Saturday, 23 February 2013

Renhala by Amy Joy Lutchen

Blurb (from Goodreads):
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 by Amy Joy Lutchen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Renhala(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author Amy Joy Lutchen.)
Kailey is having a hard time coming to terms with an assault that has left her traumatised and afraid to leave the house.
Finally deciding to try and get back to normal she goes out with her best friend Amber, and due to a bad cab driver, finds herself at a Chinese restaurant. After finding herself in a strange room at the back of a restaurant, Kailey meets an elderly man called Gunthreon, who draws her into a world she didn’t know existed – Renhala.

Soon Kailey finds that all is not as she thought she knew – crazy people are just people who can see through the veil to Renhala, and something as simple as a pendulum can give answers to things she never even imagined.
All is not well in Renhala though, a special urn is cracking, which means that a magical being called Neda is in danger, and it’s up to Kailey to help put things to rights.
Can Kailey save Renhala? What magical powers does Kailey possess? And who can Kailey trust?

This novel is unique, I can’t say I have ever read anything like this before, and it was good!

I wasn’t sure where this book was going at first. It started off reading a little like an adult/women’s/contemporary/drama sort of story, and then developed into a fantasy, and the best of it was how flawless this transition was! I have read books before which start off reading like a contemporary novel and then seem to switch to fantasy, and some have had real problems where the transition is just unbelievable and awkward, but Renhala did not have any of those problems.

I liked Kailey, she was in a difficult place to start with, but she overcame her fears, and found her confidence again, which was so nice to see. She was compassionate, and showed how much she cared for others, even taking pity on strays.

There were two sort-of love interests, and therefore I suppose this could be described as a love triangle, although there wasn’t much in the way of romance in this book, and so this wasn’t really a major issue. I liked both of the love interests although I think Conner was my favourite. I didn’t quite get why Kailey liked Ladimer. His introduction to the story was a little unusual, and I just didn’t warm to him.

Kailey’s best friend Amber seemed to be a little hot and cold, and Kailey’s mother was ill and needed Kailey to help her at times. Kailey coped with these demands well though, and never resented her mother or Amber for needing her attention at times.

The world of Renhala was an interesting one, and I liked the world building. The creatures were also imaginatively created, and the world of Renhala was certainly different compared to ours.

I liked the storyline, and although this book seemed long (400+pages, but more like 600+ on my kindle fire), it didn’t seem to drag, which was good. I have to admit to getting the characters a little confused when I came back to the book after a day, although I think that this was in part because of the number of different characters and their place in the story – not all of them were human either, so there was also lots of different races and their different attributes too.
I was a little confused by the end of the book, although going searching back through the book helped this a little. I can only assume from the ending though that there will be a sequel to Renhala, as in my opinion the ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger!

Overall; a well thought out fantasy story, which is not your average fantasy, and would appeal to people who are not necessarily big fantasy fans.
8 out of 10.


 Amy Joy Lutchen
Amy Joy Lutchen
Was born in Chicago and slept in a dresser drawer for the first few weeks of my life, marking me as a future claustrophobe.

I studied at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (man I grew up quick), where I became a number, but decided it was a good number.

I now write in my spare time as I eat snacks, making sure they are not in multiples of three. That number makes me nervous.

Author of Renhala, a unique urban fantasy.



  1. Oh it sounds cool how it goes from a normal comtemp read into a fantasy. I'm not huge on fantasy but I do like some of them depending on the tone of the plot--overly political ones lose me. This sounds like it could be one I'd like. Sounds hefty though >.<

  2. I like the book description and I was even more interested since you said it was unique. From your review it sounds like it's definitely worth reading! Plus it has high reviews on Amazon too, I see. I placed it on my TBR list, hopefully I will get to it soon! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Sounds like something I HAVE TO check out. :-)

  4. Wow, it sounds very complex - it definitely needs all of those 400+ pages then. This kind of fantasy needs to be accessible for me, I'm not into all sorts of heavy fantasy with big messages, so this one sounds like it'd be perfect. Great review - I'm going to check it out, even if it's doorstop-weight. lol

  5. I am so happy you enjoyed this one. Maybe I should have read this one when I had the chance. But wow, that many pages??