on Feb. 05, 2012
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."
This is not a fast paced, edge of your seat read. But it is still interesting nonetheless. The story starts off telling us about Allison's unique ability to sense animals. She can tell you what species it is and what it's feeling. She calls it her 'Crittervision'. I thought that was a pretty cute name for it :). And then it tells us about her older brother Logan who has suddenly disappeared into thin air. The rumor is that he ran away with his girlfriend. The police and pretty much ruled it as such, and aren't really putting to much work into hunting him down. Allison's parents decide to take matters into their own hands by moving closer to where he disappeared and conducting their own search and investigations. The place the move to is called the Hollow of Mont Noir. Allison is pretty upset because, it's a tiny town with nothing in it, in the middle of nowhere. Plus it's her senior year, and she has to leave all her friends and her boyfriend behind to spend her last year of high school with a bunch of people she doesn't know. I sympathized with her, but at first I found her to be a little annoying. I thought she seemed a bit spoiled and bratty. She would talk about how it was all her brother's fault for disappearing, that she has to leave her city and shopping malls and her boyfriend/friends. But my opinion of Allison changed dramatically as the story progressed.
It turns out, Allison is actually a really wonderful person. She is someone I would want to be friends with. The number one thing I like about her, is that she does not let the opinion of others effect her own in any way! She makes her own opinions and if that goes against the majority, well that's the way it is. If all her friends thought some song was lame, but she liked it, she would rock it out without a second thought. The best example of this, is when she moves to her new school there is a boy named Riordan who the entire school has pretty much exiled. She decides she is not going to let everyone decide for her whether she will like this person. She gives him the benefit of the doubt and finds herself a new best friend, and eventually, head over heels. Another thing about Allison is how she cares for people no matter what. She encounters these people who could be the ruin of all her happiness, but yet she treats them with respect and cares for them. She also has a fierce determination to protect those she loves, and the need to take care of her friends/family. So needless to say, in the end I really loved Allison, I respected her and really enjoyed reading the story from her point of view.
Almost immediately upon arriving at their new home in Mont Noir, Allison can feel this animal presence that she can't identify, which is very strange for her. Not only can she not tell what kind of animal it is, the emotions it's giving off are something like resent, and anger. What could the mystery animal be? And why is it emitting emotions that she doesn't normally pick up from animals? You'll find out when she eventually comes head to head with said animal.
It's not really an action packed, eventful, story. But it has a nice pace and flow, enough to make you want to continue reading. We've got Allison's new animal trouble, the hunt for her missing brother, and a love interest with a boy who just doesn't seem to like people in general. But Allison does eventually break through to him, only to discover a world shattering secret about him, and the world around her. I really enjoyed the relationship between Allison and Riordan. We got to watch it grow and develop, instead of instant attraction and obsession. The connection was very intimate without being physically intimate. And they both felt so very protective of each other. Towards the end of the book the action really picks up. And at that point I really couldn't put the book down. It was a nice, gentle read, that went out with a bang!
If you like supernatural and romance, you will probably enjoy this story. I am not going to tell you what supernatural elements it packs, because I went into it without knowing and it was a fun surprise. I want it to be one for you to. I want to say a big thank you to Jennifer Krey for sending me a copy of her book and letting me read/review it!