Reviews of The Firelight of Maalda
Review from Lyn, Hywela Lyn
This is a YA series for age 13 upwards. Having said that, I’m sure many ‘older’ readers will enjoy it as much as I did. The story continues the story begun in The RaieChaelia and reveals more of the characters and the wondeful world Melissa Douthit has created. I really enjoyed reading the first book, The Raie Chaelia, as well as the short sequels, but I did think there were a few anomalies which didn’t seem to quite fit in with her magical world and seemed to reflect a little too much on her own. In The Firelight of Maalda,these anomalies are touched upon and as I read I realised that these were purely intentional. In fact they serve, I think, to project a subtle, ecological message.
This story continues Chalice’s journey to fulfil her destiny, and the growing romance between her and Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah knew each other as children, and meet up again at the beginning of The Raie Chaelia. Their friendship has grown into something deeper and in The Firelight of Maaldaboth characters, but especially Chalice, have grown and matured emotionally and I found it particularly satisfying that their love is not only acknowledged but their sweet romance seems completely natural and uncontrived. There is a touching tenderness between them, they are both strong characters but neither feels complete without the other and their love and respect for each other shines through even when they are not entirely in agreement.
There is a lot more to this story than romance though, there is plenty of action and suspense. A deadly enemy must be defeated and the fate of a world hangs in the balance. Chalice also has to contend with prejudice and an annoying tendency for people to patronise her and try to control her. There is a large cast of characters, and some of those from the first book make a welcome re-appearance. In addition to the human protagonists, there is a cute little creature called Bunejab who actually has a very important role to play, several horses, including Chalice’s beautiful palomino, ‘Sunny ‘, and Jeremiah’s ‘Banner’, as well as the Naezzies who have every reason to hate humankind.
The story moves at a fast pace to the nail biting climax and a cliffhanger of an ending – I’m really glad Melissa gave us a taste of the next book to answer at least one of my questions, and I can’t wait for the third in the series.
Review from Darlene, Peeking Between the Pages
The Firelight of Maalda by Melissa Douthit is book two in the Raie’Chaelia series and it’s another great fantasy adventure! I read the first book The Raie’ Chaelia last year (my review) and I really enjoyed it. Both books are kind of out of the realm of what I usually read but I find them fun, entertaining, and a little heart pounding at times. The series is written for young adults but it can be easily enjoyed by us older folks as well.
The Firelight of Maalda picks up right where the first book ends and finds Chalice, Jeremiah, Ben, and the rest of the survivors leaving Barenthren for Portalis where they will be safe and the survivors can be healed from the mental trauma they have suffered. It is there that Chalice learns more about who she is and begins to practice more with her powers. It is also here that she learns where her destiny will take her and what she has to do to protect those that she rules.
In this sequel the romance develops much more between Chalice and Jeremiah and as with book one it is handled very tastefully. These two are so completely bonded to each other that neither feels complete without the other one. Truthfully Jeremiah is the only one who can talk any sense into Chalice when she is on a rampage and Chalice is definitely a girl with a mind of her own who doesn’t like to be told what to do. I love that about her and also her spunky attitude is refreshing as well and it’s especially funny when she is subjected to princess lessons. Let’s just say that while Chalice’s history makes her a princess all she really longs to do is be out on the battlefield right alongside her people.
The book continues to build with plenty of action and suspense. There is, after all, an enemy to beat. The last few chapters of the book had me on the edge of my seat where I find myself still sitting because the book ended in a major cliffhanger. You can now find me anxiously awaiting the third book in the series to find out just what happened!
I quite enjoyed The Firelight of Maalda. I do think you should read book one to really enjoy this one. The Raie’ Chaelia introduces us to the characters and builds the world a little but The Firelight of Maalda really expands on Chalice’s powers and the world she lives in and that’s what made book two my favorite so far. Melissa writes in such a descriptive way and she paints such a vivid picture of the world that Chalice lives in that you can really see it in your mind and imagine yourself there. The Firelight of Maalda is certain to take you out of your own little world and transport you into one much larger and more exciting.
Review from Cierra, Books Ahoy
As you know I was apart of the tour for the first book, The Raie’Chaelia by Melissa Douthit , and I absolutely loved it! Well…this book is just as great! I loved getting reacquainted with the characters first of all. The relationship between Chalice and Jeremiah is one of my favorite book relationships…man they are just too cute! Also with the sequel comes much more adventure along with many challenges along the way. The book picks up where the first book left off and is just a joy ride from there . I am definitely loving this series and I am hoping that you will give it a try and if you haven’t already you should read the first book, The Raie’Chaelia which I reviewed here. Melissa Douthit is a really great writer and I can’t wait for more!!! Another 5 star review!
Review from Becca, Lost in Thought
The Firelight of Maalda was a complete and utter surprise. Compared to the first book, The Raie’Chaelia (review here) this book was 10 times better, with the writing style more evolved and the characters more relatable. The story and foundations of the tale seemed more original with new information being fed to us, filling us in on all of the important stuff that we really needed to know. Questions were answered that completely confused me in the previous book and helped me look at the whole tale in a different light. The characters were stronger, the story much more focused and there was a great balance between action and adventure within the book. I really enjoyed this book and was glued to the story, turning each page with anticipation.
I really enjoyed the whole concept of the secret city of Portalis. The hub of the rebellion, it is a place of grandeur filled with secrets. The dystopian element of the whole story is really interesting and I loved reading about the former world as they know it. Without spoiling the story too much, there are hints at an apocalyptic ending to the former world (our world) that made me think of the Mayan prophecy and other such doomsday predictions. I thought that very current issues such as global warming and warfare were discussed in the story with the unnatural destructiveness of man obliterating the former world forcing its surviving inhabitants to retreat underground. Over thousands and thousands of years those survivors evolved eventually becoming the inhabitants of the world depicted in the story. I didn’t find that it was too preachy at all but fitted in well with the current issues of our time, blending the mix of fantasy and reality very well. Strange objects of the former world are revealed to us and the characters. I haven’t really read anything similar to his before, reading mainly epic fantasy in a totally new and different world so this dystopian fantasy was new to me. I did giggle at times when I read how strange such objects as a car and a lightbulb was to the characters, when its just an everyday commodity to us.
And one comment that I made in my review of the previous book can be completely taken back! I commented on how the dialogue didn’t suit the story but the dialogue is explained in detail in the book, commenting on how certain words and colloquialisms have survived from the former world, so it doesn’t seem so out of place anymore. I’m trying to get my head around the fact that this is an evolved world from ours so things still remain such as objects, dialogue etc.
In this book no one can question how strong a character Chalice is. She is in no way a damsel in a distress, and in this book her independent character is reflected in her straightforward actions. She is adamant in ignoring all of the rules that restrict her freedom, and wishes for a life free of rules and responsibility. And most of all she dreams of a life with Jeremiah, her friend and lover; but rules state that a romance between the two is simply out of order. I hope that this somehow won’t come to pass in the next book and that they will be able to be together; but who knows! Finally realising her destiny she knows that she is in danger but her selfless personality shines through and she will do anything, and I mean anything to ensure the safety of her friends and her people. I just loved that I was reading a book with a strong central female character that didn’t have to rely on others too much to survive. She is the first to jump into battle (helped by her very awesome powers) and she can show a battle heartened warrior or two how a successful warrior should really fight. She is determined to change numerous rules deemed completely pointless by her, and is adamant that when she finally releases her father from his eternal captivity she will ensure that Naeons are treated fairly within the world. She is one kick ass woman and she completely made this book a success with me.
There’s also Jeremiah who has completely stolen my heart. He would die for Chalice and this is evident in his caring actions. Their love for each other grows and grows throughout each page and the heartache of knowing that they can never really be together is put to the back of their minds as they share the time that they have together. Buney is also extremely cute yet again in the book, and Ben is revealed as a caring father figure in Chalice’s life. I thought the characters had grown a lot since the previous book, and were made much stronger and more relatable. Great characterisation by the author.
The reason why I didn’t give it a complete five stars is just because it wasn’t epic enough for me to be totally invested in the story. I don’t mean that I wasn’t interested because I read the book within two days wanting to know what was going to happen to Chalice and in what direction the story was going to take me. I’m enjoying branching out into different types of fantasy such as this, but I still find that its aimed for readers of young adult fiction which isn’t totally for me, personally. But if this second book is anything to go by then the author is going from strength to strength and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of the third instalment in the series. A good, fast paced, enjoyable read with plenty of action and adventure. Well worth the read.
Review from Rebecca, Everything To Do With Books
After reading The Raie’Chaelia last year I was so excited to be able to read the second book, The Firelight of Maalda. Needless to say, I loved The Firelight of Maalda just as much as I loved The Raie’Chaelia.
I love Jeremiah, he is such a great guy. I totally get what Chalice sees in him and I just love seeing what he has to say and what he will do. Then there is Chalice, I really like Chalice even if her stubbornness drove me nuts at times. I just love both Chalice and Jeremiah and I think that Melissa has done a great job writing their chemistry. Every time Chalice and Jeremiah are together I have a huge smile plastered on my face.
The story was really good and I had a lot of fun learning more about the world and the goings on. There were the highs and lows in the book and I was really excited to see the return of some really awesome characters from the first book.
Then there was the ending. Oh my goodness! I don’t want to spoil anything but can I just say, that is one huge cliffhanger. UGH! Can I have the next book now please?
I absolutely love The Firelight of Maalda and the entire Raie’Chaelia series. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy story and I know I definitely can’t wait to continue the series.
Review from Moujnir, Jagged Edge Reviews
The Firelight of Maalda is one of the most entertaining, action packed, romantic novels I have read in ages. The story begins with our main characters, Chalice, Jeremiah, Ben, and Bunejab, and the rest of the survivors from Chainbridge, getting ready to leave the city of Barenthren and head to Portalis, where Chalice will be rightfully bestowed with the title of “Princess“. When they arrive in Portalis, the survivors go to be healed and Chalice and Jeremiah are separated from one another into separate sides of the city – Chalice on the royal Terravail side, and Jeremiah on the Naeon side. As she is learning to cope with the trials and nuances of being an Ielierian Princess and being pushed into “princess lessons”, Chalice is faced with new, distressing news : She must travel to Maalda and destroy a Firestone that holds the key to freeing the ancient people called Naezzi – for she is the only one who posses the dagger that is needed to destroy the Firestone. This mission leads her on an action filled adventure that holds danger, destruction, sacrifice, and hope. Chalice cracks me up – in most cases, I’m sure a girl would love to be a princess, but not our leading heroine. She hates the fact that everyone expects her to be docile, obedient, and to have ‘proper etiquette’ (meaning she isn’t supposed to say words like ‘dude’ or ‘cool’ – Can you imagine? ). I loved how she fought the princess image everyone had for her, and how she fought to end the prejudice between the Terravail and the Naeon. Her courage, loyalty, sassiness, sarcastic comments, and totally awesome fighting skills are amazing – she is definitely one of the best heroines I have ever read about – ever. Jeremiah is equally awesome, with his much needed level-headedness, super cool archery skills, and the love and loyalty he possesses for everyone he cares about. One of the very sweet and unique things about their romance is that Chalice and Jeremiah are literally one person : they cannot live without each other. When they are not together, it is very obvious that they are not complete – they need each other to live, to survive. (Talk about a hardcore romance, lol.) I was very happy to be reunited with Bunejab and Ben in this book : The little Chinuk and the old man had me smiling, laughing, and crying all together. Without Ben and Bunejab, there would definitely be a lack of humor and sense in the book! The way that The Firelight of Maalda is told is very unique; I have definitely never read books like the ones Melissa Douthit creates. Douthit blends action, adventure, romance, and heartbreak, all with a well written story, seamlessly -If you are looking for a high end book filled with all of the above plus an ending that will leave you breathless for the next installment, then I highly recommend picking up The Firelight of Maalda today!
Review from Brittany, Book Nook Club
I just finished the second book in “The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia” trilogy, rightfully named “The Firelight of Maalda.” The book picks off right where “The Raie’Chaelia” (first book in the series) left off. Chalice and her group make their way to Portalis, the city ruled by the Terravaillian. As Chalice begins to learn about the history of this secret city, she clashes with the rules and social customs of her new surroundings. Butting heads with many of her advisors and guards, she discovers the heavily guarded secrets that reside within the library and archives of Portalis.
Along the way, Chalice learns that Dar’Maalda possesses the Firestone, the black obsidian stone stolen from her in the previous book. While he doesn’t know how to unlock its secrets, both him and Chalice know its importance. Practicing her skills and connecting more with her daeioden, she begins to harness her powers and truly evolve into the Raie’Chaelia D’Ielieria. Also gaining speed is her romance with Jeremiah, when Chalice must defend her feelings to the Terravailians of Portalis.
I must say that I blazed through this book in about three days. Motivated by the unanswered questions of the first novel, Melissa Douthit cleverly enticed me to read her second creation. With even more adventure and danger than the first novel, “The Firelight of Maalda” brings new, fantastical creatures to life (such as the mysterious Naezzi) and delves deeper into the detailed world of the Terravailian and the Naeon. Bringing back favorites, such as Bunejab, Ben, and Ardenne, the reader can dive right into this magical world. Chalice continues to impress readers with her dedication to morals and bravery even though those around her disagree with her every move. Not only does she embody an independent woman, she continually puts herself in dangerous situations for the good of her people. Her selflessness sets her apart from other characters, and quite honestly makes the reader wonder what she will try next.
So what exactly does the Firestone do? What are the Naezzi? And more importantly, what is Portalis hiding behind its doors? These questions and more will be answered in the second installment of this trilogy. But don’t expect for every mystery to be solved. Douthit leaves the reader hungry for more and, much like the first novel, ends “The Firelight of Maalda” on a cliffhanger. Her third novel, “The Return,” is not released until August 2012, so you will have plenty of time to ponder the mysteries of Naeo’Gaea.
Review from Terri, My Book Boyfriend
This book takes place not far from where the first book left off. Chalice has a whole lot of thing happen to her right from the beginning. Things change and Chalice and Jeremiah romance is tested and they won’t have it easy.
Basically starting in a new place, this author stays true to her style and world builds with rich Technicolor. The vivid imagery helps build the palate in your mind as you read. I found the story line very interesting and captivating. Sometimes, I wanted to plunge forward but I had to wait for events to unfold.
This ending will leave you waiting for the next. As I will be.
So for those readers who enjoyed the first in the series, this one will not disappoint. Pick it up now and read. For those fantasy lovers, pick this story up. It’s fresh and new and will hold your interest.
Review from Livia, Butterfly-o-Meter Books
Book #2 in the Raie’Chaelia series, The Firelight of Maalda presents us with a very imaginative high fantasy world, interesting world building and certainly an interesting set of characters.
The plot is a nice development of book #1, though it doesn’t resolve all the tensions and situations possible, there’s a book #3 coming after all. The story of this book has a nice rhythm in places, but it felt slightly slow for me here and there, like it had these breather moments that went just a minute too long perhaps, have you ever had that feeling when reading something?
The characters are likable and diverse, partly thanks to the imaginative world built and partly thanks to the author’s writing, but they do have something in common that I will point out, I wasn’t quite there all the way, you know? This is a recurrent problem I’ve met with, more often in YA books, at times in fantasy/high-fantasy sorts of adventures but not exclusively.
If we regard the two books of the series so far (the series also contains two short story prequels), we can say they constitute a bildungsroman, since Chalice grows up some and develops during these stories, and so do her relationships with her friends and her view on the world, though she keeps something of a light air to everything, something like a fluttery consistence.
What’s remarkable about the author’s writing though is a positive note, a lighthearted atmosphere that even tense or sort of dramatic moments have, and obvious and resonant by absence is, in my opinion, the angst. As you all have gotten used to by now, titles I like the most and resonate the most with have a healthy dose of dramatical twists and turns and a healthy amount of angst. Perhaps it has to do with my hot blood or something, I dunno. Serene adventure is nice, but dramatic, over-the-top popping-my-eyes out intense is a bit better.
All in all I say give this a try, it’s an imaginative world with young characters and it gives off a serene, feel-good sort of vibe that I’m sure many would love.
Review from Rabiah, Confessions of a Readaholic
I enjoyed the first book, The Raie’Chaelia, but since I’d read that a while ago, it’s quite hard to place what happened before The Firelight of Maalda. I recognized most of the characters and sure enough, the story assumed its natural pace. I really liked this one. I liked the first book better, but this was a really great follow up!
What I really like about these books is the amount of fantasy. It reminds me of (and I know I said this in the review of the first book) childhood fantasy stories, like C.S. Lewis. Completely magical, and the Douthit has really created a fantastic world. You don’t see that too much in YA these days.
The romance in this book has improved since the last one! Chalice and Jeremiah develop even more from the first book, and I found it really sweet and not-rushed-into at all. The action and thrill of what’s to happen next is really amazing too. I had to keep reading to find out what happens next.
The character’s still mainly have the same personalities as before (although they have, obviously, gained new knowledge etc.) and of course, I love the adorable BUNEJAB!! Love that little guy. He never ceases to make me ‘awww’.
The only problem I had with this book was the consistency of the time period. From the sound of it, people don’t have technology, so it’s pretty ‘medieval’ almost, or at least quite old. Some of the things mentioned in the book were pretty modern, like the use of the word “dating”. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t (a) go around dating people like they do now days and (b) call it dating. I don’t know, obviously it’s the author’s world, so if it’s a mix of modern and old, so be it.
Overall, I found that the story was great, except I would have liked it better if I could remember what had happened previously . Lovers of fantasy, with plenty of action, suspense and of course, the blooming romance, will definitely need to pick this one up. A great follow-up from the first book, this one will leave readers hanging on for more. Looking forward to reading book 3!
Review from Farrah, The Book Faery Reviews
I don’t normally read a lot of young adult fiction. Frustration usually comes into play for me because I feel as if I can’t connect well with the characters. However, with this particular young adult fantasy that was not an issue at all and glad I got the opportunity to read it. If I didn’t feel as if I was Chalice, I definitely felt as if I was a close friend with her in the story. At times it almost felt like I was even playing an RPG game (yes I’m a nerd…haha) wandering around on a quest through village, forest, and mountains. I loved Chalice’s curiosity, bravery, and strength, and I felt like I was questioning and learning things as she was along the way. Definitely looking forward to the 3rd book in the trilogy, The Return, to see how it turns out. For those who enjoy a fun fantasy adventure that isn’t too over the top, I think they’d enjoy this trilogy as well.