Source: provided by the author for an honest review
Date read: August 14, 2013
1. Renhala - Hardcover | Kindle
2. Golden Dunes of Renhala
Amy Joy Lutchen
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Kailey Rooke, timid accountant, dedicated to philanthropic work, finds herself spiraling into a deep depression after she suffers a horrifyingly odd and humiliating assault, to only discover more of these freakish assaults occurring across the globe.Thoughts on Renhala: You know those times when I say that I'm torn about a book? Guys, this is going to be one of those times. I honestly didn't know what was happening through big swaths of it -- not in the sense of *what* was happening, but how it all tied in. Yet YET, I was curious enough to keep reading.
A chance discovery leads Kailey to a meeting with elderly Gunthreon, actual master of persuasion. Gunthreon, who seems to know too much of Kailey's history for her liking, opens Kailey's eyes to a coexisting realm she never knew existed: Renhala, while entrusting her with the knowledge of her newfound power as karmelean, serving as a beacon to the Higher Ones. Kailey slowly starts revealing new talents, and Gunthreon is fascinated with what she starts achieving.
She soon discovers that Renhala is in danger, and this danger has been leaking into her own realm. As she uncovers secrets within herself, and attempts to toughen up, she fuses with an unlikely band of fellow travelers (including a dragon, woodsprite, six-hundred-pound greble, her faithful female canine companion, and a "giver"), falls into an unexpected love triangle, deals with her sexy and flirtatious best friend’s “issues,” and finds the courage to master a new deadly weapon.
On her mission to save Renhala, Kailey will find herself running from life-threatening disasters, such as greble Tartarin, who likes to remind Kailey that when he catches her, he plans on eating her brains with ice cream; she'll run from the deadly meeples: small cute bunnies with talons and an undeniable thirst for imposing self-destruction on others. Kailey will also run into the possibility that a centuries-old Renhalan rumor is true, that advanced technology existing in Kailey's realm shortens all life spans.
As blood is shed and puzzles near completion, Kailey pulls from deep within herself, conjuring up mystical qualities that enable her to astonish as once predicted at her birth, but despite the newfound strength, Kailey will discover that monsters not only come in ugly packages, but can be easily disguised as those she has come to love and trust.
Just so we're all clear, I know I have issues about main characters being lied to, important information being kept from them, etc. I KNOW THIS. It irritates me when something that could easily be explained is brushed aside by one or more characters. This happens to Kailey MULTIPLE TIMES during this book. However, that only engendered mild irritation.
My biggest stumbling block was how readily Kailey accepted all the weirdness around her. After being attacked and violated (I assume. At least that's what I took from it.) by something monstrous, she willingly embraces a passel of odd and/or disturbing creatures coming into her life. Her mom, who is watching her break down in a spectacular fashion, never mentions that Oh, maybe these monsters are real and she isn't as batshit crazy as she thinks she is. *cue irritated eyes*
And then there is Amber, Kailey's "best friend", who is SO self-centered it's painful to watch. The way she treats Kailey is awful and I cringed HARD whenever she'd show up. With friends like that... Yeah.
Beyond the characters (which there were more of, mind you, but I'm using my condensing superpower and only touching on a few points), there were a lot of times when the things happening to and around Kailey made no sense to me. While part of this can be explained by the nature of Kailey's power and the nature of the quest she's on (yeah, weird, convenient things happen, I get that.), I had a hard time following along with it all.
Despite all that, I was still intrigued enough to continue the story. By the time the ending came along, I was mentally attempting to tie all the pieces together and figure things out. For the record, I didn't figure it all out. Some events that happened seemed very convenient while other things that seemed monumental weren't explained enough to give them weight.
There's an odd love triangle, odder critters that attach themselves to Kailey, and bad, bad things happening in the world. While the idea was intriguing and I felt compelled to finish the book so I'd know how things turned out, I'm still torn on how I feel.