions of the countryside and interiors give the story an almost 'Tolkeinesque' atmosphere, and Bunejab reminded me a little of a hobbit, in some ways, but this story is in no way another version of 'Lord Of The Rings', it is a highly original tale which keeps the reader guessing. Some of the language and back story is a bit hard to absorb to start with, but it adds depth and realism to the story. The vivid way the landscape and locations are painted made me feel I was right there. A slight niggle is that at times I felt a little editing would have helped avoid the occasional awkward phrasing or sudden POV switch, and multiple exclamation marks at the end of a sentence, and would have added the finishing 'polish' to what is already a wonderful read, but on the whole I love the writer's 'voice' and the story gripped me until the end - and that's my major criticism. It ended rather abruptly and now I just HAVE to read the next book 'The Firelight of Maalda', which is scheduled to be released towards the end of this year.

A great read with an 'epic' feel. I can recommend it to all fantasy lovers.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
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