Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Return, by Melissa Douthit

This week The Creative Muse is featuring The Return, by Melissa Douthit, the last installment of the Legend of the Raie'Chaelia trilogy.  It is currently on tour with Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.

Book Summary:
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 the tour hosts are saying:
"I really enjoyed The Return by Melissa Douthit. It reads like great epic fantasy despite being a post-apocalyptic, dystopian fantasy. The world building is extremely intricate and the laws under which the world functions are well defined. The main character, Chalice, is gutsy, brave, daring, flawed, has a temper that often gets the better of her and is so genuine that she shines forth from the page. The cast of supporting characters is equally interesting. I found myself amazed at how many varied storylines Douthit was able to keep apparently seamless track of and weave together into the intricate tapestry of this story. I recommend this series to a broad scope of readers, those who enjoy dystopian literature with a mix of magic and standard warfare, those who like post-apocalyptic literature, those who like epic fantasy, and those who enjoy paranormal romances. I feel it has appeal to a broad scope of readers and offers a piece of literature that may well stand the test of time and one day appear beside the likes of Tolkien even though it is set in the future, not in some distant and forgotten past. It is still a wonderful fantasy in the truest sense of the word."
~ Tracy Riva, Tracy Riva Books & Reviews 
"The world building and under-girding 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 ... 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." 
~ Joy, Joy Story 
"This is a fun book and a good read. Lots of action — magic, young love, battles and war — and one amazing horse. Don’t underestimate the horse; she’s a major character. There’s a lot to like, memorable and sympathetic heroes and heroines. Plus some very sinister bad guys. This is a young book, aimed at a youthful audience though suitable for adults too. For all practical purposes, it’s one book broken into three parts … like Lord of the Rings. I don’t suggest reading this as a stand-alone. If you haven’t read the first two books, read them before you read this." 
~ Marilyn, Serendipity 
The Return is on sale on Amazon, Kobo, and Melissa's online bookstore.  The two prequel short stories, as well as the first book to the trilogy, are available for free here.

To give you a taste of the story, below are excerpts from The Vanishing (the hero's story) and The Journey Begins (the heroine's story):

The Vanishing, pages 53-54
She eyed him curiously.  “You say you’ve seen me.  Have we met before?” 
“You don’t remember?” he asked with raised eyebrows.  He was puzzled that she didn’t remember something that was so clear to him.  Nine years earlier, when they were children, he had spent three years in Canton with her and her grandparents.  His parents had had to leave on a search mission and his brothers had gone to stay with the Corbins.  There had been no room for Jeremiah there and as Sebastian Pandretti had been in town visiting at the time, it was, according to his father, the best solution for him.  He suddenly remembered Canton and the games she and he played when they were young.  It seemed as if it were almost yesterday.  “Ghost-in-the-Graveyard,” he continued, “in the wine cellar of the Inn?  You cheated all the time.”  He laughed.  “You really don’t remember?”  Sighing, he finally said: “Ah well, you were pretty young then.” 
She studied him for a moment and then, suddenly, her face lit up in recognition.  “Oh my gosh, no, I do remember!” she exclaimed.  “Jeremiah?!” she asked and he nodded.  “Jeremiah Maehbeck!  How could I have forgotten?!?” 
He smiled as she said the words and caught a twinkle of joy in her eye at seeing him again.  Then he suddenly realized what had been missing in his life this whole time.  After all these years, he finally understood the emptiness inside of him and realized what could fill it – the only thing that could fill it.  It was her.

The Journey Begins, pages 33-34
A pained expression contorted her face.  “I’m not going to leave you!” she shouted. 
“Go!” was Papa’s last word to her before he slapped Sunny on the rear and sent him bolting toward the trees.  The horse ran like the wind and it was all she could do to rein him in.  Finally, she pulled him to a halt just at the edge of the tree line and spun him around, searching desperately for her grandparents.  She saw Papa running toward the back of the inn where the pigeon cages were.  What is he doing? she wondered.  Why aren’t they coming with me?  Should I disobey and turn back?  A blood-curdling scream caught her attention and she saw a woman fall from the second-story window of a building on the east side.  The woman’s body slammed to the ground and lay crumpled and motionless in the street as chaos reigned around her.  Dark figures scrambled back and forth and flames roared in the distance, consuming everything in their path.  Suddenly, Chalice heard hoof-beats and shot a glance down Canton Run.  In between the buildings, she could see that dark riders were rapidly approaching the inn, and in a few moments would see her at the edge of the forest. 
“Go!” she heard Corin yell fiercely from the cottage door and knew that she had no choice.  In one quick motion, she dug her heels firmly into Sunny’s side and had to hold on tightly as he sprang forward and flew through the trees.  He galloped swiftly through dark smoke that stung her eyes.  Painful tears blurred her vision and streamed down her cheeks.  She wiped them away and concentrated on the path that lay ahead, the terrified shrieks of the villagers still ringing in her ears.

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