I was thrilled to learn that the second book in the Keeper of Tales trilogy from Ronlyn Domingue was out. The Chronicle of Secret Riven was sent to me at no charge for my honest review.
About the Book:
An uncanny child born to brilliant parents, befriended by a prince, mentored by a wise woman, pursued by a powerful man, Secret Riven has no idea what destiny will demand of her or the courage she must have to confront it in the breathtakingly epic, genre-spanning sequel to The Mapmaker’s War.
To see is a trick of the mind, but to believe is a trick of the heart.
One thousand years after a great conflict known as The Mapmaker’s War, a daughter is born to an ambitious historian and a gifted translator. Secret Riven doesn’t speak until her seventh year but can mysteriously communicate with plants and animals. Unsettled by visions and dreams since childhood, she tries to hide her strangeness, especially from her mercurial father and cold mother. When her knowledge of an esoteric symbol brings unwelcome attention, gentle, watchful Secret finds acceptance from Prince Nikolas, her best friend, and Old Woman, who lives in the distant woods.
When Secret is twelve, her mother, Zavet, receives an arcane manuscript to translate from an anonymous owner. Zavet begins to suffer nightmares and withdraws into herself. Secret sickens with a fever and awakens able to speak an ancient language, discovering that her mother is fluent as well. Suddenly, Zavet dies. The manuscript is missing, but a cipher has been left for Secret to find. Soon, Secret will have a choice to make: confront a destiny tied to an ancient past or deny it, never to know its whole truth.
A spellbinding story, rich with vivid characters and set in a fascinating world, The Chronicle of Secret Riven explores the tension between love and hate, trust and betrayal, fate and free will.
About the Author:
Ronlyn Domingue is the author of The Mapmaker’s War (Atria Books, 2013). Its sequel, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, is forthcoming in 2014. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, was published in ten languages. Her writing has appeared in The Beautiful Anthology (TNB Books), New England Review, Clackamas Literary Review, New Delta Review, The Independent (UK), and Shambhala Sun, as well as on mindful.org, The Nervous Breakdown, and Salon.com. Born and raised in the Deep South, she lives there still with her partner, Todd Bourque, and their cats. Connect with her at www.ronlyndomingue.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
This book is the sequel to The Mapmaker’s War but unlike most sequels it takes place 1,000 years in the future from the end of the first book of the trilogy. Our heroine, Secret Riven is born to a social climbing father who feels he belongs to a higher class and lost this prestige through time and a mother with very unique talents who lives in fear of some great unknown. Secret is silent for the first seven years of her life but she is by no means dumb. She also seems to have an affinity for understanding what animals and plants have to say.
This is another book that pulls me out of my reading comfort zone but I so adored The Mapmaker’s War and Ms. Domingue’s writing that I knew I wanted to continue along with her fantasy tale. She has a way of creating a world and mythology in which you find yourself fully immersed and completely believing in all that is occurring. When a squirrel talks to Secret it doesn’t seem odd at all. I fell in love with this little girl and wanted so much for her even when I knew that there was something in her future that might not be good.
The whole book had a sense of foreboding that somehow managed to almost be a character. It would hide in the background or come to the forefront at different points and yet never full reveal what was waiting for Secret. I am now anxiously awaiting the third book in the series so I can find out what the future holds for this young woman. There is magic in this book – dark magic at times, but magic nonetheless. I will note that I did prefer The Mapmaker’s War but the story is not over yet. Who knows what is yet to come and the middle of any tale is often the part that leaves us wanting. And I am definitely wanting more of this fantasy world. I rarely enjoy the fantasy genre – I am very, very picky in my reading of these types of books but I find that I love the world that has been created by Ronlyn Domingue.
Other Books by Ronlyn Domingue
The Mapmaker’s War
The Plague Diaries
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