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.
I was looking forward to reading this story and I was not disappointed. It continues where the last book 'The Firelight Of Maalda' finished and is an exciting, breathtaking ride. Chalice is eighteen in this story and it is interesting to see how much she has changed and grown up since the first book. She is still feisty, very independent and at times fiercely stubborn and firm in her resolve when she believes a certain course of action is the right one, despite misgivings from those around her, even her one true love, Jeremiah.
She makes mistakes, she is not perfect, or always right, despite her special abilities, and this is one of the things that make her very easy to like and to relate to. Jeremiah is strong, sweet and gentle, and knows just how to handle her. Their mutual respect and affection comes through the pages very clearly and they are perfectly suited. Sadly, their differing cultures mean they cannot marry, but they are in every other way man and wife, and the dilemma is resolved in a surprising manner at the end.The love scenes are hinted at without actually being described and this is a great read, suitable for any age group from Young Adult upwards.
The story is by turns, gripping, exciting and moving. It kept me turning the pages and much as I wanted to discover how it all turned out, I did not want it to end. This is an epic story, spanning three volumes, I think you could read 'The Return' without reading the other stories in the series, and still enjoy it, but they are all three worth the read and the various characters and groups will be much easier to follow if they are all read, chronologically.) The series has a 'Tolkeinesque' feel but is completely fresh and original and Melissa has created a world in which the reader can feel completely at home. The fantasy and magical elements in it are have a rationale and are therefore believable, and there are familiar animals as well as imaginary ones.
I was sorry that Chalice lost 'Sunny' the beloved palomino horse given her by her father, but the beautiful horse that graces the cover, Nipha, is a worthy successor and an important character herself. There are several twists and turns to this exciting story, and the climax had me on the edge of my seat. As the story concludes there is an unexpected but satisfying twist.
I really enjoyed 'The Return' and felt sorry that there would be no more - or will there?
I think perhaps there's scope for at least one more episode, Ms Douthit?
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