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“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”  ― Winston Churchill

The Return (The Raie'Chaelia, #3)

The Return (The Raie'Chaelia, #3) - Melissa Douthit Supposedly this book has not one, but TWO editors. Let's see how that worked out. Bolding is mine.

The familiar smell of ocean and salty wind that blew her hair from her face told her where she was.  It was a courtyard that she knew well.  She’d been here before, countless times.  Everything around her — the walls, the floor, the dais, and the altar — was blurred and hazy as if in a dream.  Even the man in white robes on the altar before her had a ghostly cast about him.  He lay on the cold, white marble, silent and unmoving, as if dead.

Dead? she wondered suddenly with a jolt of fear.  With her left hand, she quickly felt her face, her arms, her legs — all solid, all very much alive.  What is this? she wondered.  Where am I?

Douthit, Melissa. The Return (The Legend of the Raie'Chaelia, Book 3) (Kindle Locations 59-65). Couronne Press. Kindle Edition.


Dear sweet little Chalice Sue: if you are in a courtyard that you know well and have been there countless times before, then either you are incredibly stupid or have suffered profound brain injury that causes short term memory loss to follow that up with: "Where am I?" Of course, having suffered through the previous books, either answer makes plausible sense in this character's case.

But that's just the usual par for this insipid, overwritten and yet nonsensical Raie'Chaelia course.

That's followed by an interminable conversation that is all info dump, punctuated with scintillating dialogue such as this:

"Right now, I must pass important information on to you and we don’t have much time.  Time passes differently here.  Much more slowly than in your world.  We have only minutes and I have much to tell you."

“Okay, like what?”

Douthit, Melissa. The Return (The Legend of the Raie'Chaelia, Book 3) (Kindle Locations 104-106). Couronne Press. Kindle Edition.

Because there is nothing that says "urgent information" than stopping to explain - twice - that urgent information must be passed on.

And since Chalice Sue must be adored and worshipped at every opportunity:

“Where is the Onyx?”

Braywin hesitated, regarding her warily.  “In Lucce’s workroom, in this palace, just below us.  He keeps it locked behind the wall, in a vault very similar to the one in the Portalis Archive.”  She glanced over to the hallway that led to the spiral staircase.  “No, you cannot get it here,” he added, reading her thoughts.  “It exists only in your world.”

“Oh, wonderful!  I’ll just swing by Ielieria on my way back to Portalis and walk right in, shall I?  Maybe, if I’m lucky, he’ll invite me to tea or something.”

Braywin grinned.  “You really are a spitfire, you know that?”

“Well, I try.”

Douthit, Melissa. The Return (The Legend of the Raie'Chaelia, Book 3) (Kindle Locations 115-122). Couronne Press. Kindle Edition.

Because nothing says, "We only have minutes for me to info dump on you!" like a dead brother - who is meeting her for the first time - taking even more time out to flirt with his sister. ("Spitfire?" Srsly?!?!)

As in the other Raie'Chaelia books, spying on other people is perfectly fine and dandy. The characters can just TELL when someone is rotten.

"But I knew better.  I knew from the moment I met Lucce that he was rotten.  I didn’t trust him.  So, I hid behind a tapestry and spied on him at night when he would disappear into his room."

Douthit, Melissa. The Return (The Legend of the Raie'Chaelia, Book 3) (Kindle Locations 130-132). Couronne Press. Kindle Edition.

I wonder if the dead brother created a website to catalog the villains' supposed transgressions?

As in the previous books, Chalice gets the information she needs from coincidence or characters that might as well have "Expository Device" tattooed on their skin. Made up names come at you fast and furious, with no rhyme or reason behind them - obviously, the author never came up with a language system for her world. The world itself continues to be a mishmash of Lord of the Rings mixed with Star Wars, with a smattering of The Golden Compass (the movie, not the book). The book uses overly-familiar tropes with not an ounce of original nor creative thought put into trying to make the tropes fresh.

And could someone please tell me what is going on in this love scene?

His kisses became faster and more insistent until she was completely wrapped in his warmth, overwhelmed by his silent power and the strong beat of his heart.  Savoring his touch and breathing in his musky scent, she swelled inside.  She felt like a boiling cauldron of raw emotion and knew that if she let go, all of her passions would erupt out of her in a furious storm.

And still he kept on, relentlessly forcing, pushing, pulling, tearing her apart, striking something deep within her, as if he knew exactly what he was doing, as if he knew exactly what she needed.  It was the terrifying, yet ecstatic feeling of becoming undone and losing herself to him.  The more he pressed her, the deeper she fell and in that moment of mindless dissolution, the last thing she remembered was her towel slowly slipping from her body and the feel of his warm hands caressing her bare skin, promising to hold her forever and never let her go.

Douthit, Melissa. The Return (The Legend of the Raie'Chaelia, Book 3) (Kindle Locations 560-567). Couronne Press. Kindle Edition.

"Forcing," "tearing her apart" - doesn't exactly sound romantic. Sounds more like, well, force.

And, I'm sorry, do they actually have sex? Or is just a rather violent French kissing session? I mean, there's the "mindless dissolution" and any Harlequin Presents reader (I am a proud one) knows what that euphemism means. But if this is sex, you'd think her towel would have come off during all the pushing, pulling and tearing...

Cannot read further. Firmly belongs in the festivals of stupidity category.