author: Amy Joy Lutchen
series: Renhala #1
published: 27 September 2012
genre(s): fantasy, romance
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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.
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.
Renhala is an adventure of the epic sort!! It is the kind of sweeping story that is filled with mystery and intrigue, danger and lighthearted moments, and even a bit of romance.
Kailey Rooke, as the lead of the story, is hard not to love. She has been through hell and back after a brutal attack that nearly killed her. You could really feel her fear and her pain as she struggles to take her life back, move out of her mother’s home and make a life for herself once again.
The characters in this book are not all human, but together they form a group dynamic that makes for an intense, and fun, read. Bu is a lovable character, an immense creature who, unlike the rest of his species, is sweet and loving and fiercely loyal. Connor and Ladimer make for great love interests and, for most of the book, I couldn’t decide which I loved more!
This is a well-paced book with all kinds of quirks and unexpected twists and turns that kept me turning the pages. At times the story was intense and serious, but other times there was a sweet touch of whimsy!
Things to love…
- The characters. Human or not, there was something about these characters that the reader is truly able to connect to, something I wasn’t expecting but that I truly enjoyed.
- The story world. The author created a world that aligned so well with our own that, even though it is fantasy, it felt real. I love fantasy that can feel possible!